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Third Angel & York Theatre Royal present

The Desire Paths: York


The Desire Paths: York
Presented by Third Angel
In collaboration with York Theatre Royal

Performed by
Nisha Anil
Megan Bailey
Tom Brader
Alexander Kelly
Holly Gallagher
Esther Irving
Gillian Lees

Photography &
Video by
Charlie Kirkpatrick

For Third Angel:
Co-Artistic Directors
Alexander Kelly
Rachael Walton

Executive Producer
Hilary Foster

Executive Director
Laura Holmes

Community Producer
Stacey Sampson 

Samantha Turner 

Digital Marketing Manager
Helen Varley

Publicity Design
Wayne Gamble

For York Theatre Royal:
Chief Executive
Tom Bird

Thom Freeth

Create Co-ordinator
Megan Bailey

Third Angel is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England and an Associate Company of Sheffield Theatres.

York Stories

17 and 18 September 2021. We drew a giant map of York onto the stone slabs of Exhibition Square, and we asked the people of York to rename a street after a hope, dream or ambition for the future. We listened to the stories they told us. There were too many to list them all, but here are some from each performer.


Emma renamed ‘Ousecliffe Road’ as ‘Phoenix Rising’ after a band from university she wishes would get back together.

Claire renamed ‘Heworth Green’ as ‘Generosity Green’. She was struggling to think of the right name for the street when a bus driver from the blue tour company came over and offered us a free tour for the work we were doing. She called it ‘Generosity Green’ after him and his kindness. He was a Geordie and asked her to name it after Sunderland for him instead but she wouldn’t. She loved that he called her ‘pet’.

Lizzy renamed ‘Cromwell Road’ as ‘Sort My Life Out Lane’ as it’s the street with The Golden Ball Pub on, where she and her friends go after work to ‘sort their lives out’ together.

Mary & Jack renamed ‘Woodlands Grove’ to ‘Mary & Jack Grove’ after hope for them and their family’s future happiness. Very sweet, teasing each other over whose name would go first (she won as he wasn’t listening the first time I asked).

Bernardo (7 or 8) and his mum and dad. They renamed ‘New Lane’ to ‘Bernardo’s Street’ after their son and his future.

Derek renamed ‘School Lane’ to ‘Tolerance Terrace’ for a more welcoming society.

Robert renamed ‘Lindsay Avenue’ as ‘Right Ideas Street’. His job involves telling people when their ideas won’t work out, so if more people had the right ideas the first time around it would make his job easier.

Gerald renamed ‘Elgar Close’ as ‘Sheila Street’. He said he wanted to name the street after his wife who had passed away recently and the hope of being with her again one day. He was full of smiles about her and insisted that he wanted to name a small street after her because she was so short a person (“She was even smaller than you”) and it was clearly a familiar joke they must have had together. The little cul-de-sac he picked originally was too small to have a street name on the map so we went for the one next to it and when we found it on the map it was called ‘Elgar Close’. He looked up and said, with a big happy/sad smile, “that’s perfect because she was a musician”.

Mum and daughter renamed a street each. Mum renamed ‘Whitby Avenue’ as ‘Happiness Haven’. Their house is too far out to be on the map but that’s the road that leads to it. Little girl renamed ‘Villa Grove’ as ‘Gym Champ Lane’ because that’s where she goes to gymnastics and she wants to be a gymnastics champion when she grows up. Just as they were leaving me to go and look at the other names on the map the Mum saw ‘Sleep Street’ and said “Oooh Sleep Street, I want to live there!”

Damian renamed Clifford Tower as ‘Josce Hope Tower after the man Josce of York (which translates as Joseph) who died in 1190. He was a local leader of Jews and led approximately 150 people to the tower for safety during the race riots of 1190. Eventually they all committed suicide rather than face death or conversion by the angry mob that had seized the tower during the pogroms. He was seen as a symbol of kindness, shining out.

Sean lives in Gillygate and would like to rename it ‘A Place for Space’ as he is fed up of the delivery driver’s attitude and congestion which is causing a hindrance to emergency vehicles and everyone there.

James renamed Coney Street as ‘Off-World Colony’ because we are burning up the planet and we need to start thinking outside the box, the world, for resources, materials and a new way to live.

Steven renamed York Minster as ‘Visionary Human Rights Square’ as York is the only human rights city in the UK. Swansea would like to be the next. The vision is for a fair city working to build a community of diversity, equality and human rights building on a tradition of non-conformity. York is the first democratic charter seeking pluralism and diversity but much still needs to be implemented and the vision is to see this ethos or ‘charter’ rolled out across the land.

“Would you like to rename a street in York after a hope or dream for the future?”
A French Erasmus student after moving to York three days earlier; “can we call one ‘Erasmus Road’, no wait,  ‘Erasmus Avenue’.
“Out of interest, why Avenue instead of Road?”
“Well, Avenues are bigger than Roads, and this is a pretty big step in our lives.”

Another Erasmus student in the same group; “Yeah, can you rename one ‘Memories Road’ please?”
“Absolutely, after what memories are you naming the road?”
“The ones we are yet to make.”

“Would you like to rename a street in York after a hope or dream for the future?”
“Yes. ‘Never Lose Hope Street’ as a second generation immigrant, it’s something our parents showed us is very important.”

