EAST will meet West in York next week with a spectacular celebration to mark the Chinese New Year, writes Helena Horton.

The University of York is linking up with students from York St John University and across the country to commemorate the Year of the Snake with a stunning gala.

The first half of the show will feature a competition between the colleges of the University of York, who will all put on a performance with the audience judging the best one.

In the second half, there will be performances by members of the university’s Chinese and Hong Kong societies and students from York St John University.

The performances, featuring some 1,200 people, will include traditional Chinese dancing, a Kung-fu show, musicians, singing, drama and comedy. Much of it will be performed in traditional Chinese dress.

The spectacle also forms part of the University of York’s calendar of 50th anniversary celebrations.

Tuyuan Cheng, acting president of the York Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), said the gala aimed to help the wider community understand more about traditional Chinese culture, as well as helping make overseas Chinese students feel at home.

He said: “This will be our biggest event ever, involving Chinese, international and UK students, and promises to provide a spectacular evening of song, dance and drama.

“We think this year’s event – our birthday present to the University of York – will provide a fantastic opportunity for the whole student and wider York communities to learn more about traditional Chinese culture.”

Mike Anstey, international officer at the University of York, said: “We have been preparing for this event for months, auditions are going well, and we are all really excited.

“This is the first time that the gala is really open to everyone, rather than just Chinese students, and we are getting people from universities all over the country to attend and participate in the event. So this should be massive. I hope lots of people come and celebrate with us.”

The event will be held at the Central Hall, on the University of York Heslington West campus, next Saturday, from 6.30pm to 10pm. Tickets can be bought from www.yusu.org and cost £10 and £5 for students.

Special guests will include Consul Fu Hengsheng and Wu Zhaosheng from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester, and members of the University of York’s senior management team including the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Jane Grenville.

• The Chinese New Year officially starts tomorrow.