THE Love Season will soon set hearts pulsing at York Theatre Royal, where the Step 3 reopening will make its mark with Love Bites: a love letter to live performance and a toast to the city’s creative talent.
More than 200 artists from a variety of art forms applied for £1,000 love-letter commissions to be staged on May 17 – the first day that theatres can reopen after restrictions are lifted – and May 18.
The 22 short pieces selected will be performed each night at 8pm under the overall direction of Theatre Royal creative director Juliet Forster. Each “bite” will take hold for five minutes.
In the first in a series of CharlesHutchPress Q&As, York actor Maurice Crichton has five minutes to discuss his work, Where Are You Now, You And I?
How did you hear about Love Bites, Maurice?
“I reckon I saw it come up on Facebook and of course via charleshutchpress.”
What is your connection with York?
“I came south from the Glasgow area to university here in the early 1980s and have been here ever since. My three children grew up here. Then in 2009 I got involved in the York amateur theatre scene and theatrical pursuits are now a big part of my life.”
What will feature in your Love Bite, Where Are We Now, You and I?, and why?
“I can tell you it is a solo piece which I have written and that my partner Helen Wilson is going to bring to bear her considerable directing expertise to try to make sure I don’t make a complete fool of myself.
“The brief was simple and clear for a very special occasion. A love letter to light up the YTR stage after such a long period of darkness. I had an immediate and personal response to the brief, which I hope will do justice to the opportunity.
“I was in Anthony Minghella’s Two Planks And A Passion in 2011 in the main house when it was reconfigured in the round. I did a slightly daunting read-through as Pilate for the 2012 Mystery Plays from the main stage to a big audience the following year. But nothing else in that space. So, for lots of reasons, even though it is only five minutes, for me personally it’s going to be a big five minutes.”
So, where are we now, you and I and the rest of us?
“I hope just about OK. I have been very lucky. With any unexpected trauma, it doesn’t really hit home until the danger is past. What has it cost us all? It’s too early to say.”
In lockdown, what have you missed most about theatre?
“Being able to take for granted that it’s alive and well in our city and has a future.”
What’s coming next for you?
“I’ve done some filming work on a piece called The Whispering House with Damian Cruden (director) and Bridget Foreman (writer), about the Census in Tang Hall and Heworth, in which I play a Swedish immigrant completing the 1911 census.
“His name is Enoch Stanhope, a real person. He lived at Yew Villa, Heworth Village, and had a jewellery shop on Coney Street. I hope the fruits of that work will be released soon.”
“I’m producing another Sonnets production – the sixth – this summer for York Shakespeare Project. Emilie Knight is going to direct and we hope to able to announce dates for this year in an exciting new outdoor venue very soon.
“I’m also working on a little project for York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust to take a guided walk along the route of the medieval Mystery Plays. (YMPST, along with York Festival Trust are staging A Resurrection For York on wagons in the Residence Garden, Dean’s Park, beside the Minster Library on July 3 and 4, directed by Philip Parr.)
What would be the best way to spend five minutes if you had a choice?
“Right now, it would be to ring my Mum’s doorbell in Fife and give her a hug or to make a surprise second visit to my new granddaughter (aged four weeks) in Bath and to bounce little Emma on my knee.”
Tickets for Love Bites cost Pay What You Feel at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or on 01904 623568.