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800 years of democracy is celebrated for 12 months in York

York city council

7:07am 1st November 2011
(Updated 7:08am 1st November 2011)

York 800 reveals initial programme of events for 2012.

York 800 is nearly here - 2012 will be 800 years since York was granted its Charter by King John, allowing the city to elect a council, create a mayor and run its own affairs.

1212 was a huge year for the city, and now York is to mark the anniversary with York 800, a year-long programme of events for residents, visitors, and businesses alike.

For the first time, organisers have revealed the initial programme of events for York 800 - though say there is more to come, and more details will be released in due course.

Highlights include:

"    the legendary York Cycle of Mystery Plays in August, performed outdoors in the Museum Gardens for the first time since the 1980s;
"    a special weekend of events in July to mark the exact anniversary of the granting of the Charter on 9 July 1212, including the climax of the Choral Ebor Vox project;
"    the creation of a new Youth Charter for the city;
"    York Stories, when residents will be able to record their own personal stories about the city for posterity;
"    a Medieval Summer of events;
"    a specially commissioned Big City Read, featuring a medieval murder mystery set in The Minster, by Susanna Gregory
"    the York Science and Innovation Grand Tour 2012, showcasing York's innovative past, present and future
"    the Festival of Ideas and Innovation, on the theme of Metamorphosis and Transformation
"    a community New Year's Eve at the close of the year.

The first weekend in July - Charter Weekend - will include the opening of the 2012 Festival of the Rivers.  A flotilla of hundreds of boats will progress along the River Ouse, and dozens of York choirs and other singers will come together as the climax of the Ebor Vox project to perform a specially commissioned work around the city by Benjamin Till, composer of the Symphony for Yorkshire.

In addition, other major events will be taking place in the city, including the return of Railfest to the National Railway Museum, celebrating York's links to the railways over the centuries; the Olympic torch coming to York; a Chocolate Festival in the spring, when the city will celebrate its historic links to another of its major industries; and Illuminating York 2012, with a special theme.

Residents will also be able to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and enjoy a whole series of events at the Minster, as well as visiting a brand new medieval gallery at the Yorkshire Museum.

Details of the programme can be found by clicking here, and will be updated regularly.

York 800 is being co-ordinated by York@Large, York's cultural partnership, and City of York Council is leading the way in ensuring that the programme will be a success.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, the council's executive member for leisure and inclusion, added :

" York 800 is all about understanding the key role that York has played over its long and exciting history, creating a sense of belonging in the city of today, and building a confident future for the city. I am certain that this programme of events will deliver in these aims."

Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council, commented:

"I believe that York 800 is the most exciting reason for this city to be celebrating for a very long time, and we want as many people as possible to get involved. York people were given their voice in 1212, and we want them to use it to full effect next year.  

"There will be so much happening that we hope that every resident will experience something related to York 800, that visitors will take away special memories of our city, and that businesses elsewhere will consider relocating to such a vibrant city."

Professor Dianne Willcocks, chair of York@Large, is keen to explain that York 800 will grow and grow  as the year goes on:

"We'd really like to hear from residents, businesses or any groups who would still like to suggest and arrange an event for the programme, whether sport, a quiz , a street party- or anything that can be related to York 800! Please get in touch at york800@york.gov.uk with your ideas."

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