With a lack of music venues both for communities to listen to, support and experience local and travelling musicians, and also a lack of space for these musicians to practice and perform their craft on the open stage, Kate wanted to mark the city street with a pun to raise awareness. With ‘The Crescent’ housing the largest remaining independent music venue in York after the closure of many others,  Kate renamed the street as ‘Harmony Close’. Here’s to more music venues opening in the city!

A young couple struggled to take their eyes off each other. Wanting to rename the two rivers in York, they did anything but struggle when dubbing them with their fresh titles. The ‘Foss’ and ‘Ouze’ became ‘Forever’ and ‘Always’; words he uttered to her, the day they first met. Best wishes for their future. Forever and always.

Museum Street > Attenborough Avenue

I sat with Rachel as she sipped a well-earned coffee; she is an NHS nurse who worked solidly throughout the pandemic. This week she returned to work on her one day off following ‘a fight with a fence’ (Rachel had a shiny new plaster-cast on her arm). She feared she had too many aspirations for the renaming of York streets and thought she’d offer up some key intel which not many people would know… Sir David Attenborough has been cited as saying that the coffee shop ‘Brew & Brownie’ round the corner from YTR was his favourite place to visit in York, selling the best Brownies in the UK. A huge statement, right?! Not one to believe all that is said, I popped along to check the place out. It was indeed very pleasant. I spoke with two lovely women who worked there to ask if they’d heard this wild rumour - neither of them had. Still, I purchased a Brownie for each of The Desire Paths team in an effort to offer fairness to the statement. There was an overwhelming consensus that Brew & Brownie in York do in fact serve the best Brownies in the UK, hands down, leaving Sir David Attenborough’s name intact and bringing a whole new wave of interest in the renaming of Museum Street.

Beaverdyke > Medal Grove
Rosie is a very young athlete and has grand ambitions of becoming a medal-winner at a young age. She spoke articulately and seriously about how she might manage this feat, listing previous accomplishments to support the likelihood of succeeding - I am in no doubt that this young lady will have this street renamed in due course and I’ll oft tell the tale of the day I met her!

Shipton Road > Bakers Street
Oliver is an aspiring baker who looks forward to high school where he will finally be able to take lessons in baking. Asked which make is his favourite to make, he replied ‘Millionaires shortcake… although *technically* that’s not a bake…’ I like his frankness and his taste in (non)baked confectionary! A few jokes were shared with Oliver’s parents about whether it should be ‘Baker Street’ or ‘Bakers Street’ and he was persuaded to pick the latter to avoid any confusion by the older passersby that it had anything to do with Gerry Rafferty. Confused as to what we were laughing at, he agreed reluctantly.

York Train Station > Meet Your Mother Square
Lyndsey and her mother Ann always meet at York Train Station to spend time together as it’s equidistant between the cities in which they now live. Things were on hiatus during the pandemic but they had recently made their first return to day-tripping to spend time together. 

Nunnery Lane > The Midwife
Kirsty is leaving hospitality after 15 years to become a midwife - her first job was making toast at The Middletons Hotel in York which is near this street.

Toft Green > Anarcho-Roman Disco
Colleen renamed this street in the hopes disco will return to the street after Fibbers’ demise and subsequent occupation by squatters.

Lilburne Drive > Yorkshire Pudding Lane
No explanation needed from Marina!

Kathryn Ave > Staffy Street
Hannah and Simon renamed this street in the hopes they will one day be responsible enough to own a scrappy Staffy dog!

York Racecourse > 1000 Book Road
Isabelle is going to read 1000 books in her future, starting with a Jacqueline Wilson book she has waiting for her at the Oxfam charity shop.

Lawrence St > Sticker Lane
Beatrix loves sticker books and wants more in the future!

Lord Mayor’s Walk > Love Avenue
Nick and Laura wanted Swinegate to be renamed as this was where their first kiss was, but settled for this street instead - in their hopes for everlasting love!

Whitethorn Close > Rainbow Road
Alex and Rich, father and son, renamed their road as Alex loves rainbows!

Alexander Avenue > Lister Lane
Alex and Caitlyn decided that they want a street that represents a future full of breaking boundaries, going against tradition, and collaboration - as pioneered by Joseph Lister who is an inspiration to medical student Caitlyn!

Byland Avenue > Equine Avenue
Eve wants to become an equine vet!

Hayley renamed Arthur Street as Sleep Street – after her biggest desire for the future. Hayley has young children.

Bryony and Harriet arrived with their mum and dad. They had somewhere else they needed to be, but they were interested in the map. When they found out what was going on they were keen to rename some streets after things that were really important to them – and persuaded mum and dad to stay longer. Bryony chose Rawcliffe Lane because she liked the shape of it, and named it Harmony Lane. Harriet deliberately chose a road that connected to the new Sustainability Street, and called it Biodiversity Road

Flora renamed Scarcroft Hill, The Vanity Project Avenue, after her band (find them on Bandcamp).

Hattie would like to run a cat sanctuary when she’s older. You might find it on Water End, now known as Kitty Rescue Road.

Hattie’s dad, John, renamed the railway tunnel on Leeman Road as Firestorm Tunnel – because the sound of a V2 engine motorbike as it goes through that tunnel is amazing – and he would like to make that noise again someday.


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