Slapping the City Awake: SLAP Festival

8th February 2019


Flaunting a bold assortment of dance, theatre, live art and cabaret performances from a cohort of distinguished local, national and international artists, SLAP presents four days of distinctive performance and dance in an eclectic range of venues across York. Events taking place from 20-23 of February see a selection of diverse workshops which are open to all; unique dance and theatre works, 1-to-1 performance, a large scale community dance project and a final knees-up at The Crescent Community Venue hosting bold queer cabaret performances. SLAP believes income should not be a barrier to accessing performance and therefore we have made all events as part of the festival either free or pay-what-you-can.

SLAP co-founder and director Sophie Unwin says: “We are really excited to have the opportunity to programme such a variety of celebrated artists; most of whom have never performed here in York. We continue to offer a daring alternative to the City of York’s current cultural offering whilst also ensuring there is something in the programme for everyone. From workshops, family friendly performance, a community dance project (which you can get involved in), and lots of dance, theatre and live art- journeying through themes of queerness, zombies, millennials and their predecessors, masculinity, connection and more…

After a series of successful pop up events in the city we are very proud that the SLAP Festival is our most ambitious and exciting project yet. This project has enabled us to work in partnership with York Theatre Royal programming work into the studio theatre. Additionally, this event has enabled us to work with SPARK York and York St John University, offering their students an opportunity perform as part of the festival in the brand new YSJ Spark Community Venue. We are delighted to be bringing work to York, finding and building new audiences for unusual work and contributing to the developing cultural landscape of the city.”

SLAP co-founder and director Lydia Cottrell says: “Being artist-led, our main aims are to provide a supportive environment for artists to create new work. Our main aim for audiences is for them to experience new contemporary performance in an accessible and non-exclusionary way. A big part of our ethos is that art is for everyone and we want everyone to feel welcome during all of our events. We have worked very hard to ensure that SLAP provides a safe environment and is a great opportunity to experience live art for the first time. We are also very excited that we will be presenting tow works that will have BSL interpretation and two works that will be captioned. All of the venues that we have selected have either flat or ramped access from the street, have elevators and accessible bathrooms.”

Some of the SLAP Festival Highlights:

Fat Girl Singing SLAP

Fat Girl Singing - Thursday 21 Feb - 7pm York Theatre Royal - A funny, uplifting and compelling solo show for those who have ever felt that their body is up for debate.

Looks Like God SLAP

Looks like God - Friday 22 Feb - 8pm John Cooper Studio - An opportunity to spend the evening with a zombie.

Mesmerist SLAP

The Mesmerist - Saturday 23 Feb - 11am York Theatre Royal – A new contemporary dance work for young audiences and their families, that explores the importance of friendship.


DRYHUMP - Saturday 23 Feb - 8pm The Crescent - the perfect blend of amusement, carnage and lots of dancing. Showcasing a range of performance acts, music and games.

For more information on the festival and to book tickets, click below.

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