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Culture and entertainment

Whether you want to play, watch, listen or perform - there are lots of ways to enjoy culture on campus. You could spark a lifelong passion. Or you could have a once in a lifetime experience, like performing an opera, or taking a comedy sketch to Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Music

For music lovers there are students societies dedicated to playing and performing many genres of music:

Battle of the Bands - an annual student band competition.

If you'd prefer a less formal, non-audition ensemble, you could join one these groups:

You could also be part of the University Choir which performs every term in venues such as York Minster.

We also have regular live music and occasional club nights on campus including:

  • Jazz and folk nights at Vanbrugh College. It's also a venue for music lessons and workshops.
  • A varied programme of concerts from folk to classical in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall on campus.
  • Hes West Fest (formerly Woodstock) is an annual music festival on campus.
  • The Courtyard and The Glasshouse host our campus club night three times a term. Up The Racket at the Courtyard plays a mix of rock and roll, indie and Motown music, whilst Marmite at The Glasshouse is a cheesy pop night.
  • The Courtyard also hosts regular fun karaoke nights.

Fun fact: Jimmy Hendrix played a gig on campus in 1967! We've named 'Hendrix Hall' after him. If you come to an Open Day you'll probably have a talk in there.

The Carnabys performing on campus during Freshers Week 2015.

Student's performing in West Side Story with the Central Hall Music Society.

Drama, comedy and dance

There are lots of student societies dedicated to performance. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Central Hall Music Society is York's musical theatre society. They put on a massive show every year - previous spectacles include West Side Story, The Witches of Eastwick and Anything Goes.
  • The Drama Society produces two plays every week during term time, including well-known plays and original scripts written by students. They have a their own black box theatre, known as the Drama Barn.
  • Join the Comedy Society to perform improvised comedy, sketches, stand-up and panel shows. They've taken shows to Edinburgh Fringe Festival three years in a row!

Student performance of Alice in Wonderland.

Fun fact: Comedian Harry Enfield is a York graduate!

Arts

Express yourself or simply be inspired by the art on offer around campus:

  • The Norman Rea Art Gallery in Derwent College is run entirely by students. They showcase the art work of students and professional artists in exhibitions throughout the year.
  • The Art Society runs life drawing classes, workshops, holds termly exhibitions and trips to art galleries.
  • You can also get creative in our painting, printmaking and ceramics art studios on campus.

Dotted around campus you'll also spot various pieces of sculpture.

The Art History Society at the York City Art Gallery for their Christmas party.

  • Our annual Langwith Scott Awards celebrate the art of students, staff and members of the public.
  • The Creative Writing Society (also known as York Inklings) provide opportunities to write and share ideas.
  • You can also share your love of poetry with the Poetry Society - write your own or read the work of your favourite poet.

Fun fact: The sculpture out the back of Goodricke College is made from bits of the last steam train in York.

Cinema

York Student Cinema is a student-run cinema on campus that is open to everyone.

They usually show films at least three times a week during term time and it's the cheapest cinema in York at just £3 per ticket. They won 'Society of the year' at the 2014 YUSU Awards.

Fun fact: The cinema went fully digital in 2014 after a big fundraising campaign.