York Theatre Royal is known for providing a spectacular programme of events every year, and the autumn/winter season is no different.
Previously announced summer shows include Swallows & Amazons (26 July to 24 August) and Hetty Feather (30 Aug – 1 Sept). They are followed in the main house by the Original Theatre Company with the first revival of Sarah Waters The Night Watch (4-7 Sept). Olivier-nominated playwright Hattie Taylor has adapted Waters bestselling novel set in 1940s London. Original Theatre Company is a particularly admirable company and always produces fresh, interesting theatre without gimmicks or box-ticking – so I’d place my bets that The Night Watch is one to watch!
Emma Rice’s production company Wise Children bring Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers to York from 10 – 14 September. It’s been adapted by Emma Rice herself, providing a story packed full of girl power!
I’m particularly looking forward to A View From The Bridge in October. It’s being directed by Juliet Forster, who previously directed Sense and Sensibility. She says: “This gripping drama is compulsive viewing – it simmers with tension and explodes with passion. It feels more relevant today than it has ever been, in its examination of the power of desire, models of masculinity, and in attitudes to immigration, which once again have become a hugely contentious political issue in current times.”
From 3 – 21 March is Alone in Berlin, an adaptation of the bestselling Hans Fallada novel. It follows a couple who stand up to the brutal reality of the Nazi regime. It might not be a cheerful piece, but I think it will certainly be thought provoking.
The consortium – Pilot Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Derby Theatre – that came together to stage productions aimed at younger audiences are bringing an adaptation of Alex Wheatle’s Crongton Knights to York from 25 – 29 February. The group successfully brought Noughts and Crosses to the stage last year so this’ll be a good one.
In another piece aimed at a younger age range, Tutti Frutti and York Theatre Royal present The Boy Who Cried Wolf from 26 Sept – 12 Oct. It’s suitable for 3+, and with the classic Aesop fable still a firm family favourite I think this’ll be a huge hit.
In the Studio there’s also plenty going on, including Athol Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye from 14 – 30 November. Black Men Walking, from 10 – 14 September, is of particular interest as it’s written by testament. He’s such a great artist and writer and I can’t recommend his work highly enough. I’ll be going along to see the show if I can!
The Storm Whale is also coming to the studio from 14 Dec – 44 Jan. It’s a Christmas show for kids based on Benji Davies children’s stories – so if you fancy missing the panto this year, this could be a good family-friendly alternative.
Speaking of the panto… this year Berwick Kaler isn’t starring in the show but he’s still co-directing alongside Matt Aston as well as writing the thing too! Sleeping Beauty arrives in York from 7 Dec – 25 Jan. If you still need your Berwick fix, on 16 October he’s starring in An Audience with Berwick Kaler to support the theatre’s 275th anniversary, in aid of the Berwick Kaler Foundation.
So, now you’ve heard all about York Theatre Royal’s own productions, let’s take a look at what’s touring…
The stage adaptation of Matt Haig’s frank and funny bestseller Reasons to Stay Alive arrives from 5 – 9 November, doing exactly what it says on the tin and giving us all reasons to stay alive!
If you’re a fan of ghost stories (which I’m not), Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is coming from 12-16 Nov. I was really disappointed in this one when I saw it a while ago, but if mild frights are your thing then this could be a good shout for you.
An adaptation of Nigel Slater’s autobiographical book is an unusual choice for a show, but oddly I think it could work. Nigel Slater’s Toast (19-23 Nov) recreates the cookery writer’s childhood through the tastes and smells he shared with his mother.
Yorkshire-based Phoenix Dance Theatre return on 18 & 19 October with a double bill that includes The Rite of Spring, re-imagined by Haitian contemporary and folklore choreographer Jeanguy Saintus. The show brings the sacred arts of Haiti and voodoo to Vaslav Nijinksky’s choreography. Ballet Black are also returning following their York debut last year. On 26 November they’ll be presenting three modern ballets featuring choreography by Mthuthuzeli November, Martin Lawrence and Sophie Laplane.
For a bit of am-dram, try York Opera’s presentation of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers from 22 – 26 October, or York Light Opera Company’s version of Oliver! from 12 – 22 February. It’ll be the company’s 60th consecutive year performing on the York Theatre Royal stage, with a show that made its West End debut 60 years ago – a beautiful choice! I’ve seen York Light Opera Company’s work before and think it’s really strong, so I’d recommend going along to see the show.
TakeOver10 is coming to the theatre in October, a scheme allowing young people to take over the running of the theatre! The programme of events include You and I: A New Musical on 31 October, an award-winning comedy musical by Tom Williams and Cordelia O’Driscoll. York Theatre Royal will also be hosting the Aesthetica Short Film Festival from 6-10 November.
Phew! This season looks like it’ll be very intense indeed for the whole team at York Theatre Royal, and I can’t wait to see some of the shows they’ve got coming up.
Visit the website for more information about each show and to book your tickets.
Photograph credited to Steve Tanner