Culture on Campus

Calling all Culture Vultures! For all of you currently panicking about the prospect of spending three years devoid of impromptu poetry readings and absinthe induced performance art, fear not for there is plenty of contemporary culture to be found right here on campus.

If you’re lucky enough to be placed in old school university accommodation you may be surprised to learn that there are other benefits to living in the centre of campus besides the fact that you can literally roll out of bed and straight into a lecture. For one thing you need not even leave your bedroom in order to experience a bit of high class contemporary culture. It may not look like much, but believe it or not York’s concrete clad campus is a work of art in itself, its box like buildings and covered walkways a prime example of British Brutalist architecture. Pioneered by modernist architects Alison and Peter Smithson in the 1950s, Brutalist architecture derived its name from the French term for ‘raw concrete’ – coined by Swiss architectural giant Le Corbusier and not as some might think from the fact that it’s generally considered to be a bit of an eyesore. But while the campus architecture might be somewhat of an acquired taste, there is sure to be something at York to suit the cultural needs of everyone.

If and when you do decide to venture out of your room your first point of call has to be one of York’s many fantastic theatrical productions. Over 40 years since their first performance York Drama Society remains one of the most active student drama societies in the country. Based at ‘The Barn’, the society put on a different play for every week of term, in addition to which are free Open Drama Nights, also hosted on a weekly basis. Drama Soc also regularly take work outside of campus with successful productions at York Theatre Royal and the Edinburgh Fringe. Play applications are made at the end of each term and all cast auditions are open making York the perfect place for budding young thespians. In addition to all this, the society actively encourages student written work offering new playwrights the opportunity to stage their talents.

However if you are more interested in seeing and being seen than in treading the boards then why not get yourself on the guest list to one of the Norman Rea Gallery’s open evenings. The University’s art space is situated about the Courtyard Bar and regularly plays host to exciting and innovative exhibitions. Past shows have included work by Spanish textile artist Anna Chocola and Saatchi sensations Mark Davey and Candida Powell Williams. In addition to the main gallery is an outdoor exhibition space reserved for sculpture, both maintained by the student run Langwith Arts Committee.

Then again if a quiet evening in with some art house cinema is more your thing then you can always rely on York’s World Cinema Society to provide some intellectually challenging entertainment. For a small fee you can attend one of the society’s weekly showings of art house, independent and international film.

And when you have finished all that? Why not return to your Brutalist box for a well deserved rest and some trashy TV.

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