Monthly Archives: August 2014

Year in Review 2013-14 Part 3

Trying to condense a whole year of Theatre at York St John into one blog post isn’t easy, so we’ve condensed it into three! In this third and final year in review post we show a sample of the brilliant achievements our Theatre Students have made over the last academic year. We haven’t included everything but instead present a range of projects, events and achievements from the last academic year.

 Part 3 – Student Achievements

Juniper TheatreGraduating Student company Juniper Theatre present their work ‘The Wood between 2 Worlds’ at Deer Shed Festival in North Yorkshire. Starring graduating theatre students Lizzy Wynes, Johnny Curd & Mikhail Lim.

4th Annual Graduate Theatre Prize

Meander Indoors - Author/Arthur
Meander Indoors – Author/Arthur

York St John University and York Theatre Royal are delighted to announce the winner of the 2014 Graduate Theatre Prize: Meander Indoors for Arthur Author

(Meander Indoors are Jonny Curd, Kym Kitching, Ben Rosenfield, Elizabeth Whynes, Charlotte Goodland and Simon Bedwell.)

The prize is awarded each year to a final year student or student theatre company studying at York St John University. As well as recognising the excellence of work produced by YSJU theatre students, the prize also represents both organisations commitment to assisting creative individual in the post-graduation transition to professional arts practice.

The Prize is judged by a panel including the Artistic and Associate Directors of the Theatre Royal. The prize winners will receive a period of artistic mentoring at the York Theatre Royal and the opportunity to present work at a platform event hosted by the theatre in autumn 2014.

Associate Director Juliet Forster said, “The company have created a piece that is both original, theatrical and precise, high production values were shown throughout and they were clear winners. Damian Cruden and myself are looking forward to working with them and seeing how the piece can develop further.

This year, a runner-up prize has also been awarded to Jim Jams Theatre Company (Adam Waslin, Michaela Pascall and Alex Holderness), in recognition of their ambition to create high quality theatre for children. Jim Jams have also performed Little Red Riding Hood at the Deershed Festival, The York Pauline Quirke Academy, Park Grove and Lord Deramores primary schools.

Prison Partnership

final year students James Aconley and Melissa Mallin were employed on the Prison Partnership Project to deliver a summer programme of weekly drama and singing workshops with the residents at HMP Askham Grange.

Melissa Mallin was successful in her application to be the student researcher on the Prison Partnership Project.

Recent theatre graduate Lisa Thornton was successful in becoming the student intern on the Prison Partnership’s “On the Out” project working alongside lecturers Rachel Conlon and Jules Dorey Richmond.

Out Of Character

Out of Character
Out of Character

Out of Character perform with our students at the International Network Toward Alternatives and Recovery Conference, Liverpool, June 2014

99 Nauman, Recite, Loop, Shift

Students performing at York St Mary's Bruce Nauman exhibition
Students performing at York St Mary’s Bruce Nauman exhibition

Theatre Students Kirsty Wolf, Jess Chaney, Jonny Curd, James Norris, Charlotte Goodlad and Orlando Wind-Cowie wrote and composed 99 Nauman. Recite, Loop, Shift in collaboration with Dr. Claire Hind.

Taking the Artist Rooms’ Bruce Nauman exhibition as inspiration, 6 students (writers and performers) composed physical, written and spoken responses to the works on display at York St Mary’s with the specific task of thinking through some of Bruce Nauman’s forms and influences.

Year In Review 2013-14 Part 2

Trying to condense a whole year of Theatre at York St John into one blog post isn’t easy, so we’ve condensed it into three! In this second post we give examples of the amazing opportunities available to theatre students at York St John. We haven’t included everything but instead present a range of projects, events, stories and achievements from the last academic year.

Part 2 – Student Enhancement

 Field Trips

  • Level 1 Students visit Featherstone Castle for three days of site-specific devised work
  • Level 1 Students day trip to Scarborough as part of the Introduction to Performance Writing module
  • Level 2 Students visit Krakow Poland and visit Auschwitz Concentration Camp as part of the module Artist as Witness
  • Level 2 Students visit Matt Fraser performance at WYP and meet the artist afterward for a post-show conversation
  • Level 3 Students visit London for a three-day research trip to meet theatre companies and practitioners to interview. They also see as many performances as possible.

