Big role for theatre at Coastival festival

THE Stephen Joseph Theatre is playing a big role in Coastival next month.

On Friday 18 February, Paper Birds Theatre will present Others at the theatre.

Based on a six-month exchange of letters and emails with a prisoner, a celebrity and an Iranian artist, Paper Birds offer a visual and political exploration of ‘other’ women, deconstructing the stories and voices of women from the East and West, from different sides of the television screen and different sides of the law.

Paper, pens and envelopes offer peepholes into strangers’ worlds where secrets, self-portraits and confessions are shared through a series of armchair interrogations.

Through live music, movement and verbatim text, the company attempt to represent three absent women and question if it is possible to better understand ‘other’ women or indeed ourselves.

On Saturday 19 February at 1pm, Beach Hut Theatre will perform the first part of a promenade performance (see separate piece) and two traditional dance workshops will be followed by an evening performance.

The first workshop, hosted by Black Adder Rapper and Step, will give an introduction to traditional clog-dancing steps with origins in the mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire. It will start at 2pm. 

Black Adder Rapper and Step have been known to break the rules of genre, dancing Irish to the hot beat of the samba and performing the world’s first Swan Lake in clogs. 

The second workshop, at 3.30pm, is on rapper sword dancing. It will be hosted by Black Swan Rapper who are based in York but practise in Leeds. They have won the Dancing England Rapper tournament several times and helped to cement rapper as one of the most popular folk dances in the country. 

The rapper is a fast traditional dance whose origins lie in a performance invented by miners from the pit villages of the northern coalfields. It involves five people connected by short, two-handled, flexible swords called rappers. The dancers form a chain and, without breaking the connection, perform rapid twists, turns, jumps and somersaults to live energetic music.

On Sunday 20 February the SJT will host Sounds of the Sands. This is a collaboration between York University Jazz Orchestra, rock band Everyone an Army and Dan Whinney and Ben Sullivan of Mum Locked in Castle, who have been working on this project for six months. The orchestra specialises in contemporary jazz and improvised music.

The performance will be an exciting fusion of musical styles commissioned for Coastival. Rock, acoustic, jazz and classical will meet in a series of collaborative compositions.

Two art exhibitions will run at the SJT throughout the weekend.

Time & Tide consists of 10 pieces inspired by Helen Birmingham’s recent move to North Yorkshire. Each piece is a compilation of 25 postcard-sized mixed-media artworks inspired by the town. The Coastival 365 Project is by local photographer Tony Bartholomew, who has been taking a photo every day during the year leading up to Coastival.