Published Wednesday, 10th October 2018

York could see the return of the hugely successful pop-up Rose Theatre and could also welcome a new Viking experience to Castle car park, under new proposals by City of York Council.

The council’s Executive will be asked to agree to use part of the Castle car park for both events, subject to planning permission, and other relevant statutory approvals, at a meeting on Thursday 25 October.

The pop-up theatre attracted 80,000 visitors during the summer of 2018 and its Shakespearean village attracted a further 20,000 visitors.

Following on from this success, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions Limited (LTP) has approached the council with a proposal for a further season in 2019.

The council has also been approached by Yorkshire based Bifrost Entertainments with a proposal for a Viking Hall on part of the car park between 18 January and 3 May 2019.

The Viking themed theatrical experience would include a Viking Great Hall and courtyard theatre creating an immersive performance space with a capacity of approximately 100 people per show - with 360 degree sets, live actors, and special effects.

The installation would also include a Viking themed homestead featuring food and beverage outlets, box office, sheltered and unsheltered seating, entertainment and demonstration stage and the potential for a craft and skills market.

The project has a capacity to attract a total of 44,800 patrons over the 11 week performance period.

The proposals tie in to the council’s wider regeneration Castle Gateway masterplan, which was approved by the council’s Executive in April 2018. This provides a long-term spatial plan for the regeneration of the area.

At the heart of the masterplan is the closure of Castle Car Park to create a new area of high quality public realm - a beautiful setting for the city’s heritage assets that reflect the historical context and significance of this area of regional and national importance. This space would meet the public’s aspirations to be able to sit, relax, eat, drink and enjoy, and would also host different events throughout the year. 

Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “The Rose Theatre attracted over 80,000 people this summer from across the globe. This was a huge success and has already helped to positively challenge the perception of what Castle car park could be in the future.

“We hope these experiences will attract even more visitors next year and we want to build on that success through a programme of events to be hosted on the car park throughout the year.

“Through the proposed return of the Rose Theatre and the immersive Viking experience, it will reinforce the future vision for Castle Car Park whilst covering the council’s car parking income and attracting both residents and visitors to this part of the city.”

It is proposed that the council is reimbursed for the full cost of the spaces both events use.  The revised parking arrangements worked well with pop-up Rose theatre this year.  As a result, the council had a significant increase in overall parking income.

Executive takes place on Thursday 18 October from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online from:

To find out more about the report, or to attend, visit:


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