Performing House

Instant Dissidence – Caramel

Our in-house theatre Performing House shows touring work by emerging and established theatre artists.

  • Layla Cole & Aby Watson – Dust yourself off and try again & What a fanny
  • Atom-RThe Operature
  • Jules Dorey Richmond & David Richmond – Terrorists of the Heart
  • Instant DissidenceCaramel
  • Nathan Walker Sneck Stairs
  • Ridiculusmus – The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

 Visiting Artists:

Chicago-based artists and theatre makers Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey/ATOM-R were here in October for a workshop and performance with Level 2 Multimedia students and some other Level 2 and 3 students. You can see an example of their work with our students in the video above.

Artist Ella Finer and practitioner Ollie Smith work on contemporary text strategies with Level 1 Performance Writing students.

Mole Wetherell, director of theatre company Reckless Sleepers, worked with Level 3 Contemporary Theatre Project students

Artist and writer Claire Macdonald delivered a workshop for Level 2 students studying Texts, Scripts & Scores module.

Both Staff and students were fortunate enough to participate in a workshop renowned theatre makers Cardboard Citizens at York Theatre Royal.

Storyteller Shonaleigh performed at York St John University as part of Holocaust Memorial Day

Level 2 and level 3 applied theatre students had the opportunity to work with nationally acclaimed theatre companies Clean Break, Graeae and Cardboard Citizens within their modules.

Greaea in collaboration with the NYCC FUSE project provided a week long training programme to students working with SEN young people exploring Integrated Arts practice.

Cardboard Citizens delivered to students on the Level 2 ‘Schools’ module, training in the devising and delivery of Forum Theatre.

Pests -Royal Exchange Theatre, Clean Break & Royal Court Theatre Co-production of Pests by Vivienne Franzmann. Directed by Lucy Morrison. Cast Ellie Kendrick, Sinéad Matthews.
Pests -Royal Exchange Theatre, Clean Break & Royal Court Theatre Co-production of Pests by Vivienne Franzmann. Directed by Lucy Morrison. Cast Ellie Kendrick, Sinéad Matthews.

Clean Break Theatre offered the opportunity for Level 3 students to  participate in a 3-day residency as part of their prison engagement work around their nationally acclaimed play “Billy the Girl” in HMP Askham Grange. Students also went to the Manchester Royal Exchange to see their latest performance of Vivienne Franzman’s play “Pests”.

Students were also fortunate to work with theatre practitioners Jill Adamson and Stephen Burke, exploring accessible arts practice and devising for Theatre in Education.

York St John University - Performing outside St Williams College as part of the 2014 Mystery Plays
York St John University – Performing outside St Williams College as part of the 2014 Mystery Plays

York Mystery Plays – Directed and performed in YSJU’s Wagon Play Performance of The Woman taken in Adultery and the Raising of Lazarus, which involved undergraduate and postgraduate students and was performed on the streets of York on Sunday 13th and 20th July, as well as a special charity performance at YSJU on Friday 18th

This last semester we hosted Theatre Hullabaloo’s latest play ‘Tiny Treasures’ which was devised  after a research process with young carers, it was to launch their tour and to share their work with York City Council, teachers form York Schools and for young people who are young carers. This was a collaboration project between Theatre Hullabaloo, Inspired Youth and York Young Carers. Students were able to see the performance and attend the drama workshop and Q and A afterwards.

Level 2 students studying autobiographical work on the module ‘Performance of the Self’ were fortunate enough to work with visiting Performing House artists Layla Cole & Aby Watson.

‘Performance of the Self’ students also participated in a workshop delivered by the wonderful artist Adrian Howells.


Adrian Howells (1962-2014)

Adrian’s relationship with us at York St John University nearly spanned 10-years and over that period he has given most generously of his time and experience as a performance-maker who created work that often promoted intimacy, vulnerability, mutual nurturing and genuine exchange with an audience, most notably in a one-to-one, autobiographical, or confessional context.

