69 things to look forward to in York in 2015

1 Jan 2015 @ 1.08 pm
| Entertainment

With York Explore, York Art Gallery and the Theatre Royal all reopening after major refits, 2015 is set to be an exciting year.

It’s definitely a year of beginnings, with York’s TV station – working title the York Channel – expected to go on air in the last quarter of the year (look for a brand launch and job opportunities advertised in March).

Meanwhile work should begin on major construction projects at both the York Central site and the community stadium.

So what else is there to catch the eye in 2015? Well, we’re mighty glad you asked…



York Explore reopens (Jan 5)
The new mutual organisation which runs York’s libraries and archives takes a bold step into the future as York Explore opens its doors to the public. For researchers, there are new digital ways to find out info as well as a state-of-the-art archive created within a golden box. The lending library has been refurbed too, with a bigger café.
Residents Festival (Sat Jan 31-Sun Feb 1)
Back for a 20th year, the Residents Festival enables folk with a York Card free entry into more than 50 attractions and events. New this year are behind the scenes tours of York City FC and the Treasurer’s House.
First woman bishop at York Minster (Mon, Jan 26)
More history is made in the Minster as the Reverend Libby Lane becomes the first woman bishop in the Church Of England in a ceremony there. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “Yippee! Yippee again!”


I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue (Jan 10)
BBC Radio 4’s antidote to panel games returns to York. Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Jeremy Hardy and special guest host Sandi Toksvig will record two episodes at the Barbican. No doubt scorer Samantha and Mrs Trellis from North Wales will also feature…
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Jan 20-24)
The tie-up between the National Theatre and York’s Grand Opera House is set to bring us some cracking theatre this year. Adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time should appeal to young and old.
Room On The Broom (Jan 26-27)
A very different book adaptation, this family show from the creators of The Gruffalo will be a particularly hit with three to eight-year-olds. At the Grand Opera House.
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas Q&A (Jan 28)
City Screen hosts this Holocaust Memorial Day screening which marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. A Q&A follows the film with director Mark Herman and York Minster’s Canon Chancellor, Chris Collingwood.



Jorvik Viking Festival (Feb 14-22)
This year’s festival takes the story back to the oldest legends of Viking mythology – including the first ever battle of the Norse gods. Look out for children’s author Jeremy Strong giving a talk, and Poo Day.
Chuckle Brothers (Feb 21)
Fresh from their smash hit with Tinchy Stryder, the brothers Chuckle give their own spin to a classic story in The Chuckles Of Oz at York Barbican.
Stars play Shakespeare (Feb 22)
Niamh Cusack stars in a charity fundraising gala rehearsed reading of Antony & Cleopatra at York Theatre Royal, directed by George Costigan.
Spamalot (Feb 16-21)
The King Arthur legend gets this unique Monty Python take, in the hit show by Eric Idle at the Grand Opera House. Starring Joe Pasquale as King Arthur and Todd Carty as assistant Patsy expect a chorus or two of Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.


10cc (Feb 9)
Eleven top ten hits, three number ones and fans including Robert Plant and Axl Rose – 10cc have quite the musical pedigree. Co-founder Graham Gouldman brings the current line up to the Barbican.
Katherine Jenkins (Feb 25)
The Welsh soprano stops off at the Barbican as part of her 21-date UK tour. She has sold more than eight million copies of her nine studio albums, and performed for the Queen at the Coronation Festival.
Cirque Berserk (Feb 4-5)
Direct from four sold-out seasons in London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Cirque Berserk hits the Grand Opera House. Includes the Globe Of Death, where three motorcyclists speed around a steel cage at more than 60mph.
Jimmy Carr (Feb 27-28)
Not for the easily offended, Jimmy Carr returns to the Grand Opera Housewith his wit, wisdom and one-liners. Expect two hours of gags with plenty of rudeness mixed in.



York Literature Festival (Mar 19-29)
Acerbic historian David Starkey, poet and comedian John Hegley and many more of a literary persuasion will hit York for this ten-day fest. And you can win £400 for your poem, in the YorkMix competition.
One Man, Two Guvnors (Mar 9-14)
Hailed as “the funniest show on the planet”, One Man, Two Guvnors comes to the Grand Opera House with Shaun Williamson (Barry from EastEnders) in one of the starring roles. This National Theatre award-winning comedy directed by Nicholas Hytner has been seen by one million people worldwide.
York International Women’s Week (Mar 7-14)
The week returns for a tenth year featuring shows, concerts, talks, walks, sports, dances, poetry, arts and crafts and workshops.
Beauty & The Beast (Mar 31)
Bobby Davro returns to the Barbican in their Easter pantomime. Expect plenty of slapstick fun, music and heaps of audience participation.
Count Arthur Strong (Mar 7)
Fresh from his popular radio and TV shows, Count Arthur Strong hits the Barbican in his new show, Somebody Up There Licks Me!.
Brendan Cole (Mar 5)
The star of Strictly Come Dancing and his cast of dancers, musicians and singers will present a dazzling spectacle at the Barbican. Look out for plenty of sparkly costumes too.
South Pacific (Mar 3-14)
York Light present this evergreen musical favourite at the Theatre Royal. And in so doing, they bring down the curtain on the theatre as it closes for a major refit, reopening towards the end of the year. In the meantime, productions will be put on at the theatre’s temporary home, the National Railway Museum.
The Wiz (Mar 26-28)
Flying Ducks Youth Theatre bring this modern, urban version of the much-loved Wonderful Wizard of Oz to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.
Paul Weller (Mar 20)
The former frontman of The Jam comes to the Barbican in a tour taking in cities “often missed” by artists.
The Lene Lovich Band (Mar 8)
After a job recording screams to be added to Hammer horror movie soundtracks, Lene Lovich hit the charts in 1979 with the release of her hit single Lucky Number. She brings her unique sound and style to Fibbers.

