The cast of the Flanagan Collectives Romeo and Juliet will meet on Wednesday 22 April in the

historical setting of St Olaves Church on Marygate, York to celebrate William Shakespeares birthday on Thursday 23 April. They will be joined by members of the cast of York Shakespeare Projects Timon of Athens and the University of York DramSocs Richard III. These productions are part of the first annual York International Shakespeare Festival which runs from 8 17 May. This is the first time an International Shakespeare Festival has taken place in the north of England.

Directed by Alexander Wright, produced by Brian Hook and performed by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Amie Burns Walker, Yoshika Colwell, Hannah Davies, Sarah Davies and Emma Ballantine, this contemporary production of Romeo and Juliet will be infused with live music, soaring harmonies and good, honest storytelling.

Director Alexander Wright said:

We are having a whole lot of fun in rehearsals – dancing, dressing up and learning capoeira. Its almost unimaginable that we are working on a play that is over 400 years old. The more we read and play with it, the more it feels like a play which was written for us – here and now.

Producer Brian Hook added:

We couldnt be happier to be premiering this production in York. It will, we hope, take us across the UK and a little further around the world too. But it feel absolutely right to be making the show her – in our home city as part of the York International Shakespeare Festival. We shall be raising a glass to Mr. Shakespeare on his birthday, you can be sure of that!

Romeo and Juliet will be performed within the stunning 15th century surroundings of St Olaves Church, following in the Flanagan Collective tradition of staging work in unusual and quirky venues. Their interpretation of A Christmas Carol has successfully filled public houses around the UK for the past three years and they brought Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis to the wonderfully ornate Council Chamber at the Guildhall, York.

York International Shakespeare Festival is brought about through an adventurous new partnership between York Theatre Royal, Parrabbola, and the University of York and takes place from 8 17 May at venues across York. With traditional retellings and original responses

from both local and international production companies, the festival will explore the impact of Shakespeare over four hundred years after his final play.

Romeo and Juliet will run from Thursday 7 to Saturday 23 May, tickets priced £18 to £14 (£1 transaction fee per booking).

Timon of Athens will run from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 May at 7.30pm with a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday and Sunday, tickets priced £12, £10 concessions (£1 transaction fee per booking) in the De Grey Rooms Ballroom.

Richard III takes place on Saturday 16 May at 5pm, tickets priced £6, £5 concessions (£1 transaction fee per booking) in the Guildhall Council Chambers.

Tickets for all productions are on sale now through the York Theatre Royal Box Office, either securely online at or by calling Box OfficeYork Theatre Royal Box on 01904 623568.