For those of us who were lucky enough to work alongside Adrian, or were privileged to hear one of his artist’s talks here at YSJU, or simply chat with him over a coffee in the canteen, we can testify to his warmth, generosity and of course wicked sense of humour. It is extremely sad that he is no longer with us, he was a good friend and he will be sorely missed.

Year in Review 2013-14 – Part 1

Trying to condense a whole year of Theatre at York St John into one blog post isn’t easy, so we’ve condensed it into three! In the next three posts we will document the innovative and diverse theatre practices taking place both on and off campus. We haven’t included everything but instead present a range of projects, events and achievements from the last academic year.

Part 1 – Staff Research & Practice

Dr. Claire Hind

photograph by Krys Fox
Skip Shirey photograph by Krys Fox

The International Symposium Infinite Record, Archive Memory, Performance was hosted by York St John University and welcomed Berlin Based Artist Arnold Dreyblatt, Performer Sxip Shirey, Composer Trevor Wishart and academic Astrid Schmetterling.  Faculty of Arts MA students were involved in the technical running of the symposium and MA student Emily Rowan presented a sound installation over the 3 days to international guests.

An exhibition and presentation of York St John staff members was curated by Dr. Claire Hind. Dr. Matthew Reason and Dr. Justin McKeown delivered papers and Nathan Walker premiered his work the Action Score Generator. The conference also saw a presentation of ‘Dream Yards’ a walking tour by Gary Winters and Claire Hind which included Theatre student Jess Chaney.

Claire Hind & Gary Winters - Dream Yards
Claire Hind & Gary Winters – Dream Yards

Dream Yards has also been touring the UK’s studio theatres, playfully delving into the hidden worlds and narratives connected to iconic figures and fictional characters. The work premiered at York Theatre Royal and will go to Theatre in the Mill Bradford later in the year. Theatre graduate Richard Wade worked on this touring show as the stage manager.

Dr. Nick Rowe

Nick’s project Converge, which forms relationships between YSJ and local mental health service providers, was shortlisted for Times Higher Excellence and Innovation in the Arts Award.

Dr. Eirini Nedekopolou

Eirini has recently completed a collaborative project with KMA as part of Yorkshire Innovation Fund and there is a research outcome linked to it. This is related to the conference paper ‘Performing Participation into the Open Air. KMA’s Congregation’, delivered at Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, May 2014.

Eirini has also delivered her research ‘Re-routing Intermedial Participation: (Anti) Social Generosity in Six Acts’, at the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), Re-Routing Performance Conference, Institut del Teatre, Barcelona, Spain, July 2013, and

Eirini Co-convened the TaPRA Performance and New Technologies, University of Glasgow, September 2013 with the theme of Embodied Engagement: Participatory and Immersive Performance.

Eirini is also contributing a chapter on participation, digital art and public sphere to a book she is co-editing – Performance & Phenomenology: Traditions and Transformations, Routledge 2015.  

Jules Dorey Richmond & David Richmond

Jules Dorey Richmond & David Richmond – Terrorists of the Heart

As part of the Cultures of Memory Symposium 2013 Jules and David co-authored a paper Talking back the Y(t)ears – on their collaborative Theatre of Witness series of works with WW2 veterans, witnesses and survivors, which David presented at Syracuse University London. They also performed their autobiographical duet terrorists of the heart a meditation on parenthood, ageing, grief and loss, as well as a political manifesto with some Morris dancing, which was shown at York St John’s Performing House. Jules also exhibited her Memory Drawings, which explored the relationship between the feelings of a memory, mark making and repetition.

Jules and David are currently working on The Personal Archive Project, which is a paper, exhibition and catalogue document of personal objects and narratives, which chart their embedded lives together, which will premier at the forth coming Cultures of Memory Symposium 2014.

