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Theatres in York

York Theatre Royal

York Theatre Royal has been producing great drama in York for 275 years and is one of the country’s leading producing theatres. Each year the theatre entertains over 200,000 people with its wide variety of performances, events and activities including the much loved annual pantomime. In recent years, the theatre has had huge success in terms of number of attendees and various awards recognising their work for The Railway Children and the large scale production of the York Mystery Plays 2012 involving over 1,000 members of the community. The theatre reopened Friday 22 April 2016 following a £6million redevelopment, with a new roof, an extended and re-modelled front of house area, a refurbished and redecorated main auditorium and with major improvements to access and environmental impact. York Theatre Royal is now a building fit for a 21st century.

Grand Opera House

The Grand Opera House is a theatre in York, England. It is located on Clifford Street and Cumberland Street in the city centre.

The theatre is operated as part of the Ambassador Theatre Group. It plays host to touring productions of plays, musicals, opera and ballet, one-off performances by comedians, and other theatrical and musical events. The theatre has been designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage.

Joseph Rowntree Theatre

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre has been providing entertainment for York since 1935. Built by the Rowntree family for the entertainment of its chocolate factory workers, our art deco theatre is still used for its original purpose today. Free on site parking. Our theatre is run ENTIRELY by volunteers, from the charity trustees board, box office, the lights, sound, stage management to the front of house managers and stewards. We offer opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy and get involved with the theatre – in the audience, behind the scenes, on the stage or just as a passer-by to see our beautiful theatre venue. We want more people to experience the joy of theatre whether coming to our concerts, musicals, plays, etc or volunteering. Famous York actors David Bradley (Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films) and Ian Kelsey (Emmerdale, Casualty, Doctors) performed here in their early career. Come along to our shows and see tomorrow’s super stars in the making.

Friargate Theatre

Riding Lights moved into its first permanent home, Friargate Theatre in the heart of York, in 1999. It opened to the public in May 2000 with the company’s production of Ben Jonson’s classic satire, The Alchemist.

The building features a 100-seat studio theatre on the first floor, a ground-floor rehearsal room which doubles as a 50-seat cafe-style performance space, administration and workshop space, as well as a cafe-bar.

As well as being Riding Lights’ base for creating touring theatre, Friargate’s versatility means it functions as a film studio and small scale cinema space with state-of-the-art projection and sound system. Friargate is available to hire for your event – for more information contact Rachel Sanders at

Visit our Friargate What’s On page to find upcoming shows on at Friargate Theatre.

York Barbican

York Barbican is the largest entertainment venue in the area, attracting major touring concerts, comedy, sporting shows and corporate events. The venue hosts over 200 events and over 130,000 visitors each year. Ranking in the top 20 Music Club Venues in the UK in 2019 by Pollstar, York Barbican has hosted some of the biggest touring acts in the country, such as Ricky Gervais, Little Mix, Manic Street Preachers and Morrissey. York Barbican is operated by ASM Global, the world’s leading venue management and services company, connecting people through the power of live experiences.

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