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The full programme has been announced for York’s inaugural YorkLife Festival, which will see over 30 local performers and organisations come together on Parliament Street on the 2nd and 3rd April.

Organised by Make It York, with support from the City of York Council’s ARG funding, the programme of events for YorkLife has been curated with York residents in mind, supporting local talent across the city and bringing the festival feel to York this spring. The weekend will showcase a programme of family friendly workshops, as well as stellar line-up of musical performances from the likes of The Howl and The Hum and Huge.

There will be a full schedule of workshops throughout the weekend, from theatre to music. The full workshop programme includes:

Saturday 2nd April - Workshops:

  • 11.00 - 11.45: Drumming with Mark Barfoot- A fun and inclusive drumming session for children and families using a mixture of djembe drums and hand percussion.
  • 12.00 - 12.45: Storytelling with Mud Pie Arts - Meet Jenna, author of Cloud Tales, as you hear stories of lonely dragons and desperate dogs mixed with plenty of dressing up and fun improvisation activities.
  • 13.00 - 13.45: Thunk-it Theatre - Explore the process of creating your own dream city through drama, singing and crafting, perfect for anyone aged 4-11.
  • 14.00 - 14.45: York Wire Skylines with Gemma Wood York - Join Gemma Wood, a York-based visual artist, as you’re immersed and transformed into the depths of your curiosity.
  • 15.00 - 15.45: YorkMix Quiz - Ben and Laura will be bringing their much-loved Game Wheel live to YorkLife, giving you a chance to win some incredible prizes.
  • 16.00 - 16.45: The Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts – A fun taster session for young budding singers, dancers, actors or filmmakers in this PQA session.
  • 17.00 - 17.45: The JORVIK Viking Takeover A 45-minute interactive presentation about various aspects of Viking life in the 10th century.
  • 18.15 - 19.45: Burning Duck Comedy Club PresentsStepping out of The Crescent, Burning Duck Comedy brings you 90 minutes of Live, back-to-back comedy.

Sunday 3rd April - Workshops:

  • 11.00 - 11.45: York Wire Skylines with Gemma Wood - Join Gemma Wood, a York-based visual artist, as your immersed and transformed into the depths of your curiosity.
  • 12.00 - 12.45: Ukulele Workshop with Christian Topman - Join Christian Topman, co-founder of the arts barge project and bass player, to learn how to play fun tunes on the Ukulele.
  • 13.00 - 13.45: Thunk-It Theatre - Explore the process of creating your own dream city through drama, singing and crafting, perfect for anyone aged 4-11.
  • 14.00 - 14.45 York Festival of Ideas - Prepare to be inspired as you enjoy a preview of York Festival of Ideas, one of the largest free festivals of its kind in the UK. From mind-reading to crime and punishment, and the bass guitar to plasma, don’t miss a range of interactive talks.
  • 15.00 - 15.45: Say Owt Poetry Workshop - Meet Henry Raby, a York-based performance poet, as he teaches you how to make quick and fun poetry and become craftier with your words.
  • 16.00 - 16.45: Beatboxing with Matty Groove – In this exclusive workshop, Matty will share his knowledge and secret techniques into the unusual art of beatbox.
  • 17.00 - 18.00 – London Magician and Card Reader, Chris Wall – Be amazed with a 60-minute performance from Chris Wall and his mind-reading magic!
  • 18.15 - 19.45: Say Owt Back-to-Back Performance – Say Owt present a back-to-back poetry slam from their collective of ‘gobby northern poets’.

There’ll also be all-day face painting across the weekend with Fantastic Faces, whose expert team of face and body artists are providing a series of face painting, body painting and henna from 11:00 to 17:00.

‘Circus Workshops’ are also taking place throughout the weekend, including fun skill-building challenges such as unicycling, juggling and various other fun circus skills. A great family-friendly way to share moments and build memories.

The main YorkLive Stage on Parliament Street will be showcasing live music by talented local artists from afternoon to evenings, as curated by York’s Music Venue Network. The full YorkLive programme includes:

Saturday 2nd April – Live Music:

14:30 – Marnie Glum

15.30 – Pennine Suite

16.30 – Wounded Bear

17.30 – Flatcap Carnival

18.30 – Kitty VR

19.30 – HUGE

Sunday 3rd April – Live Music:

15.00 – Bargestra

16.00 – Floral Pattern

17.00 – Hyde Family Jam

18.00 – Trueman & The Indoor League

19.00 – Bull

20.00 – The Howl & The Hum

There’ll also be two dance flashmobs taking place on Sunday, courtesy of the Big City Flashmob and York Dance Space. Learn the choreography on the YorkLive stage at 12:00 on Sunday to be able to take part in either of the two flashmobs on Parliament Street at 12.45 or St Helen's Square at 13.30. There’s also a tutorial video to learn the moves here.

The main stage will be located on Parliament Street, with an open viewing area that holds a capacity of 500 people. The workshop and performance tent will be located at the end of Parliament Street, near St Sampson’s Square, and can hold up to 100 capacity. There will also be a covered stretch tent, which will hold a York Gin bar and seating area. The stretch tent holds a further 90 people, on a one-in-one-out policy.

YorkLife is organised by Make It York, with support from the City of York Council’s ARG funding - which aims to support businesses impacted by Covid-19. The programme of events for YorkLife has been curated with York residents in mind and to support the city's recovery from Covid.

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: “Our cultural sector is the life-blood of our communities. There is so much local talent in York, from musicians to comedians and poets to performers, which make our city so vibrant and unique. YorkLife is an excellent way to celebrate our home-grown musicians and performers, particularly after what have been a challenging few years for us all. I would encourage residents to join the festival and enjoy the best of York’s own local talent.”

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York said: “YorkLife is a celebration of local York talent and culture, from our street musicians to our local community groups. We want to really celebrate the sense of community in York and we’re encouraging residents to come join the party and see some of the hottest talent York has to offer.”

Chris Sherrington, Music Venue Co-Owner and a member of York Music Venue Network, said: “It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to showcase some of York’s amazingly talented artists who have developed their careers across the city of York’s many great grassroots music venues. As part of YorkLife weekend, we are looking forward to celebrating the return of live music to the city and enjoying the wonderful variety of music for one and all. This event has been a true cooperative effort of York’s event industry and creatives and we look forward to working on future events.”

This is a free event and there is no need to book tickets in advance.

Find out more about YorkLife Festival at #YorkLife

For more information, please contact:

Brittany Guymer

Communications Executive at Make It York

Notes to Editors

YorkLife is taking place on the 2nd – 3rd April between 11:00 and 21:00 on Parliament Street. This is a free open event organised by Make It York, with the support of City of York Council’s ARG funding.

About Make It York

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.

These are:

  • City positioning and profile-raising
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy