York Events Calendar

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This guide lists events at a glance, showing what’s on each month. See the highlights of What’s On for York, featuring the best of things to do in York – Live Music and Gigs, Family Events, Art & Culture, Food & Drink and much more. York fundraisers and charity events.

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Every Brilliant Thing

17 May @ 7:30 pm - 20 May @ 10:00 pm


You’re seven years old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s ‘done something stupid’.
She finds it hard to be happy.
You make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world. Everything worth living
1. Ice cream
2. Water fights
3. Staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV
4. The colour yellow
5. Things with stripes
6. Rollercoasters
7. People falling over
Thus starts a list that spans a lifetime spent trying to prove life is beautiful in Every
Brilliant Thing, written by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe. This critically
acclaimed play, the debut production of new theatre company Shared Space, features
Alan Park and is directed by Maggie Smales. When his mother attempts suicide, a
young boy tries to write down every small miracle for her to realise life is worth living.
What starts as a small gesture turns into thousands of entries that follow him
throughout a life spent trying to define and capture happiness.
“Everyone I have spoken to about doing this show has said ‘oh we need that show
now more than ever’.” says Alan. “A friend suggested we try and book the show to tour
into York but when I read it, and found there were no other productions around, I
decided to do it myself. It really is one of the most uplifting plays I’ve ever read. It’s a
brilliant thing.”
The intimate show takes place in the round at Theatre@41, York where the audience
plays a crucial role in compiling the list of brilliant things. The result is an unforgettable
communal experience that reminds us of the power found in connecting with the
people around us.

• Cast: Alan Park
• Director: Maggie Smales
• Images available here –
Praise for Every Brilliant Thing
“Heart-wrenching, hilarious… possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full
stop.” The Guardian
“Filled to the brim with joy…beautiful, heart wrenching and very funny.” Time Out
“Funny, clever, and surprisingly uplifting.” The Telegraph
“Every Brilliant Thing may be the funniest show about depression you’ve ever seen…
about finding reasons to live rather than reasons to die. And those reasons can be as
minute as wearing a cape and as big as falling in love.” New York Post
About Alan Park
Alan first appeared on a York stage as Jack in Pilot Theatre’s Lord of the Flies. After
a decade travelling the world as The Gruffalo he returned to York in Pick Me Up
Theatre’s Monster Makers and Scrooge. Every Brilliant Thing is the debut production
of Alan’s new theatre company Shared Space.
Performance History
Every Brilliant Thing was first produced in June 2013, by Paines Plough and
Pentabus Theatre at the Ludlow Fringe Festival, performed by Jonny Donahoe. Its
North American premiere, also performed by Donahoe, was at the Barrow Street
Theatre, NYC, in December 2014.
About The Playwrights
Duncan Macmillan’s plays include: People, Places, and Things (2015-2017 National
Theatre/Wyndham’s Theatre, West End); 1984, adapted from George Orwell; Every
Brilliant Thing; City of Glass, adapted from Paul Auster; The Forbidden Zone;
Wunschloses Unglück, adapted from Peter Handke; Reise Durch Die Nacht, adapted
from Friederike Mayröcker; Lungs; and Monster (2006, Royal Exchange Theatre).
Jonny Donahoe is an actor, comedian, playwright, screenwriter, broadcaster,
musician, orthodox off-spinner, decent slip-catcher, and capable swimmer. His oneman
show Every Brilliant Thing (which he co-wrote and originally performed), has
played more than 600 times over four continents, including five months off-Broadway
at The Barrow Street Theatre. The show was filmed by World of Wonder and
screened as a special on HBO. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, Lucille
Lortel Award and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for his performance. He is the
front man of musical comedy-satirists, Jonny and The Baptists, and a regularly
performing stand-up in his own right.


17 May @ 7:30 pm
20 May @ 10:00 pm
Event Category:


41 Monkgate
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