Theatres Trust Grant For Friargate Flood Protection

2016_TheatresTrust_logoWe are very pleased to announce that Friargate Theatre has been awarded £5000 by the Theatres Trust.

The grant has been made in response to the flood damage which took place during the Boxing Day flooding in York this winter. It will enable us to begin the essential work to flood-proof Friargate. This is a significant addition to money raised from our ongoing programme of fundraising events.

Friargate Theatre At NightWe are immensely grateful to the Theatres Trust for their award are delighted to be one of the five theatres awarded grants  in current round of funding from the Theatres Protection Small Grants Scheme.
Friargate Theatre was one of the casualties of the flooding in York in December 2015, with the lower end of the building flooded, immersing the lower ground floor. The planned flood prevention work involves the creation of two access traps in the office floor, installation of smart air bricks so the building can be fully dried out, as well as the purchase and installation of a permanent sump and pump, which will help protect the interior of the building against future flooding..

You can find out more about the Theatres Trust and the current round of grants on their website.



Coming up in 2015…

Looking at the ‘what’s on’ page of this website, January might appear to be a quiet month for us, but that’s not the case. The office here at Friargate is a hive of planning, plotting, and preparation (and maybe a smidge of cleaning up after Christmas). In particular we’ll be welcoming our new Roughshod company into the building to start devising and rehearsing their 2015 show IrRESISTible.

Still January is also the perfect time to tell you all about the projects that we’ve got lined up for the next year, so…

Here’s what we’re got in store for 2015


Inheritance: 26 Feb – 4 AprilINHERITANCE

A second tour for Bridget Foreman’s acclaimed Passion Play which places the events of Holy Week into the community where Jesus lived and the traditions with which he wrestled. In the shadow of the cross, Inheritance casts light on some of the women Jesus stands alongside, sharing in their suffering. Combining theatre and worship, the Church Times praised the play as “the Passion story in close-up: intense, intimate …a piece of perfection.” 

[more info about Inheritance here]


Roughshod IrRESISTable: 7 March – 1 AugRoughshod_Van-and-Tag-WEB

Touring to churches, schools, prisons (and many more places who’ll invite us) in 2015 Roughshod will be telling stories of hopes and hazards, asking ‘what does it cost to make a difference’? This year Roughshod have partnered with Open Doors, a charity which serves persecuted Christians worldwide, to create work in celebration of their 60th anniversary.

[more info about Roughshod here]


Living Stones 2015: 23 May – 31 MayLiving-Stones-WS

Perhaps one of the most special and unusual ways to visit the Holy Land, Living Stones is a pilgrimage with a unique dramatic ingredient offered by Riding Lights’ involvement. Wherever possible, actors travelling with the tour will recreate stories associated with the places we are visiting as well as other moments of impromptu performance. Join us and Lightline Pilgrimages for this very unique holiday.

[more info about Living Stones here]


Summer Theatre School: 25 July – 1 AugGYATFace

Once again we’ll be retuning to Queen Margaret’s School near York for a wonderful week of creativity and performance. We’re running three new courses this year, with the return of a writers course (Inside Story), the chance to expand your vocal skills and devise a brand new live ‘radio’ play (Free Speech) and, in co-operation with Springs Dance Company, a movement and dance course (Giant Leaps).

[more info about Summer School here]


Into the autumn…

Plans are currently being made for a brand new National Tour looking at ecological issues in the autumn (more on this soon), and we will finish the year with our usual family Christmas Shows, including a national tour of A Christmas Cracker after it delighted audiences in Yorkshire in 2014.

At Friargate Theatre

Don’t forget, we’ve also got a packed programme at Friargate Theatre here in York. Of particular note for spring 2015 are the performances as part of the York Literature Festival and the York International Shakespeare Festival. If you’re in the area, don’t forget to check out what we’ve got going on on the Friargate page of this website.

Exciting stuff, we hope you’ll agree. If you’d like to keep updated about everything which Riding Lights get up to, why not sign up to the mailing list.

Looking ahead to Autumn and beyond…

Origins & Lemons BinocularsThis time of year is always an exciting one in the Riding Lights office. Not only are preparations for Summer School at full speed, Roughshod have arrived home in York,  bringing a whole tour’s worth of energy and exciting stories back with them and into the building.

It also makes for one of the very few moments when we don’t have a company out on the road. It’s astonishing really, the end of July and August are the few months when we don’t have a show on the road. That’s only two months out of twelve when Riding Lights, in one form or another, aren’t touring! We do keep ourselves busy.

