York Uni On Stage: 2013

If I had to choose a single word to describe our student theatre of 2013, it would have to be… varied. With the year’s performances laid out before me begging scrutiny, it really is striking just how much York’s drama community has managed to get done in a single year.

The Drama Barn alone has covered an impressive scope of performances, managing to include classic masterpieces, such as Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, as well as having the usual refreshing collection of youth-born plays such as Mungo Tatton-Brown’s Writer’s Circle and That Face by Polly Strenham. Reviews have ranged from gushing praise of “incredible, stand-out and absolutely fearless” performances to condemning scripts as “limited and simple”, but I truly believe that the undeniable scope of diversity sweetens the wonderfully unpredictable character of what lies beyond those well-known and beloved purple doors.

The danger in considering the year in terms of 2013 as opposed to the academic year is of course the change of faces on stage. Actors are evidently what makes or breaks a performance, but the consistent quality of DramaSoc performances survived the summer holidays with clear vigour. The blend of plays helps too. The Drama Barn’s character is what I believe solidifies its success, and I am sure that it will continue to do so into 2014.

It is of course also important to remember that The Drama Barn is not all that there is to our experiences of Stage at York. ComedySoc have had an absolutely roaring year; with shows from their annually packed Wentworth Comedy Festival, to joining forces with our Lancastrian foes for a light-hearted pre-Roses Comedy Jam, they have been consistently lauded as “astounding” and “outrageously funny”.

A performance most definitely worth noting would be that of their recent venture, Have I Got News for York, “a fairly seamless imitation of the show it’s based off” which provided an undeniably topical and “hilarious” fulfilment of the aim of “poking fun at the news as delivered by York’s Student Media”. The discussions ranged from “a more philosophical debate than perhaps had been intended” to Vision’s own “hard-hitting journalism” to deductions about “student prostitutes”, and so coupled with “intelligent and flawless direction throughout”, this was obviously made as one of ComedySoc’s clear successes.

Clearly, my comment on the year being varied is definitely not one to be taken in an at all pejorative sense: variation is the key to what is a wonderfully colourful and quality theatrical community at The University of York. 2013 has been an all-round success on stage, and there is absolutely nothing suggesting that that may change at any point in the future. As long as there is a demand for funny, intriguing, clever or light-hearted entertainment, our student performers are sure to deliver.