THE finalists in the 2018 York Culture Awards are revealed today, in readiness for the awards ceremony at York Theatre Royal on November 19.

Now in their third year, the awards were created to celebrate excellence in the city’s arts and culture sector and to reward outstanding innovation, creativity and quality. From 110 entries and nominations this year, the panel of independent judges has whittled this record number down to 55 finalists.

The Outstanding Community Arts Project finalists are Biggest Ever Cake & A Cuppa; Dot Day Across Borders; Explore Labs; Fulford Rocks and the 2018 York Mystery Plays. In the final four for Inspirational Teacher are Alison Forster; April Green; Ian Chalk and Roger Ward.

Competing for Excellence in Cultural Equality and Diversity are Access All Areas; Flattered Collective; Sitters and Their Stories at the National Trust's Beningbrough Hall and Out Of Character Theatre Company.

The final four for Outstanding Cultural Festival (Small) are art&York; Bloom! Mini-Flower Festival;TakeOver Festival and York Early Music Festival, while the Outstanding Cultural Festival (Large) winner will emerge from Future Engineers; the Great Yorkshire Fringe; York Balloon Fiesta and York Festival of Ideas.

The Outstanding Cultural Collaboration finalists are Shakespeare's Rose Theatre and York Theatre Royal; York Arts Education and Explore York; York Museums Trust and The Civic and York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre and York Castle Museum.

The Excellence in Media Arts winner will come from Engineering The Now, Northern Lights and Yorkshire's Jurassic World; the Outstanding Performing Artist, from Chechelele World Music Choir, Ella Dunlop in The Secret Garden and Dracula, Frankenstein's Creature and Satan actor James Swanton; the Outstanding Live Performance, from Say Owt Slam: Clash of Champions; The Howl & The Hum at the Fulford Arms, York; The Secret Garden at York Theatre Royal and York Music Forum Youth Jazz Orchestra.

In the running for Outstanding Busker are Charlie Swainston; Hyde Family Jam; Rachel Croft; Sam Howarth and Simon May, and the Outstanding Visual Artist finalists are Charlotte Graham; Jelena Lunge; Lauren Roberts and Sue Clayton.

The Excellence in Writing final three are Oz Hardwick, Pauline Kirk and Robert Powell. The Rising Star award rests between Eva Tankova; Fran Christie; Joe Lamyman and Ralph Shuttleworth. The Best Cultural Experience contenders are Cabaret Of Dreams, Shakespeare's Rose Theatre and The Secret Garden. The 2018 Cultural Champion will be revealed on the night.

Award-winning York filmmaker Mark Herman, director of Brassed Off, Little Voice and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, is patron of the awards this year. "The list of finalists shows just what an exciting and hugely diverse range of talent there is in this city, and I wish everyone on it the very best of luck on the night,” he said.

Jane Lady Gibson, chair of the award organisers, Make It York, said: "The third year of the York Culture Awards has seen us reach the highest number of finalists to date and we are so pleased to have the chance to showcase even more wonderful work taking place in the city.

"We have a hugely talented and creative cultural scene and this is a great opportunity to celebrate all those individuals and businesses who make such a valuable contribution to it."

The award winners will be chosen by an independent panel including Kit Monkman, film director; Cherie Federico, editor, Aesthetica magazine; Chris Bailey, chair, York @ Large; Chris Sherrington, owner, Fulford Arms; Dr Damian Murphy, reader in audio and music technology, University of York, Dr Fiona Thompson, deputy vice chancellor for learning and teaching, York St John University; Gill Greaves, relationship manager, Museums, Yorkshire, Arts Council England; Griselda Goldsbrough, art and design development manager, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Jericho Keys, presenter, BBC Radio York; Lotte Inch, owner, Lotte Inch Gallery; Lynne Minett, head of learning and events, National Railway Museum; Rob O'Connor, festival director, York Literature Festival 2018; Rose Kent, creative director, Accessible Arts and Media, and Charles Hutchinson, arts editor, The Press, York.