Who’s performing in York St John University’s TakeOver – In The Limelight festival at York Theatre Royal, May 13 to 18?

Verve: Presenting a dance triple bill at TakeOver – In The Limelight

THE 12th TakeOver festival at York Theatre Royal is in the hands of York St John University for the fourth year, taking the theme of In The Limelight from May 13 to 18.

In this annual town-and-gown collaboration, third-year drama students are put in charge of the theatre and programming its events for a week, with support and mentoring from professionals. 

“TakeOver is a fantastic opportunity for students to experience running and taking part in a theatre festival that is entirely unique,” says Ruby, a student on the producing team. “We’re able to learn so many new skills and create something that we can really be proud of.” said Ruby, a student on the producing team. 

Among the highlights will be the May 16 performance of Scottish author and poet Hollie McNish, reading from her latest book Lobster And Other Things I’m Learning To Love, wherein she addresses questions of friendships, flags and newborns as she shines her poetic lens on “all those things we have been taught to hate, and which we might learn to love again”. Joining her on the 7.30pm bill will be fellow poet Micheal Pedersen, reading from his books The Cat Prince and Boy Friends.  

To “see where dance is right now, and where it might go next”, the Verve: Triple Billat 7.30pm on May 18 presents a bold programme featuring new commissions by artistic directorMatteo Marfoglia and choreographer Joy Alpuerto Ritter,alongside a reworking of People Used To Die by the international collective(LA)HORDE. 

Verve is the postgraduate company of Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. Each year, the company commissions choreographers from all over the world to create an artistically distinct, physically daring and engaging programme of dance work. 

Hollie McNish: Reading from her book Lobster And Other Things I’m Learning To Love on May 16

Festival Programme

May 13

Opening ceremony; free snacks and drinks available for all guests.

7.30pm, Upper Foyer, This is York Pecha Kucha, Volume 30: Bearing Fruit, in collaboration with York Creatives. Rapid-fire talks from more than seven speakers on a range of topics created to leave you feeling entertained, educated and inspired. 

May 14

Full day of shows and activities, starting with two York St John companies.

11am, Studio: Bounce Back: Interactive children’s theatre experience introducing the audience to the world of fairytale.

12 noon, Studio: Final Girls: Multi-media performance set in a forest where a group of unlikely people try to survive, the best they can, against an unknown entity.

Followed by dance trail that will take the audience around the city of York before returning to the theatre.  

6pm, Studio: Peachy & Me:  Performer Beverly Bishop invites family audiences into a world of storytelling, music, magic and comedy, as she appears as both herself and her clown alter-ego to overcome the complexities of the modern world.

7.30pm, main house: Out Of Character Theatre Company in Afterlife.In this York-made piece, strangers find themselves in a waiting room between life and death where they must go through their past lives to choose their forever.  

The TakeOver – In The Limelight logo for the 2024 festival

May 15

11am, main house: Misery Loves will be sharing their production of The Women Of Whitechapel, a newly devised musical that re-tells the stories of Jack the Ripper’s victims with the focus on finding out who these women really were.

12 noon, main house: Blushed’s show Our Fault, Never Their Fault follows two characters as they experience the journey of becoming a woman, highlighting the good, bad and little embarrassing parts that go alongside growing up.  

7.30pm, main house: Pinch Punch Improvisation use audience suggestions to help their four characters unmask the murderer before they are all killed in the improv whodunit Locomotive For Murder

May 16

11am, Studio: York St John company Glass Broom perform their post-apocalyptic show End,where five people are trapped in a house together. Tensions runs high as the characters are forced to find a way to survive with each other.

12 noon, main house: Fellow York St John company Tradesman present Life Of The Party,where agroup of collaborators explores essential themes through the lens of absurdist theatre, aiming to question the themes of the human condition. 

6pm, Studio: York company Pop Yer Clogs Theatre perform Alice In Wonderland Abridged, Lewis Carroll’s timeless tale ofAlice encountering many weird and wonderful characters in subterranean land where every time is tea time and nothing is ever as it seems.

7.30pm, main house: Hollie McNish reads from her book Lobster And Other Things I’m Learning To Love. 

May 17

11am and 1pm, main house: Two dance routines created by York St John student Izzy Cryer. The first, Unholy,tells a story of cheating and betrayal, performed ina commercial style; the second, the lyrical Survivor, focuses on survival and standing together as one.

12 noon, Studio: York St John company M.A.D. say “fate, you can’t escape it”, asking how will it leave us? Alone or somehow forced together? Let’s find out what fate will throw at us this time in The Red Thread (a show suitable for age 18 plus

Alexander Flanagan Wright, left, and Phil Grainger: Performing Helios in the closing show on May 18

7.30pm, main house: A talk by Colin Sutton, a police officer for 30 years, who served as the head of a Metropolitan Police murder squad for the last nine of them. His show, The Real Manhunter, gives a guide to his career, how policing has changed, what it feels like to chase a serial killer and how he made the step from policing to storytelling. 

May 18Alexander

At 7.30pm, on the main house stage, Verve: Triple Bill of modern dance routines.

At 7.45pm, in the Studio, Alexander Flangan Wright and Phil Grainger present the third in their trilogy of Greek dramas in words and music, Helios.

Opportunities to be involved throughout the week:  

May 13, 2pm: Heels workshop, focusing on a style of dance that inspires confidence and is aimed at any level of experience. 5pm: Year 10 students from Joseph Rowntree School present a show based on social media and lockdown.

Throughout the week, tours include an afternoon tea experience. An open mic event takes place on May 14 at 4pm; a fashion show will be held on May 16 at 1pm; adult cocktail classes on May 17 at 2pm; a dance workshop for five to ten-year-olds, based on The Lion King, on May 18 at 2pm.

For the full programme, head to: yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/be-part-of-it/children-and-young-people/takeover/. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.