Jules and David are working on a chapter for a book:  The Self in Performance: Autobiographical, Self-Revelatory, & Auto-Ethnographic forms of Therapeutic Theatre.  Co-Editors:  Susana Pendzik, Renee Emunah, David Johnson. To be published in 2015.

David Richmond exhibited his photographs at City Screen to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, depicting his annual secular pilgrimage to Auschwitz and the subsequent work made with students on the Artist as Witness module.

Jules Dorey Richmond, along with Rachel Conlon conducted consultations with various local agencies and delivered a series of 12 taster workshops with 3 different groups in York: YACRO Women’s House; Changing Lives; and Blossoms at Life line, as part of On the Out – a project which places creativity at the centre of working with women on the fringes of the criminal justice system. Jules is currently working on a visual document of this project to be disseminated as part of the forthcoming I-CAN event at the Theatre Royal on narrative and criminal justice.

Professor Matthew Reason

Elusive Evidence – On 10th June Matthew Reason and Nick Rowe co-convened a symposium exploring how artists and researchers can document, measure and evaluate arts practice in social context. Ten invited speakers presented papers, along with staff from York St John University in theatre, fine art, music and dance.

International Centre for Arts and Narrative (ICAN) Run in collaboration between York St John University and York Theatre Royal, ICAN runs events, workshops and talks exploring narrative in and through the arts. This academic year ICAN ran four public talks on Narrative &… ( & food; & mental health; & adolescence; & alternative futures) and between January and July ran weekly workshops to schools, community and other groups. See

Storytelling and Adolescence – In September 2013, York St John University and York Theatre Royal received Arts and Humanities Research Council funding for a collaborative doctoral studentship on the theme of storytelling and adolescence. Cath Heinemeyer is now working on this project. You can visit Cath’s blog here

Nathan Walker

Nathan has presented his practice-led research in computer generated text and performance scores at Modular Form Symposium, Roehampton University, London and at TaPRA Performance and New Technologies, Royal Holloway, London. (forthcoming) This research discusses the context and history around his work the Action Score Generator which was presented at York St John as part of Infinite Record Conference, curated by Dr Claire Hind.

Nathan Walker by Marco Berardi
Nathan Walker by Marco Berardi

Nathan was commissioned to make a new large scale performance at Performance Space, London which resulted in new work NAPE a 6 hour durational install-action.

Nathan premiered the performance of a new play ‘SNECK STAIRS’ with artist Emma Bennett at York St John’s Performing House and also presented new writing at The Other Room, Manchester.

Rachel Conlon

Clean Break, Billy the Girl
Clean Break, Billy the Girl

Rachel launched The Prison Partnership Project in September 2013 and has provided theatre and fine arts students the opportunity to gain experience from working inside HMP Askham Grange. Clean Break’s play ‘Billy the Girl’ was performed at the launch and students and staff attended the performance in HMP Askham Grange. Run in collaboration with the nationally acclaimed theatre company Clean Break and HMP Askham Grange, the project was born out of the desire to provide a unique, creative partnership between education, the arts and the prison service. The project aims to give students the invaluable experience of working in the community and provides a real-world understanding of the impact of the arts within a criminal justice setting. The project aims to provide the women residents the opportunity to develop creative and life skills through the arts, in line with their resettlement plans approaching release into the community.

The partnership has just been awarded funding for the next year from the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioners Office to deliver three arts projects on a weekly basis in theatre, singing and fine art.

Rachel also secured funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Trust to deliver the ‘On the Out’ project with colleague Jules Dorey Richmond – working with women who have had an experience of the criminal justice system or who are in recovery and living in the wider York community. It had come to Rachel and Jules’ attention that there was no such provision in York for women post release to engage in an arts process. So following on from the arts delivery at HMP Askham Grange and after a wide consultation with service providers in York, the project began and has grown in strength working with the local organisations Changing Lives, Lifeline and YACRO.

Both projects offer the opportunity for two different kinds of communities to come together – university students and women, with the aim of participants coming together to engage in an arts process and gain understandings and encounters and to be part of a transformative learning experience that emphasises collaboration, dialogue and addresses issues of social concern.