Foxx goes underground for latest Vespertine event

Monday 9 May at York Cold War Bunker

Post-punk electronic music pioneer, John Foxx, will head underground in York’s Cold War Bunker  next week (Monday 9 May) in the latest free event for local people – a synthesised music reflection on the EM Forster short story ‘The Machine Stops’ – before heading to the stage of the newly refurbished Theatre Royal for a Q&A session.

John Foxx will be joined by fellow electro-pop pioneer, Benge, for the performances in which they will perform music from the forthcoming Pilot Theatre interpretation of The Machine Stops.  In the highly atmospheric setting of the York Cold War Bunker in Acomb – which reflects the ‘cells’ inhabited by the characters in the play – small groups will hear the compositions performed live in the control room, whilst propaganda images inspired by the story are projected onto the walls.

“The story in ’The Machine Stops’ revolves around a futuristic human population which has taken to living in underground bunkers, communicating only through instant messaging and video calls.  The novella was first published in 1909, but over a century later, provides a great metaphor for today’s society where people go out to socialise and then spend the evening on their mobile phone,” comments creative producer of the Vespertine project, Yvonne Carmichael.  “After their two hour stint in the dark, John and Benge will head over to the Theatre Royal for a Q&A session in which some of the footage captured during the evening will also be shown.”

Both the tours and the Q&A session are free to attend, although few places remain available for the York Cold War Bunker visit.  Visitors can book their places for both the tours and the theatre session at  Bunker visits last around 20-30 minutes each and run from 6.00pm until 8.00pm, when the musicians will be whisked off to York Theatre Royal for the Q&A session.

“These are two amazing and very different venues, from the austerity of English Heritage’s underground bunker – built as a monitoring station in case of nuclear war – to the plush interior and comfortable seats of the Theatre Royal’s newly refurbished auditorium,” adds Yvonne.  “Whilst the limited space within the bunker will create a very intimate experience, those attending the session at the Q&A will get a taste of the earlier events, as well as being able to quiz John and Benge about this project, or indeed any of their past musical endeavours.”

This event is the tenth free event organised by the Vespertine team, who have been creating unexpected artistic encounters around the city for the last year.  Future events include a special showing of The Ladykillers at the National Railway Museum on 22 June and a special walking tour of York on Wednesday 27 July which combines fact with fiction to explore different possible historic uses for Clifford’s Tower, Baille Hill and Bitchdaughter Tower.

For more information on The Bunker Experience or any of the other Vespertine events, please visit


About John Foxx

John Foxx is a musician and artist, perhaps best known for being the original lead singer of Ultravox from 1976-79, and most recently for touring with his band, John Foxx And The Maths. 

“Ultravox: The Island Years” 4 CD set and his own CD, “21stCentury: A Man, A Woman and A City”, which includes collaborations with Gary Numan, OMD and Gazelle Twin are both released on 20 May 2016. 

About Vespertine

Vespertine comes from the Latin word vesper which means evening.  Vespertine is a term used in the life sciences to indicate something of, relating to, or occurring in the evening, for example a vespertine flower is one that opens or blooms in the evening.  

York’s Vespertine project was set up as a join initiative between partners around York, including City of York Council and Make It York, spearheaded by York Archaeological Trust.  It received £99,995 funding from Arts Council England and £30,000 from City of York Council, which was match funded by contributions from cultural partners.  All of the events are free, and are designed to fill a gap between the end of the working day and the start of York’s evening hospitality and entertainment.

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.