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News release - Issued by Make It York

York Culture Awards Competition is hotting up…

With just one month to go to the deadline for entries to the York Culture Awards, competition across York’s cultural sector is hotting up. Taking place on 23 November in the magnificent surroundings of the North Transept of York Minster, York Culture Awards have been created to celebrate excellence in the city’s arts and culture sector and recognise talent across the cultural sector. Entrants so far include:

Everything is Possible: The York Suffragettes. Co-produced by York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre
Entered for: Best Community Project or Event

Based on the true story of the York Suffragettes, it had a cast of 120 actors, 60-piece choir and tens of backstage volunteers, all of whom were from the York community. Over 7,000 people flocked to see the show.

York Community Choir Festival 2017
Entered for: Best Community Project or Event and Best Cultural Event or Festival

The Festival entailed 5 concerts involving 20 choirs (450 voices) and was seen by over 1,400 people of all ages. Choirs included everything from a professional standard 40+ York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir to a 12 strong, singing for fun, York Hospital Staff Choir.

Out of Character Theatre Company
Entered for: Excellence in Equality & Diversity

Out of Character is a theatre company making a positive difference to the lives of people who use mental health services in York. There are 19 members of the company, 14 of whom have experiences of mental health problems. The company performed “Objects of Terror” at York Theatre Royal this year.

Boxman Series One by Alex Willmott
Entered for: Excellence in Writing

Alex Willmott is an ex-York Press journalist and now an established fantasy and sci fi author who released Boxman Series One in December last year. It tells three explosive short stories spanning horror, sci fi as well as historical fiction and has been generating five star reviews on Amazon.

Jane, Lady Gibson, Chair, Make It York, said, “It’s brilliant to hear about the sometimes hidden success stories in York. Already, through these awards, we’re uncovering amazing creativity and talent in York. Our aim with these new awards is to celebrate and recognise the talent that is right here on our doorstep and I’m excited to see the list of finalists.”

Successful York-born Author, Andrew Martin is Patron for the 2017 York Culture Awards. And in this, the second annual celebration of culture in the city, there are twelve awards to be won, which will be compered by BBC Radio York’s Breakfast Presenter Kay Crewdson.

Martin said, “I’m thrilled to see such a wonderful variety of work being submitted. If you haven’t entered yet, I’d encourage anyone involved in the cultural sector in York to get involved. I was flattered to be asked to be Patron of the York Culture Awards. Most of my thirteen novels have been set in York and the city has had a big impact on my imagination and creativity. The city has given me so much and being Patron will enable me to give something back. York has such a strong sense of place and identity and its rich history is what makes it so very special. I’m also looking forward to discovering the budding novelists who are out there.”

Free to enter, there will be twelve Awards for the taking including; Best Community Project or Event, Excellence in Cultural Education, Excellence in Cultural Equality and Diversity, Best Cultural Event or Festival, Best Cultural Partnership, Excellence in Media Arts, Best Performing Artist, Best Production, Best Visual Artist, Excellence in Writing and Cultural Champion. Added to this a new award this year, Rising Star, will go to someone aged 18 or under and new to the sector who is already showing great promise for a career in their chosen field. Entries will be open until 29 September 2017 for cultural activity which has taken place between October 2016 and September 2017.

The Awards will be judged by an independent panel including, Roger Lee, Director, York Festival Trust, Professor Chris Bailey, Business School visiting Professor, York St John University, Dr Fiona Thompson, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Quality, York St John University, Colin Jackson, Owner, Creative Learning Partnerships, Charles Hutchinson, Arts Editor, The Press, Dr Damian Murphy, Reader in Audio and Music Technology, University of York, Marcia Mackey, Director, The Arts Barge Project, , Rose Kent, Creative Director, Accessible Arts & Media and Tom Higham, Creative Director, York Mediale. Entry Forms are live at


Notes to editors:

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. The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

In December 2015 York celebrated its one year anniversary of being designated a UNESCO City of Media Arts. York’s cultural landscape is changing and these new awards were launched a year ago to celebrate culture in the city in all its forms.

Andrew Martin
Martin, who was born and grew up in York, has written a dozen novels, most of which feature scenes set in York. His father worked for British Rail, in the office on Station Rise that is now The Grand Hotel and Spa and he is best known for his award winning series of nine novels about Jim Stringer, an Edwardian Railwayman.

From the third book in the series onwards, Jim is based at York railway station, and the following titles feature many York scenes: The Lost Luggage Porter, Death on a Branch Line, Murder at Deviation Junction and The Last Train to Scarborough. He is also the author of The Bobby Dazzlers, a stand-alone crime novel set in York. All of these are published by Faber and Faber. This month, Martin’s latest novel, Soot, published by Corsair (Little, Brown), is being launched and is set in York in 1799; a historical thriller that tells the story of the murder of a Silhouette painter.

The inaugural York Culture Awards attracted an audience of two hundred artists, musicians, makers and creators, all with one thing in common; a keen interest in celebrating excellence in the arts and cultural sector and committed to innovation, creativity and quality.

For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Corporate Communications – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554436