A balloon festival and Shakespeare’s globe theatre could both be heading to York

16 May 2017 @ 7.21 pm
| Business, Entertainment

More amazing entertainment could be heading York’s way.

There are plans afoot to bring a hot air balloon festival to the city.

And work is underway to bring a pop-up version of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to York too.

Neither is confirmed yet. But at the second annual stakeholder meeting of Make It York on Tuesday (May 16) they were both flagged up as potential new attractions.

Shakespeare’s Globe

The Pop-up Globe’s first location, Auckland in New Zealand. Photograph © Yoram Inger on Wikipedia

The permanent replica of The Globe, the Elizabethan theatre associated with William Shakespeare, is on London’s South Bank.

But there is also a pop-up version – the world’s first full scale temporary working replica of the historic playhouse.

It is based in Auckland, New Zealand. But Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, based at Welburn, want to bring it to York in summer 2018.

Last year it attracted more than 100,000 people to a ten-week programme of Shakespeare plays.

“For York to be the first stop on a world tour would not only be a coup, but it would generate massive interest in the city,” Make It York managing director Steve Brown told the gathering at the Principal York hotel.

“We are giving Lunchbox our full backing and support, and we really do hope they can pull this one off.”

Up up and away

“York could have its first weekend hot air balloon festival in late September this year,” said Steve.

This is the brainchild of Ollie Webb, a young entrepreneur who YorkMix readers first met when he set up Munchies Cakeaway, a home delivery service for baked treats.

Ballooning is his first love and he has a balloon pilot’s licence. He is also known as a DJ whose sets feature regularly at Fibbers.

The festival could bring 50 balloons to Knavesmire, with TalkTalk lined up as sponsors.

“A similar event in Bristol has a great following and reputation,” Steve said.

Tourism plans

York Mediale director Tom Higham and Jane Lady Gibson, chair of Make It York. Photograph: Lily Hartley
director of the York Mediale, the festival which will celebrate the city’s role as UNESCO City of Media Arts. The first festival is planned for October 2018.

He said that many players in the city had realised “York need to inject a bit of dynamism and creativity into that offer that the city makes” – and the Mediale will help do just that.

Tom said:

We intend to build an organisation, a programme, and a movement in York.

It’ll be international, contemporary and relevant.

We will attract an audience of over 100,000 people in our first festival. There’s not a lot of festivals that would be bold enough to say that.

It will be made up of local residents and incoming visitors from across the world.

He said his worst nightmare would be if people said the first festival “was OK”.

“I believe it’s my job to make people love it or hate it. I genuinely want young, culturally active people from Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and further afield to be getting on the train to come to York, not the other way round.”

New website

The front page of the Visit Manchester website, designed by New Mind tellUs

Visit York, the tourism arm of Make It York, is to get a new website later this year.

Liverpool agency New Mind tellUs has been commissioned to build the website.

It has already built websites for several other tourist agencies, including for the Falkland Islands, Manchester, Devon, Bristol and the Isle of Wight.

Head of Visit York Sally Greenaway said: “We need to ensure York’s tourism website is slick, efficient and quite simply world class.

“We are excited about this step change to provide a first class digital experience for every single visitor, for today and the future.”

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