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Here they are – York’s first all-conquering culture champions.

The best in film, art, writing, performance, education and events were celebrated at the first York Culture Awards on Thursday night.

Hosted by BBC Radio York breakfast presenter Georgey Spanswick at the Central Methodist Church on St Saviourgate, the ceremony was a resounding success.

BBC Radio York's Georgey Spanswick talks to culture award patron, actor Mark Addy
BBC Radio York’s Georgey Spanswick talks to culture award patron, actor Mark Addy

Set up by Make It York the York Culture Awards celebrate excellence in the arts and cultural sector and reward outstanding innovation, creativity and quality. Its famous patron is Mark Addy, the York actor best known for roles in The Full Monty and Game Of Thrones.

More than 120 entries were received for the awards and the panel of independent judges chose 11 winners out of the 32 finalists.

So who won? *Drumroll* The winners are…

Cultural partnership – Vespertine

The NCEM as you've never experienced it
The NCEM as you’ve never experienced it

Launched in May 2015, emerging from a partnership established by York@Large, York Theatre Royal and Make it York and led by York Archaeological Trust, Vespertine is a series of 18 monthly art events. Its aim is to stimulate the early evening economy and is a partnership between 20 cultural organisations.

Community Project or Event – New Visuality

Recreating the twitterstorm – Greg McGee. Photograph: Ben Bentley
Recreating the twitterstorm – Greg McGee. Photograph: Ben Bentley
Tower Street gallery According To McGee straddled the worlds of analogue and digital with the art exhibition Text: Technology, Disability, and Art in late 2015. Curated via the gallery’s charitable arm, New Visuality, Text showcased posters of tweets and slogans written by the public and learners with disabilities at the Blueberry Academy.

Cultural Education – Fulford School

Photograph: Fulford School
Photograph: Fulford School
Fulford School has a strong record in the arts, particularly in extracurricular practice. The school stages regular productions and has an active music academy, which encompasses evening tuition and an extended curriculum offer that engages and inspires a range of students.

Cultural Equality and Diversity – Accessible Arts and Media

Accessible Arts & Media is a charity which create arts, digital media and training programmes that are tailored to the needs and aspirations of the people we work with. The award was for the IMPs Project, which brings together disabled and non-disabled children and young people as equals. All IMPs members get the chance to make music, develop new skills and build confidence and mutual understanding.

Cultural Event or Festival – TakeOver Festival

Dinosaur Park, the Jurassic parody by Superbolt Theatre was on the TakeOver York programme in 2016
Dinosaur Park, the Jurassic parody by Superbolt Theatre was on the TakeOver York programme in 2016
TakeOver 2015/16 was a multi-arts festival coordinated entirely by 12 to 26-year-olds across York. TakeOver’s return to York Theatre Royal in July 2016 represented young people’s desire for a voice in society; with the programme addressing issues from racism to homelessness.

Film – We Are Only Human

We Are Only Human by Catherine Mason is a series of webisodes or short films aimed at the online market, and helping to open people’s eyes to the different ways in which movement helps people to ‘escape’ their possibly mundane lives and recreate themselves. Through the use of coloured powder paint during their performances, the film-maker wanted to show expressionism and freedom.

Performing Artist/s – Mad Alice

You don't have to be mad to work here… well, you do actually. Alicia Stabler as Mad Alice
You don’t have to be mad to work here… well, you do actually. Alicia Stabler as Mad Alice
Alicia Stabler assumes the guise of Mad Alice for The Bloody Tour of York. Alicia began acting in 2006 having had no formal theatre training and took on work as an actor at The York Dungeon. In 2013, Alicia decided to brave the streets in an entertaining and historical fashion and became Mad Alice, a wench leading visitors around the streets of York on a weekly basis throughout the year.

Production – York Minster Mystery Plays

Good takes on evil in the York Minster Mystery Plays. Photograph: Duncan Lomax
Good takes on evil in the York Minster Mystery Plays. Photograph: Duncan Lomax
Summer 2016 saw York Minster transformed into a vast auditorium as the Mystery Plays returned to its spiritual home. True to traditional it was essentially a community production, featuring just one paid actor working alongside a vast army of Mystery Makers. Over the course of the five-week run they played to over 26,000 people and won critical acclaim.

Visual Artist – Emily Harvey, York Panorama

A section of the York Panorama. Photograph: York Explore
A section of the York Panorama. Photograph: York Explore
Commissioned by York Explore Libraries and Archives, York Panorama by Emily Harvey is a coloured textured panel made from plaster. The design is laid out as an ancient stone wall, inspired by the city walls. The stone blocks contain images illustrating aspects of everyday life in York today, as well as an impression of the life of the city continuing from the earliest inhabitants and on into the future.

Writer – Carole Bromley, The Stonegate Devil

Carole Bromley reading at the YorkMix poetry prize night in 2014
Carole Bromley reading at the YorkMix poetry prize night in 2014
The Stonegate Devil is Carole Bromley’s second collection. The book has a strong York flavour and explores local places and the stories associated with them as well as the poet’s Yorkshire childhood, coming of age and relationships. This remarkable collection demonstrates Carole Bromley’s widely acknowledged mastery of her craft and a wide variety of poetic forms.

Cultural Champion – Rose Kent

Cultural champion Rose Kent of Accessible Arts and Media. Photograph: Sam Atkins
Cultural champion Rose Kent of Accessible Arts and Media. Photograph: Sam Atkins
Rose Kent is the managing and creative director of Accessible Arts and Media. Judges commended Rose for being an inspiration, not just to the cultural sector but to officials working in health and social services. She is energetic in her support for Tang Hall Big Local and in promoting culture and wellbeing in York. Accessible Arts and Media has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people, many of them vulnerable or experiencing physical or mental challenges.

A fantastic evening

Jane Lady Gibson, chair of Make It York, and awards patron Mark Addy
Jane Lady Gibson, chair of Make It York, and awards patron Mark Addy

Film and TV Mark Addy is official patron for the York Culture Awards. He said: “It’s been a fantastic evening.

“Tonight just goes to show what can be achieved when people get together to make things happen. The energy and creativity in the room has been electric.”

In her speech Jane Lady Gibson, chair of Make It York, paid tribute to Kippa Matthews, York based award-winning photographer, who died earlier this year.

She praised his legacy and his contribution to photography in his adopted city of York.

Lady Gibson said the awards had shown York’s creativity. “The quality and sheer variety of entrants demonstrates the wealth of cultural activity happening right here in York.”

Entertaining night

Rocking out at the awards. Photograph: Sam Atkins
Rocking out at the awards. Photograph: Sam Atkins

Musical performances on the night included 15 young people with disabilities from the Accessible Arts and Media IMPs project, and songs by York Theatre Royal choir.

The Arts Barge Collective were the house band for the evening, performing live music stings throughout the ceremony.

One of the highlights was music led by Adam Parrish, York St John University graduate, performing a specially commissioned piece by world-renowned composer Peter Byrom-Smith.

Peter said: “Born in this city, too many years ago than I like to think, composing has led me to work all over the world, where my music has been performed, recorded and broadcast.

“However, York is still my birthplace, so having a work performed here is pretty cool, to say the least.”

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