Life & Death brings back JORVIK Vikings!

Jorvik: Life & Death, York Theatre Royal, from Saturday 21 May 2016

The creative teams at JORVIK Viking Centre and York Theatre Royal are hoping that visitors will make ‘Life & Death’ decisions by visiting the new free exhibition in the Keregan Room at York Theatre Royal, where the Vikings await!

The new exhibition, which opens on Saturday 21 May, connects York’s rich Viking heritage with the secret history of York Theatre Royal, uncovered by archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust during the theatre’s redevelopment work.  So much more is known now about St Leonard’s Hospital, which occupied the site through the medieval period, and visitors can explore how this hospital operated, from its endowment in the time of King Athelstan to the medicines used by our medieval ancestors.

“The Viking-age is part of the medieval period, so this new exhibition has enabled us to tell a story that spans centuries of York’s history.  The land on which St Leonard’s Hospital was built was gifted to the priests of York Minster in 937, and when William the Conqueror confirmed this gift, the hospital was founded on this land to the West of the Minster,” comments the JORVIK Group’s head of interpretation, Dr Chris Tuckley.  “There was a curious relationship between religion and health during this period – some believing it was better to trust that God would cure your ailments if that was His will, although it was often monks and nuns who had great knowledge of herbs and natural remedies.”

The free exhibition, accessed from the theatre’s stunning new foyer, is open daily from 10am, and will be manned each day by two friendly costumed interpreters from the Viking and later medieval period, who will help visitors young and old diagnose any in-balances of their humors which may cause ill health!  Younger visitors will be encouraged to explore what the colour of their urine might say about their wellbeing, from a healthy yellow to what to do if your wee turns black!

Jorvik: Life & Death is the first of three partnership exhibitions planned by York Archaeological Trust, the owners of JORVIK and four other attractions around the city, this summer whilst work continues to rebuild and re-imagine JORVIK Viking Centre itself.  The next to open, in June, will be at York St Mary’s in the Coppergate Centre whilst a special exhibition of Viking treasures will go on display in the Undercroft at York Minster from August.  The exhibitions will continue until early 2017, when the artefacts will be returned to JORVIK Viking Centre ahead of its spring re-opening.

For more information on the JORVIK special exhibitions, or indeed to donate to Campaign Canute, please visit


For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins, Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698


About Us

Based in York, UK, the JORVIK Group of Attractions comprises:JORVIK Viking CentreDIGBarley HallThe Richard III Experience at Monk BarThe Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar The JORVIK Group also organises the annual JORVIK Viking Festival each February in York, and the Yorkshire Medieval Festival in August.