VISIONARI, the community group set up by York Theatre Royal to help influence and shape future work, has programmed its first season of Studio shows for the 2018 autumn season.

Visionari group members were recruited through a public appeal for people to become part of the theatre planning team and encourage new audiences.

Participants have been examining all aspects of the theatre since the group's formation a year ago. Now Visionari has put together a season under the title of Studio Discoveries with this appeal: "Whether you are new or regular theatregoers, we urge you to give it a go!"

John Tomlinson, Visionari coordinator and Theatre Royal associate producer, says: "We’ve got a really exciting season ahead in both our main house and the Studio’s more intimate space. As part of that, Visionari has curated a brilliant week of work in November.

"The group has been working with us since January with a series of workshops from our team across many departments. We watch shows together and we talk through the big question: how can we diversify our programme, audiences and participants?

“The group has surpassed all expectations by already starting to make an impact on the decisions we make and influencing our choices. The members' passion and commitment to sharing our big ambitions is fantastic. The way they selected the week in the Studio was brilliantly democratic and I’m really proud to work with the group, which wants the same things as we do. There’s lots more to come, I’m sure."

Visionari will have a say too in the selection of artists and companies for the Theatre Royal's IGNITE artist development programme. Over the next nine months, the theatre will invest £10,000 to help spark a new wave of artists making and showcasing theatre and performance in the city.

Visionari member Matthew Ingram says: “A year ago, we answered a call-out from York Theatre Royal. Nobody knew anyone [else who applied], but we all lived in York, all wanted to make our voice count and all wanted to welcome new people into the theatre.

"We’ve spent time learning and thinking, and now we’re showcasing pieces that we think best reflect our community, its biggest issues and its idea of a good night out. We’ve tried to choose something for everyone, but don’t take our word for it: we hope we’re better than Netflix."

The Visionari Studio Discoveries season opens on November 20 with The Welcome Revolution, a 6pm celebration of community that also offers ways to build connections. "The invitation is there to join Visionari for a cuppa and be part of this story," says Tomlinson..

On the same night at 8pm, The Castaways turns the international refugee crisis on its head with the story of Sam, a young mum from York, trying to protect her family and her home in a country on the brink of environmental devastation.

A slightly frazzled and careworn woman returns home after a nightmare party to scramble through life’s expectations, failures, reconciliations and pieces of IKEA furniture in Me, You And Godzilla Too on November 21 at 7.45pm.

Award-winning actor Michael Mears portrays a gallery of characters from conscientious objectors to Prime Ministers in This Evil Thing, based on the true stories of men who said "No" to war, on November 22 at 2.30pm. That evening, at 7.45pm, 100 years since the 1918 Armistice, Canary focuses on the stories of euphoric emancipation, forbidden friendships and anarchic dreams of Britain’s unsung war heroines, the Canary Girl munitions factory workforce.

In Pour And Serve, on November 23 and 24 (limited capacity) at 6pm, Caitlin Gleeson uses her own experiences of sexual harassment at work to show how "harmless" banter can have devastating effects. On November 23 at 7.45pm, hero worship and reality clash punk rock style as Dario Coates plays a young man at odds with everyone except his hero and brother-in-arms, the long-dead bassist of the Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious.

The last Visionari-curated show will be a lyrical new solo piece by musician and theatre-maker Dom Coyote on November 24 at 7.45pm. Set to a backdrop of 1980s' synths and drum machines, We Can Time Travel is a story of adventure, hope and the urgency of living in the now.

Tickets can be booked on 01904 623568, at or in person from the box office.

Charles Hutchinson