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Theme - Performances and performance-related activities

A wealth of concerts and performances celebrate the diversity of creativity throughout the world and in York itself. Performance-related activities enhance the programme.

Music as architecture

13 June, 7.30pm, National Centre for Early Music (NCEM)

Join the students of the University of York Creative Performance Project, directed by Ambrose Field, as they unveil an evening soundscape of music, performance and video giving a usual musical perspective on York’s famous historic architecture.

Admission: £6, concessions £4, students £3,

The 24: Festival of nations

15 June, 7pm, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall

This year  marks the 1,700th anniversary of the creation of the Edict of Milan (Edict of Tolerance) by Constantine the Great. Constantine was born in Niš and crowned Emperor in York some 30 years later. As part of this anniversary, the 24 presents music from across Europe and beyond, including works linking Serbia with the UK, in celebrarion of tolerance - religious and otherwise.

Admission: £6, students £3, via University Box Office, 01904 322439

Art out of crisis: A play from the Theresienstadt Ghetto

16 June, 3pm, Theatre, Film and Television Building (TFTV), University of York

In times of crisis, why do some societies respond with art?  The UK premiere of The Smoke of Home, a play written in the World War II Jewish Ghetto at Theresienstadt, forms the centerpiece of an afternoon of engagement with this question.

Admission: Free, ticketed

University Choir and Symphony Orchestra concert

20 June, 7.30pm, York Minster

Verdi’s great Missa da Requiem completed in 1874 is probably the best-known setting of the text. Hans von Bülow famously described it as ‘an opera in ecclesiastical dress’. A true vocal concert piece of the nineteenth-century tradition it is truly a requiem writ grand; it is filled with splendid horror, perhaps the most exhilarating of emotions, and as a result plays out as something which is much more than easy listening. 

Admission: Prices vary, see event details

Anne Boleyn

20-22 June, 7pm, King's Manor

Meet the young, fearless and provocative Anne Boleyn as her aspirations to rule the heart of the King leave her fighting for the crown of the Queen in this 2010 play by Howard Brenton set in the court of Henry VIII. Played out in an original open-air Tudor courtyard, the performance is fast-paced, witty and utterly immersive.

Admission: £10, concessions £7, UoY students £5,

The Dutch Courtesan

20-22 June, 7.30pm, TFTV, University of York

One of the greatest Jacobean comedies,  John Marston's masterpiece weaves together tales of sexual obsession, clever con-tricks, and radical freethinking into a striking plot which leads two of its characters to the foot of the gallows.  Directed by Mike Cordner.

Admission: £7, concessions £5, 10 for the price of 9,

Jacobean schools comedy workshop

20 June, 4.30pm, TFTV, University of York

To coincide with The Dutch Courtesan, theatre director Tom Wright explores the challenges of staging Jacobean comedy in this fun and practical workshop. Tom will use techniques drawing from mask, clowning and commedia del arte to explore the skills needed to play a trickster on stage.

Admission: Free, ticketed,

Jacobean Theatre Now

21 June, 5.45pm, TFTV, University of York

Setting the stage for the evening performance, leading theatre critic Michael Billington discusses Jacobean plays on the contemporary stage with Dutch Courtesan director Mike Cordner.

Admission: Free, ticketed,

University of York Jazz Orchestra

21 June, 7.30pm, NCEM

Featuring the music of Ensemble Quintessence, Chile’s most popular contemporary jazz ensemble, and a musical response by Ricardo Alvarez to the colourful festival of the Feast of La Tirana in northern Chile.

Admission: £13, concessions £11, students £3,

Jacobean comedy workshop

22 June, 3.30pm, TFTV, University of York

To coincide with The Dutch Courtesan, theatre director Tom Wright explores the challenges of staging Jacobean comedy in this fun and practical workshop. Tom will use techniques drawing from mask, clowning and commedia del arte to explore the skills needed to play a trickster on stage. Open to all.

