Inspiring performance of music and art comes to Barnsley

A stunning performance which combines painting and music is coming to Barnsley for the very first time.

‘Fantasy and Fables’ will see award-winning illustrator, author and storyteller, James Mayhew perform with Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra at Elsecar Heritage Centre on Saturday, 8 July.

Acclaimed artist James Mayhew will be creating beautiful paintings live to music alongside the Orchestra while his work is projected onto a big screen.  

There will be two performances at 2pm and 4pm and they are the perfect way to introduce children to a live orchestra through painting and storytelling. 

James has worked as a Children’s Author and Illustrator for 30 years, and since 2007, he has devised and presented classical music concerts for children with different orchestras across the country. 

Between 2021 and 2022, he created a series of films for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales called “Drawn to Music”, and he recently toured Scotland with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, presenting music to thousands of school children in concerts based upon his Carnegie Medal-nominated book, “Once Upon A Tune”. 

Perfect for families with children aged 5+, these concerts will feature Mayhew narrating and illustrating live to orchestral pieces inspired by well-known stories. The programme will feature music from: The Magic Flute (Mozart), Sleeping Beauty (Tchaikovsky), Peer Gynt (Grieg), Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck) and Othello (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor). 

James Mayhew said: “I think this is a great way of giving people a different experience to represent what the music is saying. In other words, it’s not just a nice tune. The music is telling a story and I’m helping the audience to understand that by underpinning what’s happening in the music, with my brushstrokes and colours, and ultimately, with a finished painting.” 

Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We are excited that such a unique performance is coming to Elsecar.  Art and music are such powerful mediums and when combined create spectacular results. The benefits of art and culture for children are well proven and this is a great introduction that will hopefully inspire a lifelong interest in the arts.”

To book tickets visit

A - Z Directory