Hairspray (Mar 27-Apr 4)
York Stage Musicals bring this fabulous musical set in 1960s Baltimore to the Grand Opera House stage. The company’s production of Sister Act in 2014 was named “Grand Opera House show of the year” by York Press arts critic Charles Hutchinson.


Back to test our best athletes: York Triathlon
Back to test our best athletes: York Triathlon
York Triathlon (Apr 26)
Following its successful launch year, the City of York Triathlon returns to York Sport Village, Heslington. Six hundred people will swim, run and cycle for glory, while raising money for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.
Twelve Angry Men (Apr 13-18)
Tom Conti stars in the role of the juror, which was made famous by Henry Fonda in the movie version. In this adaptation at the Grand Opera House Conti is supported by familiar TV faces Robert Duncan (Gus Hedges in Drop The Dead Donkey) and Andrew Lancel (Frank Foster in Coronation Street).
Michael Ball (Apr 23)
One of Britain’s leading musical theatre stars, Michael Ball is also multi-platinum recording artist and a hugely popular radio and TV presenter. The double Olivier Award-winning singer is in concert at the Barbican.


The Sooty Show (Apr 8)
Izzy wizzy let’s get busy. Direct from CITV, Sooty heads into the Grand Opera House along with be Sweep, Soo and Sooty’s TV partner Richard Cadell, who will be attempting to keep Sooty from getting up to mischief…
Seasick Steve (Apr 24)
Seasick Steve sails into the Grand Opera House armed with a batch of new songs on the album he recorded on the little farm where he lives, Sonic Soul Surfer.
Make It York launched (Apr 1)
York’s new marketing body, overseeing tourism, events and inward investment, comes into being. It will also be in charge of making the most of York’s designation as a UNESCO City of Media Arts, which promises to put on new events for 2015.
York Open Studios (Apr 17-19, 25-26)
Get to see where painters, sculptors, printmakers and other artists make their magic as they throw open their studios and host exhibitions.
York Spring Festival Of New Music (Apr 23-May 3)
Featuring performances by York-based ensembles as well as University of York alumni, the festival will celebrate the best in new music.



York International Shakespeare Festival (May 12-16)
A new date on the calendar of this city of festivals. Highlights include Northern Broadsides’ King Lear, performed at the University of York.
YO1 Festival (May 3)
This chilled out, family music festival gets better every year. How will they top last year’s Knavesmire spectacular, featuring De La Soul as headliners?
Tour de Yorkshire (May 1-3)
Following on from the spectacular success of Yorkshire hosting the Tour de France Grand Départ in summer 2014, this new road race will see some of the sport’s finest compete on our streets once more.
Theatre in a chippie (May 7)
You don’t have to go to the theatre to see a play. Why not head to the Wetherby Whaler in York to watch Deborah McAndrew’s new show One Of Each? And supper’s on tap…


Paul Merton (May 1)
Along with his Imrpo Chums, the star of Have I Got News For You will take suggestions from the audience and aim to spin them into comedy gold at the Grand Opera House.
Reginald D Hunter (May 9)
Stopping off at the Barbican as part of his 45-date tour, Reginald D Hunter will entertain the York audience with his distinctive stand-up.
Birmingham Royal Ballet (May 19-20)
Featuring works by two of the greats of British ballet, Sir Frederick Ashton and Sir Kenneth MacMillan, alongside an exciting new work, all performed to live music from members of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
York elects a new MP (May 7)
Whatever your political persuasion, you can expect an exciting General Election on May 7, with a guaranteed new MP for York Central, following Hugh Bayley’s decision to step down.



