Sound, Light and Dance to transform Castle Gateway — York Mediale


Sound, Light and Dance to transform Castle Gateway

A trio of art commissions created by York-based creatives will provide a new perspective on the Castle Gateway area of the city this autumn.

The projects form part of City of York Council’s consultation on the city centre space, using sound, light and dance to reference the past whilst looking to the future of the iconic site. The project is funded through Leeds City Region Business Rates Pool, which allows local authorities to retain growth in business rates for local investment.

Sound, Light and Dance to transform Castle Gateway — York Mediale

An open call for York-based artists was put out earlier in the year, and an independent panel of local and national experts selected the best projects to receive part of a £40,000 fund to realise the ambitious plans, and use art to prompt further discussion about improving the Castle Gateway area.

The events will also offer unique insights into the future, with public and events space replacing Castle Car Park at the heart of plans to regenerate an area stretching from the Ouse to Fossgate. Out of a host of high-quality applications, three stood out for their unique – and very different – approaches to the project.

“We’ve had some remarkable applications, which really highlight the incredible bank of creative talent to be found within the city,” comments Tom Higham, Creative Director of York Mediale, and part of the team which has overseen the pitching process; York Mediale will continue to support each of the commissions to completion. “Each of the projects selected will have some aspect of free public performance and engage with a wider audience as they are put together. The projects will involve schools and historians to create engaging experiential artworks that explore the past of this key site, and offer some unique insights into what people think its future should, and could, hold.”

The first project will be an audio exploration and tour of the area led by Hannah Davies. Hannah is an exceptional and dynamic artist and theatre-maker, who used her unique skills to create an interactive Baba Yaga tour of Piccadilly Car Park during York Mediale 2018, and will apply similar skills – including 3D sound played through headphones attached to a mobile phone – to reflect the past and future of the site through poetry and spoken word. The tours will be launched in the autumn, but will remain available for at least 12 months, taking listeners to four key spots around the Castle Gateway area to experience the unusual soundtrack.

York Dance Space will produce the final interdisciplinary display, featuring dance, music, film and animation created by young people aged 13 to 25. The project will include a performance in Castle Car Park, with animated visuals on an LED screen, and atmospheric sound and specially-composed music played through headphones to the audience across two days.

“Once again, York’s creative community has produced some excellent projects. The plans for the Castle Gateway have been built on cutting-edge public engagement – understanding what such a historic and important part of the city means to residents and looking forward to what we’d all like to see there in the future. These events will build on this work, whilst showcasing York’s creative talent and the Castle Gateway’s exciting future.”

Councillor Darryl Smalley

City of York Council’s executive member for culture, leisure and communities

All of the projects will take place after the Rose Theatre has completed its run in the early autumn.

The first planning applications to unlock the Castle Car park will be submitted soon. To join the ongoing conversation which is happening in this important area of the city, visit, or follow My Castle Gateway on facebook or @mycastlgateway on twitter.