York has a brand-new theatre – for a few weeks at least. In an exciting addition to the city’s cultural scene, a pop-up version of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre will stage a 10-week series of the Bard’s plays near the Eye of York in summer 2018. The 12-sided, three-storey building will host performances of Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Richard III and A Midsummer Night’s Dream between June 25 and September 2. It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience the plays as originally staged.
York Theatre Royal has been entertaining folk since 1744, and has never looked better since a £6 million refurbishment completed in 2016. Featuring a mix of premieres and top quality touring productions in the Main House, and experimental and edgy shows in the Studio, the programme has something for all ages and tastes.
In a previous incarnation York’s other professional theatre the Grand Opera House brought Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin to York. Today the emphasis remains firmly on family entertainment, whether it’s West End musicals, comedy or live bands. And thanks to a partnership with the National Theatre, it stages some amazing drama, too.
Community theatre flourishes in York. Both the Joseph Rowntree Theatre on Haxby Road and 41 Monkgate put on dance nights and musicals, often to a very high standard, while the Riding Lights company stage plays new and old at the Friargate Theatre.
Look out, too, for the York Shakespeare Project – committed to performing all of the Bard’s plays in the city by 2021. And exciting young theatre companies add vibrancy to the city’s drama scene, including Theatre Mill which creates productions in spaces far removed from the traditional stage, including the Guildhall and York Mansion House.
Featuring a mix of premieres and top quality touring productions in the Main House, and experimental and edgy shows in the Studio, the programme has something for all ages and tastes
One of York’s old movie houses was recently reborn for the modern age. The Everyman group took over the beautiful 1930s Odeon building on Blossom Street at the end of 2017 – and transformed it. Now boasting large, comfortable seats and new food and drink options, Everyman York shows everything from modern blockbusters to indie classics.
A typical multiplex, Vue brings all the mainstream movies to York as soon as they come out. It’s a short drive or bus ride from the city centre at the Clifton Moor out-of-town retail park.
The City Screen Picturehouse lives in an award-winning waterfront development in the heart of town which incorporates some of the old York Herald newspaper offices. City Screen’s programme mixes box office hits with the best independent pictures, as well as hosting seasons of classic movies. You’ll find it just off Coney Street.
One of York’s old movie houses was recently reborn for the modern age. The Everyman group took over the beautiful 1930s Odeon building on Blossom Street at the end of 2017 – and transformed it
Art, exhibitions and books
York Art Gallery in Exhibition Square is a wonderful space with exhibitions featuring everything from Italian Old Masters and Turner oils to works by David Hockney and Sarah Lucas. The first floor of the gallery now houses the national Centre for Ceramic Art, while outside you’ll find the art garden, a tranquil space in which to enjoy visiting outdoor exhibits. Elsewhere, look out for exhibitions staged at York’s various independent art galleries, like According To McGee on Tower Street, and Blue Tree on Bootham.
Described by Simon Jenkins in his book England’s Thousand Best Houses as ‘the most perfect 18th-century townhouse I have come across anywhere in England’, Fairfax House in Castlegate was stunningly restored by the York Civic Trust. It is home to an outstanding collection of Georgian furniture, silver, ceramics and clocks, and also hosts regular visiting exhibitions.
York loves books. As well as being home to many independent bookshops, and the largest antiquarian book fair in the country, the city stages a terrific Literature Festival every March.
York Art Gallery in Exhibition Square is a wonderful space with exhibitions featuring everything from Italian Old Masters and Turner oils to works by David Hockney and Sarah Lucas
The Great Yorkshire Fringe is a comedy and entertainment festival, held on a temporary village green created on Parliament Street. Since the first event in 2015, star stand-ups like Al Murray, Paul Merton and Henning Wehn have topped the bill, with family shows proving popular too.
York has a number of comedy nights during the rest of the year. Look out for gigs in the Basement, under City Screen off Coney Street, promoted by the Burning Duck Comedy Club and others. And both York Barbican and the Grand Opera House bring big-name stand-ups to York, including Sarah Millican, Russell Brand and Jason Manford.
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