Apollo Festival (June 27)
It’s the third year of this unique one-day music festival at York Sports Club on Shipton Road. Last year featured Reverend & The Makers, Chris Helme (pictured) and an amazing variety of other artists.
York Festival Of Ideas (Jun 9-21)
No fewer than 120 events will get your brain buzzing and your mind boggling in the fifth year of the ideas jamboree. This year’s theme is Secrets And Discoveries.
York Pride (Jun 20)
Undoubtedly the most colourful day on York’s calendar, the rainbow flag will lead a procession through town before the party starts on Knavesmire.
In Fog And Falling Snow (Jun 26-Jul 11)
This is the name of the community production exploring the importance of the railways to York. Conceived by York Theatre Royal as the flagship project of its stay at the National Railway Museum, In Fog And Falling Snow will feature a cast of 200 people from the city working alongside professional actors – the same model which made Blood + Chocolate so memorable.
David Sedaris (Jun 12)
One of those rare writers who can make you laugh out loud as you read his stories, David Sedaris brings his unique outlook on life to the Barbican.


Stewart Lee (Jun 6)
Former partner of York City FC fan Richard Herring, Stewart Lee comes to the Barbican as a solo stand-up best known for his Comedy Vehicle on BBC2.
The History Boys (Jun 8-13)
Alan Bennett’s hysterical play heads to the Grand Opera House, telling its tale of a group of bright, funny and unruly sixth-formers in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university.
York Food & Drink Festival, part 1 (Jun 6-7)
Like last year, the food festival is split into two parts. This is more of an hors d’oeuvre, with the main course to follow in September. By which time you’ll be starving…



Great Yorkshire Fringe (Jul 24-Aug 2)
This looks set to be one of the highlights of 2015. A ten-day festival on Parliament Street, featuring top comedy names, family shows and much more, it is brought to us by the man behind London’s comedy venue the Leicester Square Theatre.
York Early Music Festival (Jul 2-11)
The 2015 festival celebrates 300 glorious years of music making across England and France – from the battle of Agincourt in 1415 to the fabulous opulence of the Court of Louis XIV, who died in 1715.
Derren Brown (Jul 13-18)
The man who can control minds brings his special powers to the Grand Opera House in his new show Miracle.
Justin Hayward (Jul 9)
The legendary voice of the Moody Blues plays an intimate show at the Barbican, drawing on his 40 years with the band and beyond.
The Railway Children (Jul 31-Sep 5)
York Theatre Royal’s award-winning production of The Railway Children is revived in the perfect setting – the theatre’s temporary home in the National Railway Museum.
Alan Carr (Jul 11)
The chatty man leaves his TV studio and returns to his stand-up roots, bringing new show Yap, Yap, Yap! to the Barbican.


York Art Gallery reopens (Aug 1)
This looks set to be awesome. York has been bereft since the gallery closed down in 2013. But following an £8 million investment it is due to reopen on Yorkshire Day. When it does open, expect a new mezzanine floor, many more exhibits, a fantastic public garden and a bigger café.
Yorkshire Medieval Festival
Organised by the people behind Jorvik, this festival runs for much of the month in venues across the city. Try your hand as an eagle-eyed archer, watch falconry demonstrations and see brave knights battle it out.
Yorkshire Ebor Festival (Aug 19-22)
It’s set to be another cracking year of York racing, with the four-day Ebor Festival the highlight of the season. Great sport, great outfits and the odd celebrity to spot too.
Basil Brush (Aug 26)
The wise-cracking, waistcoat-wearing fox about town brings his show to the Grand Opera House. Boom, boom!



York Food & Drink Festival, part 2 (Sep 18-27)
Markets, cookery demonstrations, wine and beer tastings and generally a lot of delicious fun will be on the menu in this main helping of the food festival.
York National Book Fair (Dates TBA)
Britain’s largest antiquarian book fair is expected to return to the Knavesmire this month. There will be book bargains for a few pounds, and rarities worth thousands.
Avenue Q (Sep 15-19)
The award-winning comedy musical features the naughtiest puppets in town, brought hilariously to life by an ensemble cast of 11 performers at the Grand Opera House.
Darcy Oake (Sep 24)
The Canadian magician thrilled Britain’s Got Talent audiences and judges alike, and now he brings his electrifying live show to the Barbican.



York Marathon (Oct 11)
Now established as a firm favourite, the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon will again bring thousands of runners taking to York’s beautiful streets while raising money for good causes.


Illuminating York (Dates TBA)
Named among The Guardian’s Top Ten European Light Festivals, Illuminating York is expected to return for a tenth time. And this time, the lights will fall on a UNESCO City of Media Arts.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival (Nov 5-8)
Films and filmmakers from around the world converge on York for this terrific event. Immerse yourself in magical short movies and learn the art from the people behind the cameras.


York Theatre Royal reopens (Date TBA)
Following York Explore, and York Art Gallery, the third much anticipated reopening should happen around now. In time for Berwick Kaler’s 37th panto, the Theatre Royal will open its doors after a £4.1 million transformation. Built on Roman foundations in 1744, the theatre will be brought up to the most modern standards.
York Early Music Christmas Festival (Dates TBA)
This is when it begins to sound a lot like Christmas. The 2014 festival included La Serenissima and the Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment, as well as a number of workshops.