What’s more, the next 12 months are looking to be just as full, and booking for 2014/15 is well underway. Take a look…

  • Fantastic Acts!  (September to November 2014) 
    Autumn National Tour based on the book of Acts
  • A Christmas Cracker (November to December 2014)
    Yorkshire Christmas tour to  schools,  churches and arts centres
  • Goose Chase (November to December 2014)
    National Christmas tour to  schools,  churches and arts centre
  • Roughshod 2015 (February to July 2015)
    Regional tour working with churches and communities around the UK
  • Inheritance (February to April 2015)
    A Passion Play for Lent 2015, re-touring after a very successful 2014 run.

Would one of these shows be perfect for your community? We’re always looking for new venues or communities to perform in. If you’d like to know more take a look at our ‘host a show‘ page’, give us a call on 01904 655317, or email Bernadette on

Riding Lights Riding Bikes

KIPPA MATTHEWS - COPYRIGHT NOTICERiding Lights Theatre Company will be performing in York as part of the Grand Depart of the Tour De France.

Find us in King’s Square for such dramatised delights as The History of Le Tour De France, The Three Musketeers, and Henry 4 and a half. Plus our youth theatre will be making mayhem with their own moments of pedal powered pop-up theatre too.

All taking place on Sunday July 6th,  we’ll be starting late morning, after the pelaton has passed through the city centre.

Friargate Refreshments

As the Tour is whizzing right past the top of our street, Friargate Theatre will also be open throughout the day too – from 9am til 4pm. Our newly spruced up ground floor cafe-space will be providing refreshments to the crowds lining the streets of York. Disabled access toilets and baby changing facilities will also be available.

So, if you’re in the centre of York for Le Tour, we’d love for you to drop in and say ‘bonjour’.

Freedom Theatre’s Artistic Director denied UK visa – but the show goes on

Freedom TheatreWe have been looking forward with keen anticipation to the visit to Friargate Theatre by Nabil Al-Raee, Artistic Director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine, and are therefore very disappointed to hear that the British Government has refused his visa and not allowed him to travel to the UK on his speaking tour.

We are, however, very pleased that the event will still go ahead with Freedom Theatre actor, Ahmed Tobasi replacing Nabil as the main speaker. The refusal of Nabil’s application for a visa for a speaking tour to a welcoming audience across the country helps put in context some of the difficulties facing Freedom Theatre in their work.

The event at Friargate Theatre remains a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the work of this extraordinary company. You can find more info about the Freedom Theatre event at Friargate here.

You can read Freedom Theatre’s own statement about the Nabil’s visa on their website.

Some seriously FRENCH FRIes at Friargate

FRENCH_FRIes-Small-webRiding Lights are very excited to announce that, this summer, we’re part of the cultural festival celebrating the Tour de France as it sets off from Yorkshire.

Some might wonder whether Le Tour is making a rather large detour to find itself in the North of England, but not us. No, we’re brushing off our franglais, and providing a spot of Yorkshire hospitality for Le Tour with a series of French themed events here at Friargate… on a Friday. In short….

FRI 2 May – FRI 4 July

We’ve got music from Flossie Malavialle (French Folk with a Yorkshire twist) and King Courgette (not-so-French folk). Or if you prefer something quieter you can join Geoffrey Stevenson (without words) and Nigel Forde (without stabilisers) for an evening of mime and poetry. Plus our hilarious band of improvisers will be creating some ‘franglais’ chaos with Right Ici Right Maintenant.

But that’s not all, why not take a look at the full programme of our French FRIes events to whet your appetite. Which is rather appropriate as at each French FRIes evening we’ll be offering a nice crisp Bordeaux from our neighbours across La Manche, and added interval chips from Plonkers, our neighbours around the corner.

We’d love to see you at Friargate this summer for some seriously French fun.

Playboy of the Wide World

There’s nowt twixt a hero’s tale and an evil deed.

Playboy_of_the_Wide_World_promoimage_webA sleepy rural community is shaken by the arrival of a mysterious and dangerous young man. On the run for killing his own evil Father, the town hails him as a hero. The women want him, and men want to be him. The village and all it’s dubious riches are his for the taking.

And then his Father turns up, very much alive.

Bold as brass, big and brash; Hedgepig’s Playboy of the Wide World is a dark, wildly comic tale of rural folk and rural ways, heroes and villains, patricide and love. And goats.

Hedgepig Theatre have taken J.M. Synge’s original Playboy of the Western World, torn it apart and rebuilt it from the ground up, to their own twisted specification. Hedgepig’s new script has been developed alongside the cast’s own improvisations and experiences, giving each performance a truly unpredictable flavour.

