There’s a coup underway at York Theatre Royal. Young people have seized control. Yes, it’s the return of the TakeOver festival, which sees those aged between 11 and 25 take the helm of the theatre for three weeks.
They are creating, organising and performing a programme of events designed to encourage more of their generation to engage with the arts.
Thanks to generous funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation the festival has flourished in spite of government cuts. This year’s festival, the fourth, looks livelier than ever, taking on the challenging topics of gender, war and what it means to be normal. Here are six ones to watch out for…
The Odyssey, March 19-20
The festival opens with an epic retelling of Homer’s Odysseus. More than 150 actors and musicians lead us through a world of selfish goddesses, vengeful gods, monsters, sirens and subterfuge. This show marks The Factory’s return to York following a four week sell out run at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford.
Self-Service, March 20-21
Low-fi contemporary theatre-makers Milk Presents bring us Self-Service. This riotous cabaret show is primarily concerned with sexuality and gender, scouring to answer that elusive question of what it means to be “normal.” You can expect interesting costumes, live animation and apparently a selection of home made gadgets.
Mark Grist’s Rogue Teacher, March 22
Mark Grist’s rap battle: warning, includes explicit language
Mark Grist became an internet sensation after a video of him defeating a grime artist in a rap battle went viral. Following its success Mark has quit teaching and embarked on sell out show, Rogue Teacher, sharing comic anecdotes, poetry and his inimitable beats.
Doug Segal: How To Read Minds & Influence People, March 22
TimeOut magazine have named Doug Segal “the UK’s best kept entertainment secret”. In this award winning show he’ll be demonstrating the hard science of the brain all in the name of comedy. With a background in psychology advertising, this show promised to transform each audience member into a mind reader, with the ability to spot a lie, and to plant subliminal messages…
Quicksand, March 20-23
Directed by Ruby Clarke – the director of the festival – and written by York University’s Matthew Midgley, Quicksand is the comedic and poignant tale of two soldiers stranded in the Kuwaiti desert, awaiting the order to invade Iraq. Their story paints a compassionate image of life on the front line and asks what happened to democracy in 2003 as war broke out.
Carol Ann Duffy & LiTTLe MACHiNe, March 24
TakeOver and The York Literature Festival team up here to bring us an afternoon with Carol Ann Duffy and LiTTLe MACHiNe. Carol Ann Duffy was appointed as the first female poet laureate in 2009, which is offensively recently… Here she teams up with LiTTle MACHiNe, a group who use their distinct lyrical style to reinvent classic poetry.
- For the full programme and to buy tickets, visit the York Theatre Royal website