The York International Shakespeare Festival is a major new cultural venture for York and for the North of England. It emerges from a new partnership between the York Theatre Royal, the University of York and Parrabbola.
With a 2000 year history, York is at one and the same time both Roman and Medieval, a military and mercantile centre, with a Victorian industrial heritage and a thriving modern outlook. One of the most beautiful and most historic cities in Britain, York was the powerhouse of the North of England in Shakespearean times and is the ideal location to reflect on the variety and complexity of Shakespeare as Europe’s playwright.
The York International Shakespeare Festival has launched in May 2015 for the first of its annual Spring programmes and had included productions by major established companies delivering Shakespeare in recognisable and affecting ways alongside experimental new work challenging received ideas about specific plays and, in some cases, about the business of theatre itself. As a member of the prestigious European Shakespeare Festivals Network, we look forward to fruitful and exciting collaborations with other Shakespeare festivals across Europe.
The new York International Shakespeare Festival will feature exciting and adventurous artists both from around the world and from closer to home, with a focus on the Shakespeare of the North. In addition, some of Shakespeare’s many lives and afterlives across other media – including film, music and fine art – will be richly explored as part of the programme. There will be family friendly events for children, and an international conference for academics. Young people will produce a series of events designed to appeal to young audiences, and a showcase opportunity will profile experimental and innovative work, to promoters and Shakespeareans from the UK and overseas.
With banners throughout the city, performances on the streets, in the theatres, in churches and simply popping up where you least expect them, and with an influx of Shakespeareans from around the world, for the ten days of the Festival – York will be the city of Shakespeare.