York New Musical Festival

Page was last changed May 27th, 2015 @ 16:36:55

A short preview of the musicals being performed at this year’s festival………..


International Rock Star MJ Hibbett is pulled backwards in time to meet himself aged 14, played (in the role of a lifetime) by his friend Steve. He brings wondrous news of a future with girls instead of a nuclear war and advice on beer, but inadvertently changes time, forcing his younger self to confront his desire to be normal and, hopefully, make all the same mistakes again. Like the pair's previous shows this features songs, puppets, tap dancing, titting about, fundamental questions about the nature of causality, and Dad jokes.


Out Of Place opens in 1957 under the vivid blue skies of Catalonia. Wearing a white satin gown in a church surrounded by pine trees, Maria Salvans marries James, putting faith in their future together despite her family’s doubts. The young couple immigrate to Yorkshire to work at a grand house on the outskirts of Leeds. But Maria’s hopes of a better life turn to disappointment. England can be a cold and unwelcoming place, and the romance soon fades as her husband proves to be feckless and selfish, more interested in repairing cars than taking care of his growing family. Faced with betrayal by those around her, Maria calls upon her endurance and resourcefulness to raise her children and keep a roof over their heads, eventually finding a strength and independence that she would never have thought possible.


‘Spanish transvestite La Gitana escaped the dictatorship of Franco to become a star of variety in America. She transformed and brought to life Copla songs beyond Spanish borders’.

The Copla Musical is an original play developed through years of research and inspired by traditional Spanish Copla (folk) songs that have never yet seen the light of day outside of Spain and now takes form as a contemporary musical in English.

Copla was an actual genre of music repressed by Franco’s dictatorship and ultimately lost into history... until you see this story unfold. The musical, performed by an actor and a musician, presents an investigation that unravels the truth to this historical character of La Gitana as much as a process of self-discovery for the narrator. The production involves storytelling, audience interaction and La Gitana’s musical numbers.

DANUBE BLUES Vienna 1913. Freud, Trotsky, Alma Mahler and Oskar Kokoshka are sheltering from the snow. In the ensuing confusion, Freud and Trotsky agree reluctantly to swap places for a day to see each other's point of view. This has a dramatic effect on both men, as Freud finds himself editing readers letters on Pravda and Trotsky psychoanalyses two visitors - Oskar and another resident of Vienna at the time, called Adolf. Briefly they are in total unity. Then the Emperor Franz-Josef arrives...........

THE LADY JULIANA The Lady Juliana is a powerful story of human triumph in the face of adversity. Come aboard the British transport ship, The Lady Juliana, as she sails from England to the Australian colonies in 1789 carrying a cargo of incredibly resilient woman convicts. Deemed throwaways by their society, these women find friendship, unity and strength as a band of sisters that may be guilty, but are far from worthless!

BENEATH THE MASK Robert Catesby, mastermind of the 'gunpowder plot' is a committed catholic living in the tumultuous times of 17th century England where religion defines loyalty. A man of duty, brought up in the shadow of a rebellious father, he feels life has presented him with only a singular path to restore the 'proper faith' to England. Yet, with the protestant powers growing consistently stronger both nationally and within his own family he must decide between honour and happiness; ultimately questioning for whom does he act and why? York New Musical Festival is now in its third year and has attracted numerous musicals from across the UK and even from the USA.

The Festival Association is keen to establish and grow the festival in York in the hope that it will achieve national status in the years to come, adding to the other festivals that have become so well known and attract people to York from all over the UK and beyond.

In our first year we were delighted that a local York Company – Pick Me Up Theatre, agreed to stage an American musical, ‘Seasons’, by Elaine Pechacek which is now successfully touring in the United States and had its premiere here in York. We also premiered ‘Cindy Weller’, composed by Dunnington resident Mike Rogerson, which drew great support from the local villagers. Finally a local composer, Rob Winlow, premiered his musical ‘Armada’. Our first festival premiered 7 musicals.

Last year a Leeds based Company – Cardona Productions agreed to stage ‘Kelpie’, a musical written by a UK citizen, currently living in Hongkong. We also presented 2 musicals, written by local composers, ‘Austen’ and a musical version of ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’. York University also premiered ‘Backfire’ written and performed by the students.

This year we have 6 new musicals. Elaine is returning from the USA with ‘The Lady Juliana’ and has add to her American cast with singers from York. Local Student Jessica Burgess is presenting ‘Beneath The Mask’. Out Of place is based on the experiences of a couple from Catalonia moving to Leeds in the ‘60’s, again with a local cast and production team. ‘Hey, Hey 16K’ is a new musical by MJ Hibbett, who brought us ‘Total Hero Team’ last year.

The festival is committed to help aspiring composers to showcase their work in York and we are encouraged by the wide range of musicals and musical talent the festival has attracted.

We have also decided to make the Upstage Centre the venue for our festival as we believe the Upstage Centre Youth Theatre deserves local support for the great work it does with young people in all aspects of theatre.

The launch of the festival on Friday 29 May will comprise the Upstage Centre Youth Theatre version of The Wizard Of Oz, incorporating as they travel the Yellow Brick Road extracts from some of the musicals in the festival, a novel and innovative idea so typical of our friends at Upstage.