LIVE theatre will burst into life in York for the first time since December 30 when Next Door But One presents Yorkshire Trios in The Gillygate pub’s new outdoor seating area on April 23 and 24.
“The sun is beginning to shine, the days are getting longer, and lockdown restrictions are easing, so we’re inviting you to a production that brings you everything 2021 has been missing so far,” says Matt Harper-Hardcastle, the York community arts collective’s artistic director, who had to postpone the original “mini-promenade” shows planned for inside Brian Furey’s pub in Gillygate in January.
“The plan was that people could get a drink and move around the pub to see the five solo performances, but once lockdown was announced, we thought we’d wait to see what transpired, keeping it on a low heat, but still wanting to do it as soon as possible, when it could be a springboard for the 15 creatives involved to get back out there working again.
“Then Brian [Furey] got in touch to say he’d been building a gazebo structure to make it feasible for him to reopen the pub, but if we could put lighting in, it could double as a performance space too.
“We could have waited to June, but this felt a brilliant opportunity to come back together now. It feels a really big step now, when two years ago, rocking up to a pub for a show would have felt perfectly normal.”
Themed around Moments Yet To Happen, trios of actors, directors and writers will bring to theatre-starved York a quintet of short stories of laughter, strength, dreams and everything in between: a neighbour with a secret; a delivery driver full of wanderlust; an optimistic carousel operator; a poet inviting us into her world and a Jane McDonald fan on a soapbox.
Actor Mandy Newby, director Joe Feeney and writer Dan Norman will stage Weirdo; Nicki Davy, Becky Lennon and Rachel Price, And How Are Your Goats Keeping?; Emily Chattle, Libby Pearson and Lydia Crosland, Motormouth; Christie Barnes, Fiona Baistow and Jenna Drury, Kelly Unmasked, and Miles Kinsley, Nicolette Hobson, Anna Johnston, One More Time We Go.
“From the hearts of Yorkshire creatives, told in the heart of the city and into yours, Yorkshire Trios is here to remind you of the talent and stories that our community holds,” says Matt, ahead of next week’s 7.30pm performances, supported by Arts Council England funding.
“From humour to drama, sentimentality to the bizarre, an evening of Yorkshire Trios will have something for everyone…and there’s a drink included in the price!
“We all know the feelings of being stuck indoors, longing to go to the pub and catch up with our friends. Well, Yorkshire Trios has all of that and more. What better way to mark the latest phase of the Government’s Roadmap than being sat with your friends and family in The Gillygate pub’s beer garden, watching five original, locally produced and completely relatable short performances?”
Yorkshire Trios underpins the values of Next Door But One (NDB1) as a theatre company. “Buying a ticket to attend Yorkshire Trios is about more than watching theatre, it’s about our local community” says associate and project manager Kate Veysey, York Theatre Royal’s youth theatre director.
“It’s backing the wealth of creative talent in York, it’s supporting a local hospitality business at the centre of the city and it’s taking those small but manageable steps to reconnect people with one another and the wider community.”
The 15 Yorkshire creatives at the heart of this NDB1’s project were recruited at the end of 2020, but after the imposition of Lockdown 3 from January 5 put a stop to that month’s performances, the collective talents of Newby, Feeney, Norman, Davy, Price, Lennon, Crosland, Pearson, Chattle, Drury, Barnes, Baistow, Johnston, Kinsley and Hobson have been kept busy and creative through a series of online professional development sessions.
“We know how difficult it has been for many professionals in the arts to stay engaged in their creative practice during lockdown, with many feeling disconnected from the industry and in need of opportunities to stretch themselves and keep them going” says creative producer El Stannage.
“For more than two months, we’ve provided skills development and mentoring sessions, meaning that now our 15 creatives are even more equipped to bring their best to the performances within Yorkshire Trios, and we cannot wait to share that with audiences.”
Matt emphasises the importance of Yorkshire Trios to all those involved. “It’s had that feeling of ‘this is what was needed’: someone saying, ‘we believe in you, and, yes, we want to use your talents’,” he says.
“It’s been wonderful having 15 people sharing their skills and having that belief that ‘you belong, you haven’t been forgotten; there’s still a place for you when you’ve been told your work is not viable’.”
Looking ahead, Matt says: “We’ll be recording the performances too, so that anyone who still doesn’t feel safe to attend or has any vulnerabilities stopping them, we can stream it to them at a later date, with more info on that following the live performances.”
Next Door But One presents Yorkshire Trios outside at The Gillygate pub, Gillygate, York, on April 23 and 24 at 7.30pm. The performances are Covid safe and therefore with a socially distanced limited capacity, with tickets being sold as ‘tables’ of up to six individuals from a maximum of two households.
For more information and ticket details, go to: nextdoorbutone.co.uk/Yorkshire-Trios.php.
Copyright of The Press, York