WELCOME to SLAP Weekender, three days of progressive performances and dance in a variety of spaces and venues in York, the Theatre Royal Studio among them.

SLAP stands for Salacious Live Alternative Performance, a new strand of programming for York audiences that will present regional and nationally acclaimed artists whose work is bold, touching, personal and political.

Running from today to Saturday, SLAP will showcase fearless performance for and with older women with a public exhibition in the streets of York; a series of dance and theatre works at the Theatre Royal and York St John University; a performance on a public bench and bold queer cabaret performances at The Crescent Community Venue.

The event is being co-ordinated by dancers and performers Sophie Unwin and Lydia Cottrell, originally from Doncaster and York respectively, who graduated from York St John University in 2011 and still live and work in the city.

SLAP co-founder and co-director Sophie says: "The SLAP Weekender is a performance event offering a daring and left-field alternative to the City of York’s current cultural offering, and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to programme celebrated artists from across the country; most of whom have never performed here in York.”

SLAP started in 2013 with the vision of bringing fascinating performers from around the world to York, while creating a performance platform for the city’s own cohort of talented and idiosyncratic artists.

After a series of pop-up events in York, the SLAP Weekender is the most ambitious project yet, not least working for the first time in partnership with York Theatre Royal, programming work into the Studio and collaborating with associate producer John Tomlinson.

The event has enabled SLAP to work with York St John University too, both as a venue and sponsor, offering their students an opportunity to see contemporary national performance work on their doorstep.

York Press:

Luca Rutherford in Learning How To Die at the SLAP Weekender

Funding for SLAP has come from Arts Council England, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation as well as York St John, enabling SLAP to open up new collaborative possibilities with venues and organisations across the City of York. "We're delighted to be bringing work to the city, finding and building new audiences for unusual work and contributing to the developing cultural landscape of the city," says Sophie.

Why mount the SLAP Weekender in York? "When we've toured and made work in different cities and experienced lots of underground scenes that were prevalent in other places, we felt rather jealous that we didn't have the possibility of seeing such shows in York, so we wanted to shake things up here," says Sophie.

"We thought really hard about what we should programme with York in mind, being mindful of what's already programmed in York, so we've decided to put on really hot topical work that highlights issues but also is really accessible," says Lydia. "It's work that might be small in size but big in significance.

"Often that work is the most interesting and mindblowing but is also the least often presented because theatres feel they can't take the risk, but with our event, we can present that work in the city."

In the Theatre Royal Studio, Third Angel presents 600 People tonight at 7.45pm; Pauline Mayers, What If I Told You?, tomorrow, 5pm; ARC Stockton, Learning How To Die, written and performed by Luca Rutherford, Saturday, 2pm, and Massive Owl, Castle Rock, Saturday, 6.30pm. Tickets are on sale on 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

SLAP around the city opens with GRACE's Old Wives' Tales in the city centre today from 4.30pm to 6.30pm; Live Art Bistro's Dryhump, at The Crescent; Non Existent Activity, with Hamish McPherson and Paul Hughes, York St John University, Saturday, 3pm to 6pm; Rhiannon Armstrong's Everything You Ever Wanted To Say But Didn’t Part 1, York St John University, Saturday, 3pm to 6pm; and Christopher Owen's show In The Shadow Of The Penis: Christopher Owen, York St John University, Saturday, 4pm (free, booking essential).

SLAP Weekender runs at York Theatre Royal Studio and around the city of York from today to Saturday. For further information on SLAP and to book tickets for the shows around the city, go to slapyork.co.uk.