York Theatre Royal opens on 17th May – here are the shows we can all look forward to

There really is something for everyone to enjoy as part of the latest line-up at York Theatre Royal. Expect a celebration of local talent and visits from superstars such as Ralph Fiennes!

Love Season at York Theatre Royal kicks off on 17th May with Love Bites. Local artists have been commissioned to write love letters celebrating the return to live performances. 20 performers and creatives have been hit hard by the pandemic and subsequent government restrictions, so it’s sure to be an emotional and passionate evening.

It’s not often you see poets, performers, singers, dancers and even digital artists performing together as part of a creative evening. So it’s certainly going to be an enormous treat for audiences!

Look North presenter Harry Gration will host the evening, which will be an eclectic display of talent across a number of different disciplines. What’s even better, is the evening is “Pay What You Feel”, allowing audiences across the city the unique chance to access the arts.

Creative Director Juliet Forster said: “For these very special performances which mark the full re-opening of York Theatre Royal after over a year of closure, we are joining forces with the remarkable talent of many of York’s finest artists to put together an evening of live performance. 

“Drawing on a range of art forms and disciplines, Love Bites will explore the idea of love letters, dedicated to people, places, things, actions, occupations (and much, much more!) in a multitude of ways, all presented in five-minute specially commissioned bite sized chunks”.

A range of amazing shows to enjoy

Next up on 25th and 26th May is Romero and Juliet, created by The HandleBards. What would three actors cooped up together during lockdown produce? A laugh-out-loud version of Shakespeare’s classic story.

York’s very own Velma Celli, drag superstar who’s sold out shows both in the UK and Australia, brings Love Is Love: A Brief History of Drag to York Theatre Royal on 29th May. Everyone loves drag, don’t they? Particularly when it promises heavenly vocals combined with razor sharp wit.

I’m particularly excited for The Greatest Play in the History of the World, coming to the stage on 1st – 5th June. BAFTA-nominated actress Julie Hesmondhalgh stars in this one-woman show which sold out at the Edinburgh Festival. It was written for her by her writer husband Ian Kershaw, and the power couple have clearly created something pretty marvellous as it’s received great reviews so far. I’m looking forward to seeing the show!

Award-winning circus company Ockham’s Razor present This Time on 8th & 9th June. I love circus skills and trapeze artists so this is sure to be of interest to anyone crazing a bit of spectacular performance art.

Red Ladder Theatre stage The Damned United on 16th June, adapted from David Peace’s novel by Anders Lustgarten which tells the story of Brian Clough’s time as manager of Leeds United. There’s also a cheeky extra one-night show from Showstopper! The Improvised Musical on 30th June. I’ve always wanted to see Showstopper! because who doesn’t love musical comedy, particularly when performers are put on the spot?

Miss Julie, a Strindberg classic directed by Dandiow Lin, has been adapted by British-Hong Kong writer Amy Ng into a politically-charged story set in 1940s Hong Kong. If you like political plays and a show that’ll really make you think and see the world a little differently, catch it at York Theatre Royal from 22nd – 26th June.

Ben Brown’s new political drama A Splinter of Ice is next up on 6th – 10th July. It’s starring Oliver Ford-Davies, who plays the writer Graham Greene as he travels into the Soviet Union to meet his old boss Kim Philby. The show is being presented by Original Theatre Company. I’ve seen many of their shows in the past and they always produce spectacularly powerful, interesting and creative pieces so I’m really looking forward to this one.

An acting legend comes to York

Finishing off the season is a truly spectacular world premiere of T S Eliot’s Four Quarters, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes. The show’s running from 26th – 31st July so there is plenty of opportunity for audiences to see the superstar in action. The quartet ranges across themes of time, nature, faith and spirituality, war and mortality. It’ll certainly showcase Fiennes’ exceptional talents.

Kids won’t be missed out of The Love Season either. There’s Twirlywoos Live on 11th – 13th June and The Snail and the Whale on 2nd and 3rd July.

Chief Executive Tom Bird said: “We can’t wait to welcome our audiences back to the theatre in May with The Love Season, an exciting and varied programme of work that celebrates what we’ve all been missing this past year – human connection, the live experience, and a sense of togetherness”.

For those worries about COVID-19 safety, York Theatre Royal have put additional measures in place to ensure audiences and staff members are safe. Audiences will be socially-distanced and the theatre will comply with all government and industry COVID-19 guidelines. The theatre has been granted the use of Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre’s See It Safely mark so you really are in safe hands with the lovely bunch at York Theatre Royal.

For full details of The Love Season visit www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

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