This is Hedgepig Theatre’s biggest full production to date, following on from the critically acclaimed Miss JulieDouble Barrel 1 & 2 and Playhouse Creatures.

Friday 19th July – Sunday 21st July – 7.30pm, with an addition 2pm Saturday matinee
Tickets: £10.00/£8.00 (concessions)
Box Office: 01904 613000 or Book Online

(Please note there is a £1.50 per transaction charge if booking online. If you would like your tickets posted to you then there is a 50p charge to cover postage costs.)

Praise for Hedgepig Theatre:

Very rarely does a theatre group emerge with such a polished product as Hedgepig.” – One & Other Magazine (Miss Julie)

“Hedgepig are fantastic… fine and compelling storytelling” Love Leeds Radio (Double Barrel)

“Brashly humorous, provocative, even truculent, but intelligent.” York Press (Playhouse Creatures)

Magically intimate and involving.” – The Nouse (Miss Julie)

Adapted and Directed by Andy Curry – Based on the original play by J.M. Synge
Assistant Director Anna Rose James
Produced by Gemma Sharp
Costume design by Julia Smith
Lighting design by Kelli Zezulka
Music by Alexander King



Poe - Six Lips TheatreSix Lips Theatre

part of the Brighton Fringe Festival 2013

A celebration of one of the most revered yet slandered authors of early modern fiction.

The clock strikes thirteen as the floorboards pulsate, there is a scream from the crypt and something unusual is being dragged from inside the chimney breast.

Autumn falls on a decomposing nineteenth-century Europe, the smell of cabbage and the threat of the ticking pendulum bringing home the sense of desolation, while puppets join actors on stage to bring to life a menagerie of grotesque, intriguing characters.

An original script based on the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe. Set in a belfry amidst the clock cogs and cobwebs, William keeps the time in solitude, but on each foreboding chime of the clock a new unwanted visitor appears.

Informally adopted, massively criticised, spoiled and aggressively disciplined. The inventor of the detective fiction genre and re-inventor of science fiction, Edgar Allen Poe lived a tale not too far from those he penned, full of loss, rejection and mourning.

Help us celebrate the legacy of Poe’s works in gothic horror, by telling the story of one of the greatest storytellers of the modern era.

Friday 7th June – 7.30pm
Tickets: £8.00/£6.00 (concessions)
Box Office: 01904 613000 or Book Online

(Please note there is a £1.50 per transaction charge if booking online. If you would like your tickets posted to you then there is a 50p charge to cover postage costs.)

A Rather Damp Comparison

If you’ve had half an eye on the national news (or the sky) over the past two days you’ll know that we’ve had quite a lot of rain in York. With a theatre on the edge of the River Ouse this leaves us as something of a flood risk!

We narrowly avoided water in the office this morning by about 3 inches. A huge relief, but moving everything off the floor and onto desks was still a wise idea.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened:

In 2000 we did actually get water into the building. You can tell be the greater degree of concern of Graham’s face (Graham is the one in green trousers… I’m told Antony always looked concerned). In honour of this event we decided to recreate the photo.

And to give you an idea of the scale of York’s flooding, here’s a view back out from the entrance:

and end of the road:

Wanted: Youth Theatre and Education Assistants for 2012-13

Riding Lights Theatre Company is seeking volunteer Youth Theatre and Education Assistants for 2012-13. There are three periods available for this opportunity:

  • September to December 2012
  • January to April 2013
  • April to July 2013

We would be very happy to hear from people who would be interested in volunteering for one or more of these periods.

This is an ideal opportunity for anyone who is interested in working with young people in the theatre! It will involve acting as an Assistant to the Youth Theatre Director, and will offer experience in areas such as Youth Theatre rehearsals, workshop facilitating, stage management and administration.

We’ve had volunteer Youth Theatre Assistants for a number of years here at Friargate, and we love having them around. We asked Hannah Goudie, one of  2011 volunteers to tells us how she found the experience:

“Working as an Education Assistant for Riding Lights was a great opportunity. I really enjoyed the variety of the role, learning by actively being involved in the youth theatre sessions, as well as stage management, schools workshops and admin.

I particularly enjoyed the chance to work with a company that had Christianity at the centre and found the support of staff was fantastic.

The role offered great challenges to work with different ages and abilities in both youth theatre and school settings, which also provided a good range of experience for future work.”

The application process for this role will be subject to interview and an Enhanced CRB check.

For more information, please contact Jonty on 01904 655317, or send an email of enquiry to