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About 3-Minute Arts

When everyone sets out on a shared journey together, there’s an infectious eagerness and enthusiasm in the air…


3 Minute Arts began with a seemingly far-fetched idea of Maggie Rich, resident at the station house, Glaisdale. Maggie noticed that Esk Valley Railway trains stop for three minutes outside her window, while the passing loop points are changed allowing trains to operate on the single line between Whitby and Middlesbrough. She envisioned an artistic entertainment for railway passengers at this point in their journey.


Excited by the idea, a group of local writers, musicians and actors joined Maggie to develop creative writing competitions that would draw in new writing suitable for performance on the railway platform and on the train.


The first competition in 2022 attracted nearly 70 entrants from around the country. Our panel of eminent judges – Martin Vander Weyer, Kate Fenton, Philip Ayckbourn and Lisa Williams – chose three winning plays, two of which were performed on the railway platform on 28 May 2023.


All of the winning 3-minute plays along with one other shortlisted play were performed at the inaugural Mini Arts Festival on 3 June 2023, along with winning stories from our second competition (3-minute stories), selected by judges Martin Vander Weyer, Lisa Williams, Lydia Gill and Andy Croft – together with music, dance and poetry from local groups.


For the 2023–24 writing competition and the 2024 Mini Arts Festival on 22 June we’ve added a song-writing competition and performance, with additional judges Barbara Anderson, Mark Goodall and Eileen Till in song and Mark Stratton of Esk Valley Theatre in drama. We have also arranged, in a collaboration with Loftus Library and Everwitch Theatre, a junior drama workshop leading up to a showcase of their drama at the Mini Arts Festival.



3-Minute Arts became a Community Interest Company on 22 November 2023 (Company Number 15302163) with directors Maggie Rich, Nicola Chalton and Pascal Thivillon and support from local musicians, actors, artists, theatres and educational groups.


This non-profit venture firmly believes that participation in the arts is beneficial for mental health and community cohesion.


Our aims are to enhance community participation in the arts, providing benefit in particular to the residents of the rural communities of the Esk Valley, neighbouring areas of North Yorkshire and post industrial areas around East Cleveland, as well as creative artists more widely resident throughout the UK.


Communities will benefit from activities organised by 3-Minute Arts CIC by having access to affordable arts events (music, drama, spoken word, dance, etc) that provide entertainment and stimulation either through performing or spectating and serve to bring people together to strengthen community bonds.


The wider artistic community will benefit from opportunities to express themselves by participating in events and competitions for e.g. drama scripts, short stories and songs.


We are currently working on plans to develop:

  • Apple Days with apple pressing, music, dance and other arts workshops and performances, held at a community orchard and other venues, in partnership with the Community Earth Project.

  • Wassails and musical engagement at orchards and other venues in collaboration with the Community Earth Project and others.

  • Workshop opportunities in music, drama, dance and creative writing at local venues and in schools.

  • A week-long Music, Arts & Literature Festival in summer 2025, collaborating with Friends of Loftus Library, the Community Earth Project, Eskdale Community Trust for Education, Loftus Studios, Glaisdale Studios, Great Ayton Strings Orchestra, Teesside Cobweb Orchestra, Whitby Music Centre, Helmsley Arts Centre, and many other music, musical theatre, theatre, dance and creative writing groups and environmental organisations.


3 Minute Arts is grateful for the support of the Esk Valley Railway Community Rail Partnership, which promotes the Esk Valley line as a sustainable, affordable means of experiencing and exploring the North York Moors National Park and coast by public transport. In particular for the Community Rail Partnership's support in developing the plays and stories for Esk Valley Railway audiences and for sponsoring the performances on the platform and at the inaugural Mini Arts Festival held in Glaisdale’s Robinson Institute on 3 June 2023.


Grateful thanks also to our Judges for the 3 minute song, drama and story competitions, to actors and performers for taking part in our festivals and for all the volunteers who help behind the scenes and lend us equipment.


At the Mini Arts Festival 2023: thanks to Rob Smith for MC, to Esk Valley Theatre, Michael Dowson and Ian & Michele Hopley for loan of gazebos, to Esk Valley Camphill Community for loan of costumes and stage props, to Glenn Brown, Tom Cornforth and Simon and Finn Williams for setting up a superb sound system round the three ‘stages’ on the site, to friends and neighbours who loaned and helped erect and decorate the tents, to Ridleys for providing excellent catering, and to volunteers who ran mini workshops in music, rhythm, poetry, art, fortune telling, storytelling and face painting. Thanks also to all who came from the local and wider communities to create an atmosphere of fun, discovery and appreciation of artistic performance.


As we gear up to the 2024 Mini Arts Festival on 22 June, thank you to Debbie Rolls (Friends of Loftus Library) and Helena Fox (Everwitch Theatre) for running a drama workshop at Loftus Library for young people in the area, the showcase to be held at the Mini Arts Festival. Also for workshops on the Festival day, including: Wendy de Silva of Glaisdale Studios and John Roberts from Loftus with other local poets and writers for providing a ‘River of Words’ art and poetry workshop; Magda Phillips for running at Musetry (music and poetry combined) workshop; Rosie Barrett and Timothy Edwards for interactive storytelling; Lada for puppetry; Alix Lillie for young musicians’ performances; fortune telling and magic with Epona Tarot; and the musicians, choirs and bands coming to perform at the Festival.

3 Minute Arts Competitions:

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