Admission: Free,

ZRI - Brahms and the Gypsy

23 June, 7.30pm, NCEM

ZRI – the Red Hedgehog Tavern in Vienna – where Brahms used to go and hear gypsy musicians play – has inspired a re-imagining of his famous Op 115 clarinet quintet, re-scoring it with accordion and santouri (a type of cymbalom) for the rich gypsy flair that so inspired the original

Admission: £15, concessions £13, students £5,

Bob Dylan: Northern roots, Southern music

23 June, 1.30pm, Berrick Saul Building

Michael Gray, the critic, writer, public speaker and broadcaster is a world authority on the work of Bob Dylan, and as an expert on rock’n’roll history. Featuring rare footage, the talk explores Dylan’s biography and influences.

Admission: Free, ticketed

Hearing the York Mystery Plays

24 June, 6.30pm, ATB/057, Seebohm Rowntree Building, University of York

We know that the York Mystery Plays were performed on wagons throughout the city, but we have very little information on staging or stage directions. Mariana Lopez reveals what acoustic measurement techniques can tell us about the performance spaces of the plays.

Admission: Free, ticketed

From South to North: A vocal pi

24 June, 7.30pm, NCEM

David Howard (presenter of BBC4 TV's Voice and Castrato programmes) takes us on a journey ‘from south to north’ exploring our voices from lungs to head!  The acoustics of the NCEM will be altered during our journey and our singers will be spread out around the audience to ‘bake’ a special vocal π for your listening pleasure.

Admission: £6, concessions £4, students £3,

Tales of South and North: Understanding the Battle of Jutland and its preludes

25 June, 1.45pm, Temple Hall, York St John University

In 1916 two of the greatest naval forces in history faced each other in the North Sea. The tactics employed used a lot of maths including geometry. Find out more about the battle and watch a live simulation. Will the fleets fight it out, as never happened in reality? And will the maths prove to be correct? We look forward to finding out!

Admission: Free, but capacity limited to 50

Longmont Chorale

27 June, 1pm, St Helen's Church

If you are looking for some culture during your lunch break, the Longmont Chorale, a community choir from Colorado, would like to invite you to their lunchtime performance at St Helen's Church. The choir will sing a mixed repertoire from John Rutter's Angel's Carol to Sting'sFields of Gold.

Admission: By donation


27 June, 7.30pm, Rymer Auditorium, University of York

Poet, author and Journal of Music contributor Ciaran Carson’s 1997 memoir and elegy to Belfast, The Star Factory, will be performed ‘as a circus of sound, words, and images’ at the Rymer Auditorium York, on June 27 at 7.30pm.

Admission: Free, ticketed

Music at York Minster

13-29 June, times vary, see

This summer heralds a busy year ahead for music at York Minster with its choir and organists celebrating 1,000 years of musicianship at York Minster. You can hear the choir in many concert appearances and in Evensong, in addition to enjoying performances by the magnificent Minster organists. Fans of Renaissance Music will also have the rare opportunity to hear music from York Minster’s archives.

Admission: Costs vary: use code FOI2013 to receive 10% off all tickets booked during the Festival of Ideas

Clocking in: Life in the Chocolate City

25-29 June, 7pm and 8.30pm, York Cocoa House

A new play, taken from real life stories, celebrating the chocolate making industry in York. Enjoy a hot chocolate while we take you inside York's chocolate factories to explore what it was like to work in York's biggest industry.

Admission: £7 (includes hot chocolate), from York Cocoa House, Blake Street, York, 01904 635755

Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy - June 26-29

Following the death of Henry V, celebrated for having united England and subjugated France, divisions appear at the highest levels – first between those around the infant Henry VI, later between the two great factions in English politics: the houses of Lancaster and York. Only the young Lord Talbot, locked in combat with the bewitching and enigmatic Joan of Arc, seems capable of redeeming a divided and dishonoured kingdom.


28 June, 7.30pm, NCEM

The first non-American to win the legendary Amateur Night Live at the Harlem Apollo, British vocalist, cellist and composer, Ayanna – a pioneer of Black folk music – is paving the way with her beguiling vocals which skip and swing over the intimate, honey-sweet cello.

Admission: £15, concessions £13, students £5,