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York Theatre Royal is proud to announce its residency at the National Railway Museum has received an Exceptional Award from Arts Council England. The news follows the theatre once again becoming a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England last year. The award aims to respond to new ideas that come from the arts sector, that do not already fit into an organisation’s existing plans.

York Theatre Royal applied for the award as part of plans to take work to the National Railway Museum during the theatre’s closure for re-development. This award enhances activity already taking place such as the large-scale community theatre project In Fog and Falling Snow and the re-staging of the Olivier Award winning show The Railway Children, allowing these projects to form part of an ambitious residency at the museum for the theatre; enabling staff from both organisations to work more closely together.

For a theatre and a museum to work together in this way is quite revolutionary and we’re so pleased that Arts Council England has decided to support the project.

said Damian Cruden, Artistic Director at York Theatre Royal.

A blueprint document outlining the process of the collaboration and sharing lessons learnt along the way will be created for use by other organisations within the arts sector. It is hoped this document will enable and encourage other national and regional museums and theatres to work together. Key to the aims of the collaboration is for both organisations to benefit from the collation of research into how and why people choose to engage with projects running during the residency, or to come and see a production on during this time. This will then be used to inform future projects and collaborations at both institutions.

The funding allows the Creative Engagement and Learning teams from both organisations to work together on more projects too, creating new exciting activities for children and young people that utilise the skills of both teams to develop new practise. This includes two immersive theatre projects about World War I and the Orient Express, writers in residence creating work especially for young people, digital projects and York Theatre Royal bringing their highly acclaimed TakeOver Festival to the museum.

Jim Lowe, Head of Operations at the National Railway Museum said:

Having the York Theatre Royal take up residency here at the museum is hugely exciting. We have worked well and successfully in the past and are now looking forward to delivering the same high quality production of The Railway Children from July 2015. Having this residency will form an extra strong partnership and we’re looking forward to all that it offers.

As part of the community theatre project – for which over 500 residents of York and surrounding areas have volunteered – the National Railway Museum already play host to the various groups of volunteers such as photography and promotion groups. Since the theatre’s closure for development earlier this year they have also provided space for the York Theatre Royal youth theatre, one of the largest in the country.

The York Theatre Royal, National Railway Museum and Pilot Theatre co-production is a piece of new theatre from Mike Kenny and Bridget Foreman called In Fog and Falling Snow bought to life by the people of York. Directed by Damian Cruden, Juliet Forster and Katie Posner and told by a cast of over 200, audiences will move through the National Railway Museum’s collections and end up in the new purpose built Signal Box Theatre, telling the story of George Hudson, the disgraced entrepreneur who changed the face of railway travel.

Following E Nesbit’s The Railway Children which runs from 31st July to 5 September 2015 at the museum, there will be a third collaborative project taking place, after the theatre has re-opened, with the aim of creating a sustainable partnership between the two attractions.

Tickets for both The Railway Children and In Fog and Falling Snow are available from York Theatre Royal’s  Box Office in De Grey Rooms on St Leonards Place or on 01904 623568 or can be booked securely online at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.