THE Visionari, the community group set up by York Theatre Royal to help influence and shape future work, has programmed its first season of new theatre.

The Visionari Studio Discoveries programme will run in the 100-seat Studio from tomorrow evening until Saturday, embracing nine performances.

The group was recruited a year ago through a public appeal for people to become part of the theatre planning team and encourage new audiences.

Participants have since examined all aspects of the theatre, leading to this week’s festival of shows, launched with the appeal: "Whether you are new or regular theatregoers, we urge to you to give it a go!"

Theatre Royal associate producer John Tomlinson, who coordinates the group, says: "The Visionari has curated a brilliant week of work. 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, suggests John. "They’ve already started to make an impact on the decisions we make and have influenced our choices. Their 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, who want the same things as we do. There’s lots more to come, I’m sure!"

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

At 8pm tomorrow, York company White Tree Theatre presents Rachel Price's 40-minute play The Castaways, which 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 Wednesday at 7.45pm.

On Thursday, at 2.30pm, award-winning actor Michael Mears portrays a gallery of characters from conscientious objectors to Prime Ministers in This Evil Thing, based on the real-life stories of men who said "No" to war.

One hundred years on from the 1918 Armistice, Canary focuses on the stories of euphoric emancipation, forbidden friendships and anarchic dreams faced by Britain’s unsung war heroines, the Canary Girls, on Thursday at 8.15pm.

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, in Sid, on Friday at 7.45pm, as hero worship and reality clash, punk rock style.

In Pour And Serve on Friday and Saturday at 6pm, Caitlin Gleeson uses her own experiences of sexual harassment at work to show how "harmless" banter can have devastating effects.

This week's final show will be musician and theatre-maker Dom Coyote’s lyrical new solo piece We Can Time Travel, a story of adventure, hope and the urgency of living in the now, set to a backdrops of 1980s' synths and drum machines, on Saturday at 7.45pm.

Among The Visionari team are Tom Nightingale, 41, a member of the Out Of Character Theatre Company, who teaches improvisation theatre in Give It a Go, Joe classes at Tang Hall Smarts, and Joanne Rule, 64, a leadership coach, who was part of the ensemble cast for York Theatre Royal's suffragette play Everything Is Possible.

"It's been a privilege to be involved," says Tom. "There was a lot of talk at The Visionari about how do you get someone from, say, Bell Farm, to come to theatre, and I believe that The Welcome Revolution does that. That's the one I'm most passionate about this week.

"There's a tea party from 10am to 12 noon, inviting people who wouldn't normally come here to pop in and talk about theatre, and by the evening, FEAT. Theatre, from Hull, will have put a piece together from that."

This week's shows were chosen from more than 50 applications. "About 22 of us in the group were given all the proposals to read, and we did the whole process in eight weeks," says Joanne. "People were very good at getting beyond 'I like this' or 'I like that' to think more broadly. We split into little groups, feeding back to the bigger group, and you realise you have to value different opinions, especially as there was an embarrassment of riches."

Tickets cost £10 for each show; book for three or more and save 20 per cent. Box office: 01904 623568 or at