York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir to resume Christmas Traditions concerts with four nights of song and word at York Citadel

Richard Kay: Co-directing York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir’s 2021 series of Christmas concerts

YORK Philharmonic Male Voice Choir’s season of Christmas concerts is back on track after a Covid-blighted 2020.

The choir will perform Christmas Traditions 2021 with the Citadel Singers for four nights at the York Citadel, Gillygate, from November 30 to December 3 at 7.30pm.

“York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir have presented their popular Christmas concerts every year since 1962, becoming part of the fabric of York’s cultural Christmas scene,” says deputy musical director Richard Kay.

“Last year, of course, everything changed, although the ‘Phil’ were still able to deliver an online Christmas concert via Zoom to an international audience.

“This year, they return to their new home, the Citadel, where they last performed their Christmas Traditions show in 2019.”

After presenting Carols In Kirkgate at York Castle Museum for 50 years, the ‘Phil’ have since performed Carols In Fossgate at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and Christmas Traditions at the De Grey Rooms, St Leonard’s Place.

“Now, in 2021, the spacious Citadel allows room for cabaret seating downstairs and balcony seating that can ensure safe distancing is maintained,” says Richard. “The show retains its ever-popular format: a blend of carols old and new and Christmas songs, including ladies and mixed-voice ensembles, plus festive readings and sketches.

“There’ll also be the opportunity to join in with communal carols and to enjoy a mince pie and glass of wine, surrounded by festive decorations, to help kick-start your own Christmas traditions.”

Richard is co-directing the 2021 shows with musical director Berenice Lewis, with the father-and-son team of Graham and Richard Kay directing the spoken-word offerings.

“The Phil have continued to rehearse and perform throughout the past 18 months, albeit with virtual tracks on Zoom,” Richard says.

“We’re now thrilled to be back rehearsing in person and look forward to our return to what we do best: performing our favourite songs for, and with, our loyal Christmas audiences.

“It promises to be a fun – and slightly emotional – set of concerts and I suspect the demand for tickets will be high this year.”

Tickets are on sale at £15, £12, £5 for under-16s, at arkevent.co.uk/christmastraditions2021. “Book early to avoid disappointment,” advises Richard.

One slug, one caterpillar, only one leaf left, it’s time to play with Slime in gooey show

The Herd Theatre’s gooey goings-on Slime

SLUG and Caterpillar are starving and the only leaf left in the garden is just out of reach.

So begins Slime, Sam Caseley’s squelchy, squishy, surreal, slimy play for two to five-year-old children at the De Grey Ballroom, York Theatre Royal, on April 15 at 10.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm.

Directed by Ruby Thompson, The Herd Theatre’s show is a playful interactive adventure where young theatregoers and their families can expect to “get stuck in with slime” as they help Slug and Caterpillar to work together to form an unlikely friendship, despite their differences.

Just out of reach: the only leaf left in the garden for Slug and Caterpillar

Slug thinks they should work together, but Caterpillar has other ideas, saying slugs are gross, covered in gooey slime and have terrible taste in music. 

The Hull company’s fully immersive and accessible experience will transform the De Grey Ballroom into a “Slime-tastic undergrowth for all”, with British Sign Language integrated throughout.

This isn’t a traditional play performed in a traditional theatre,” says Ruby, the director. “We’re delighted to host a unique theatrical experience for the very young. During the show, children and their grown-ups can be as loud as they want: giggle, dance, wriggle and talk. We can’t wait to welcome York audiences into the undergrowth, created by designer Rūta Irbīte.” 

“Slugs are gross, covered in gooey slime and have terrible taste in music,” says Caterpillar in The Herd Theatre’s Slime

Playwright and composer Sam adds: “Slugs are amazing and their slime is like no other material on Earth, but they get such a bad rep. So, we’ve made a show that confronts this prejudice, and in doing so explores how we judge others before we know them. And you get to invade the stage and play with Slime at the end.”

Defining their brand of theatre, The HerdTheatre say they “make innovative shows about the world young people live in today”. At the heart of everything is collaboration as they play, chat, imagine, share, and create with groups of children.

Slime has only has 12 words in the show, and every word is spoken and signed by the characters in British Sign Language. Furthermore, every performance of Slime is relaxed. “The audience area is well lit. It’s OK to come, go and make noise if you need to,” say The Herd, whose 45-minute play is followed at each performance by 15 minutes of Slime play.

Tickets for the three performances with British Sign Language and Relaxed Performance access cost £8 on 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.