Whilst tales of low performer application rates and venue closures have abounded in the run up to this year’s Edinburgh fringe, the expected influx of tourists for the Olympics promises bumper audiences for performers who do brave the Scottish drizzle. This enterprising optimism certainly seems to have caught on in York, which over the coming weeks will play host to a plethora of exciting events and taster performances as York companies get geared up to head north for August.
- CappellaJuice: Keep your ears peeled for York’s very own a cappella Sextet who will be showcasing their clothing themed comedy musical in secret venues across York in the coming months. Check their Facebook page for details.
- Jack in the Box: Fresh from a brief tour of last year’s “Stockholm” York’s premier physical theatre troupe are taking a break from preparing their two new shows , “Don Juan” and “99.9 Degrees”, to take you back to the heady days of American prohibition. Sneak down to Basement on 12 July to be immersed in the glitzy underground of 1920’s New York; expect spats, Manhattan’s, the Charleston and a strict period dress code. Doors open at eight.
- Hinge: In conjunction with Universal Arts Hinge are currently plotting a takeover of the Hill Street Theatre in Edinburgh, turning the one of the oldest and most reputable Fringe venues into a positively outrageous breeding ground for fun. Eclectic theatre, club nights, comedy revues and U.V ping pong are being planned, all of which York locals can get a taste of before they head scots-side. Hinge’s latest theatrical creation “Ordinary Things” will be showcased in the Rose and Crown Pub from the 12th to 13 June. A play about storytelling and the agency of apparently “ordinary” objects to create and alter stories. The company are also bringing back there enormously successful club nights. Dress fresh for 90’s RnB with “Gin n’ Juice” at Fibbers on 13 June or dig out some platforms and flares for the disco themed “Milli Vanilli” on 19 June. Look them up on Facebook or Twitter for further details.
- Straight Line Theatre: Straight Line Theatre are beginning work on their production of “Song’s For A New World”, to be performed in C-eca for the duration of August. Keeping with the retro feel Straight Line are keen to invite the people of York to “Bring Back the Swing”, at their London Blitz themed party at The Duchess on 6 June. Appropriately, if not tastefully, also the anniversary of the D-day landings. Indulge in a fleeting romance with the abandon that only the imminent threat of death by V-2 rocket can induce, or just dance. Again dress up is strongly encouraged; these are thespians we are dealing with after all.
- The Flanagan Collective: The Flanagan collective plan to move into C-Nova this year with their acclaimed littlefest, an initiative started last year just down the road at The Fauconberg Arms in Yorkshire. The bespoke “festival within a festival” will hold everything from cabaret to straight theatre and seems to be founded upon the ambiguous yet appealing idea of “starting conversations”. You can catch two of The Flanagan collective’s shows at The York Theatre Royal this month. Back from the Adelaide Fringe and working themselves up for Edinburgh they will be performing both “Polly” and “William” from the 5 to 6 July. Both are children’s shows, the first involves an angel falling through a roof and the second a boy lost in a magical bookshop. Look them up on the York Theatre Royal website for further details.
The spirits York performers seem to have failed to be dampened by the financial crisis and dire predictions that arts funding reports are so fond of giving us. People familiar with the streets of central York may even be surprised to see some unexpected familiar faces on the streets of Edinburgh. The man with the magic ball who normally performs somewhere around Goodramgate, he’ll be there. As will the man with the enormous puppet and kazoo who plies his trade opposite the Guildhall. York looks set to be well represented at “the greatest arts festival in the world” this year and even if you can’t make it up to join them, there are plenty of opportunities to catch them before they go.