York Theatre Royal Presents Green Shoots

York Theatre Royal presents

Green Shoots

7 & 8 June, 7.30pm

New work commissioned by York Theatre Royal from dozens of professional artists – poets, performers, singers, dancers, digital artists – from York and North Yorkshire premieres in Green Shoots on 7 and 8 June.

This is a follow-up to Love Bites, the hugely-successful show that reopened the theatre following the lifting of restrictions in May 2021.

Green Shoots features new work in a variety of art forms from local professional artists centred around rebooting post-pandemic and looking to the future of the planet. The theatre has selected 20 commissions, offering £1,000 per commission plus £150 each time they are performed.

The theatre’s Creative Director Juliet Forster said: “Love Bites last year was a joyous event that will live long in my mind, not just because we were re-opening after 14 months of enforced closure, but also because our stage was filled to overflowing with the tremendous talent and ingenuity of local artists. It was moving, spectacular, surprising, thought-provoking and funny in equal measures. We have created this opportunity with Green Shoots because we are excited to see what they will do next.”

The commissions were asked to respond to the title Green Shoots in any way that can be interpreted – pieces might be about hope, recovery, new beginnings, revolution, new life, growth, the environment or anything else that can be imagined as a response.

Green Shoots will be performed on the main stage as part of the Rumours & Rebels season on June 7 and 8.

The line-up includes:

Hang On Little Tomato, Hayley Del Harrison. Hang On Little Tomato is about a young woman, growing her very first tomato plant. Some people believe that plants respond emotionally when you talk to them but our novice gardener takes this to the next level. Turns out the shared experience delivers mutual support, faithful companionship and that tiny bit of vibrancy they both needed to feel a little less alone. 

Spring in my step! Dora Rubinstein.This contortion and acro-dance piece is a physical exploration of how it feels when the sun shines again after a long winter. The feeling of sunlight of your skin, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sight of daffodils. The feeling that light, connection, joy is back, and the dark days are over.

All the World Is Green, Sam Bond. Lonely retirees Jamie and Clara meet by chance at a local concert in their Yorkshire Dales village, bringing love unexpectedly back into their lives. A story of new beginnings, All the World Is Green blends live performance and film to look at the power of memories, life after loss, and finding love again in old age.

Greenfingers, Fladam. Did you ever hear the tale of Greenfingers? The wicked boy born with unsightly green hands, who spoils all he touches. But has history misjudged the green-fingered boy? Is he even a boy at all? Find out in this deliciously Dahl-esq treat from madcap musical duo Fladam.

BOSS B***H, Bolshee. BOSS B***H explores the infamous statement made by influencer Molly-Mae Hague and celebrity nightmare Kim Kardashian that we all have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce. 5 minutes of female voices, beats and moves. Let’s challenge the toxic boss bitch narrative!

Tatu dances: stories of healers, Butshilo Nleya. A play with dances, songs, poetry about healing the mind, the body and the spirit celebrated by three generations of displaced, dejected, denigrated and defiant African healers. 

Green shoots, Ana Silverio (Terpsichoring). This solo dance piece is specially created for the Green Shoots commission. It explores the processes and emotions of starting over again after an unexpected interruption. This work is about perseverance and search for possibilities.

Her Face/My Face, Esther Irving. What do you do when you no longer recognise the face that looks back at you in the mirror? How can you re-connect the life you had with the one you live now?

Your Own Road, Gus Gowland. This original song takes its inspiration from a quote from James Herriot’s memoir All Creatures Great and Small “When all t’world goes one road, I go t’other.” Performed by Joe Douglass, the song is an uplifting and empowering anthem about following your own path and seeing hope in the world around you.

Stones on the Riverbed! Nettle Soup and Polychrome Studios. ‘Have you ever heard of the legend of the five white stones?’ Stones on the Riverbed is a piece of verbatim theatre, exploring what the residents of York are looking forward to in the future, unearthing their hearts’ truest desires.

Beanstalk, Paul Birch. For hundreds of years you have been telling the story of Jack and the Beanstalk completely wrong.  Beanstalk is the recently discovered true account of the tale told from the Giant’s point of view. Any similarities to any persons now living, lying, or misusing public funds is entirely coincidental. 

Don’t Mow, Let it Grow!’ Sam Conway (Little Leaf Theatre). This piece is all about the benefits of letting the grass in your garden grow throughout spring. Incorporating dance, music and video, Little Leaf Theatre endeavour to bring a serious message to the stage in a light-hearted and engaging way.

Baby Bird, Ella Portnoy. A monologue about breaking out of an egg and feeling new-born after lockdown – being a gosling and pottering around in the world, full of curiosity.

The Three Allotmenteers, Kate Bramley / Bad Apple Theatre. A curious late night game takes place at The Gardener’s Arms, as The Three Allotmenteers play for what was left after the sudden death of their friend. An unexpected discovery sows the seeds of a joyous outcome to their current situation….

Beckon, Robert Powell, Ben Pugh & Kitty Greenbrown. Beckon is a five-minute performance and film-poem. Drawing initial inspiration from a remarkable medieval church window in York, Beckon invites audiences on a brief but powerful journey through a landscape of shared memory, confusion, fear, and wonder towards a sense of hope. With a dramatic collage of spoken word, film and sound, it conjures both past and present times to address our current situation – a world at once treasured and threatened.

The Sapling! Libby Pearson & Emily Chattle. Sasha’s history has bonded her to nature in general and to trees in particular and knows that sometimes even the smallest of gestures can have the biggest of impacts. Meet Sasha as she tells her personal story of discovery and making a difference.

If there was ever anything worth hoping for then I hope, Alexander Wright. This is a story. It’s a short story. It’s only 5 minutes long. But it’s about loads of stuff. It’s about everyone, I guess. It’s about everything that got each of us to here and it’s about what we do next and, importantly, what we hope will happen after that. It’s just words, and a little bit of music. But it’s come from your yesterday, your week before, the years that got you here. And it’s about tomorrow, or next week, or next year. If you’re after a fresh start, they perhaps don’t exist. But tomorrow does, so let’s pin some of our hope on that, shall we?

The Ballad of Blea Wyke! Hannah Davies and Jack Woods. The Ballad of Blea Wyke takes the traditional selkie myth and reworks it for the Yorkshire East Coast. Set against the dramatic landscape of Ravenscar, it reimagines the ancient story of the seal-people, placing it in a world not too far off from our own, where cliffs are crumbling and some people have never seen the sea, despite the rising water levels.

Green Man! Joe Feeney. At the end of his tether witnessing the climate emergency’s destructive charge towards certain oblivion and feeling utter powerlessness, an ordinary man calls upon the mythical Green Man of yore to save the world.

Ocean/ Jura, Carey Simon. Presenting two poems with a backdrop of classical music. Ocean: focusing on the seething fury of mighty unabashed ocean, the passion and the volatility of its rolling motion that conceals its briny gloom – shrouded depths from frail eyes above. Jura: an elixir that transcends the bounds of the spirit – taste divide. Smoothness translucence overflowing the senses into something more. Deliciousness, a notion leading to Nirvana’s devotion.