THIRTY-six finalists are in the running for the 2017 York Culture Awards, to be held in the North Transept of York Minster on November 23.

Co-ordinated by Make It York, the awards first took place last year to celebrate excellence in the city’s arts and culture sector, and more than 70 entries were received this time for a panel of independent judges to whittle down to the shortlist.

The finalists for the Best Community Project or Event are York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre’s community play Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes, the York Community Choir Festival and the York River Art Market.

The Mount School, York, Park Grove Primary Academy and York Jazz Initiative have been selected for Excellence in Cultural Education; Riding Lights Theatre Company’s Acting Up! Youth Theatre, Out of Character Theatre Company and City of York Council’s Show Me That I Matter are in the running for the Excellence in Cultural Equality & Diversity award.

The Best Cultural Event or Festival has a final five of the Big City Read (Pat Barker’s Regeneration), the SLAP (Salacious Live Alternative Performance) Weekender Festival, York Early Music Festival, York Festival of Ideas and York Pride, and the Best Cultural Partnership will be a choice between pantomime producers Those Magic Beans & York Barbican, York St John University & the Illuminating York festival and York Theatre Royal & York Castle Museum.

The Excellence In Media Arts finalists are Bright White’s ColliderCase, Jake Attree, Robert Powell and Ben Pugh’s River Poems, Orillo Films’s The Flood and DC Labs and York Museums Trust’s VikingVR at the Yorkshire Museum. The Best Performing Artist award will go to one of alternative folk band Hyde Family Jam, folk guitarist Joshua Burnell or spoken-word poet Katie Greenbrown.

York Press:

Michael Lambourne as Nick Carraway in the Guild Of Misrule's The Great Gatsby, nominated for Best Production. Picture: Chris Mackins

Alex Wright and The Guild of Misrule’s The Great Gatsby, NE Musicals York’s Dr Dolittle and York Opera’s Turandot have been picked for Best Production and felt picture maker Bridget Bernadette Karn, illustrator Emily Sutton and experimental printmaker and video artist Susan Aldworth for Best Visual Artist.

The Excellence In Writing prize rests between The Boy Who Went Magic by A P Winter, Flying High! by Anneliese Emmans Dean and News From Nowhere by Jane Austin and the Rising Star award’s final three are York College Art & Design student mural artist David Law, illustrator and animator Herve Ishimwe Ntwali and musician and charity busking-event organiser Kitty Rowe. The York Cultural Champion will be revealed at the awards ceremony too.

York-born author Andrew Martin, this year's patron of the awards, said: "The shortlist shows the richness and diversity of talent in York. It throws a spotlight on so many of the city’s talented artists, makers and performers, and will, I hope, bring them to wider notice.

"Of course, they are all passionate about their particular field of work, but creativity needs recognition and encouragement to be sustained, and that is the real value of the York Culture Awards."

Jane Lady Gibson, chairman of Make It York, said: "It’s great to see the shortlist of fantastic organisations and productions which reminds us all what a brilliant cultural year we have had in York.

"This year I have had some truly memorable creative experiences and the York Culture Awards not only revisits those memories but rewards those individuals and communities who have made them happen.

"Producing this amount of rich cultural experience is thousands of hours of work from professionals and volunteers and the York Culture Awards recognises both the skills and hard graft. Only two years in, the Culture Awards are attracting a really wide range of organisations who are judged by the panel on a level playing field, which gives everyone in York the chance to shine."

York Minster will be making bespoke trophies from reclaimed 14th century timber from the South Transept, carved specially for the 12 winners. A special dance performance will be created for the ceremony  by York Youth Dance group, choreographed by Drew Wintie-Hawkins, director of York Dance Space at Tang Hall.

Winners of the awards will be chosen by an independent panel of Professor Chris Bailey, York St John University; Dr Fiona Thompson, York St John University; Colin Jackson, owner of Creative Learning Partnerships; Charles Hutchinson, arts editor of The Press; Dr Damian Murphy, reader in audio and music technology; Marcia Mackey, director of the Arts Barge Project; Roger Lee, director of York Festival Trust; Rose Kent, creative director of Accessible Arts & Media, and Tom Higham, creative director of York Mediale.