Archive | Theatre





Leeds Grand Theatre is set to ‘sparkle and shine’ as NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL runs from Wednesday 20 December to Saturday 6 January 2018.

Based on the smash-hit films the show tells the tale of Mr Maddens and his crazy assistant Mr Poppy as they struggle with hilarious children, unruly animals and a whole lot of sparkle and shine to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true.



Featuring songs from the movies, including ‘Sparkle and Shine’, ‘Nazareth’ and ‘One Night One Moment’, NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL promises to be the perfect feel-good comedy for all the family.



“I am absolutely delighted to be working with this incredibly talented and hilariously funny musical theatre cast”, said writer/director Debbie Isitt. “It truly will be an emotionally soaring, feel good experience with beautiful singing and amazing choreography.”



The NATIVITY! film series is one of the most popular UK Christmas film franchises of recent years. NATIVITY!, NATIVITY 2 DANGER IN THE MANGER! and NATIVITY 3 DUDE WHERE’S MY DONKEY?! have all reached top box office positions on theatrical release, sold nearly two million DVDs, and captured the hearts and minds of families all over the UK.



NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Wednesday 20 December – Saturday 6 January 2018. Tickets (£20.50 (RV) – £46) available from 0844 848 2700 or online at

(prices include a £3 booking fee. Postage charge £1 where applicable)

Photos: The Other Richard

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Festive Fun at WYP with Crumble’s Search for Christmas


Join West Yorkshire Playhouse for Crumble’s Search for Christmas this festive season, a heart-warming tale of friendship and adventure, written, devised and directed by Robert Alan Evans (The Night Before Christmas).

When winter comes it’s time for Crumble to hibernate. At least, that’s what Crumble has always been told. With the family hurrying and scurrying to make final preparations before the last leaf falls, a chance encounter sets curious Crumble on the most extraordinary adventure to discover the true meaning of Christmas.



“Creating a brand new Christmas production at the Playhouse is a fantastic opportunity, it’s always a delight to share a new story with the warm Leeds audiences,” said writer and director Robert Alan Evans. “Crumble’s Search for Christmas asks what Christmas might look like if you had never seen or experienced it before. It’s about discovery, bravery and how true friendship can be the best Christmas present in the world. The production is an hour-long family experience for both children and adults alike.”


Crumble’s Search for Christmas stars Leeds born Riana Duce who trained at York University (The Jungle Book, Manchester Open Air Theatre), Bradford born and RADA trained Lucy Bairstow (#DIGS, Theatre with Legs) and Leeds born Emily Goldie who trained at Manchester School of Theatre (Romeo and Juliet, HOME).

Crumble’s Search for Christmas plays in the Courtyard Theatre from Saturday 25 November to Saturday 30 December.

For more info and tickets click here

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New Performance Project Calls for Young Creatives

The Geraldine Connor Foundation is currently searching for young creatives aged 14+ and based in Leeds who are interested in music, spoken word, dance or film to create and take part in a production celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Windrush.
The ship called ‘Empire Windrush’ brought the first wave of Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948, marking the beginning of the mass immigration movement in the UK that resulted in an estimated 172,000 West Indian born people living in the UK by 1961. To many, they are known as the Windrush Generation.The brand-new production will explore this momentous historical event and its impact in Britain today.Weekly workshop sessions will be on Monday’s 6-8pm at the Mandela Centre in Leeds, starting on Monday 20th November, and lead to performances in June 2018.

The GFC is looking for passionate and creative young people interested in exploring their cultural heritage to sign up for this exciting new project, which will also provides the opportunity to achieve the Arts Award at Bronze or Silver level.

Please note, these workshops are free to attend and, although this opportunity is unpaid, it is a fantastic chance to develop your creative skills and work alongside professional artists.

Want to find out more and express your interest?

Contact the Geraldine Connor Foundation by email at or call 0113 243 1166. For more details on this exciting project, click here.

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Front Room Productions Brings Dickens’ Christmas Classic to Leeds Kirkgate Market


Charles Dickens’ definitive Christmas tale will be brought to life in the aptly Victorian setting of Kirkgate Market by Leeds-based theatre company Front Room Productions, from 27th November to 2nd December.

Spectators will be given privileged access to the atmospheric space after trading hours, weaving in and out of the market’s nooks and crannies as they follow Scrooge on his path to redemption.

The audience will be fully immersed in the Dickensian setting, serenaded by an original score from Composer and Performer Claire-Marie Seddon, written for a rich combination of strings, brass and accordion.

“Theatre-goers will be wholeheartedly encouraged to enter into the Christmas spirit, and partake in a cup of mulled wine while they play party games with Fred – Scrooge’s nephew – and brush shoulders with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come,” said Olivia Race, who adapted the novel and will be directing the show.

“We also hope that courageous members of the audience will join the ensemble in the festive ceilidh dance at Fezziwig’s legendary Christmas Party!”, added producer Alice Barber.

Front Room Productions create high-quality, intimate theatre in unconventional spaces. The company is no stranger to Dickens, having staged an acclaimed adaptation of Oliver Twist as it’s inaugural production at Kirkgate Market back in January, which returned to the space again in October. Over the summer, the company launched its Shakespearean season, first staging a series of Pop-Up Shakespeare Performances in the Market, and later an ambitious promenade adaptation of Twelfth Night that transported Shakespeare’s original text into a fun, rural setting at a working farm in Adel.

The company is immensely proud to have roots in West Yorkshire, and endeavours to stage productions that showcase and celebrate the wealth of talented performers working across the region. A Christmas Carol will open in Leeds before touring to York, Bradford, and Manchester in the run up to Christmas.

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Life is a Cabaret at Leeds Grand Theatre


For one week only, Leeds Grand Theatre will play host to Olivier-Award-winning musical, Cabaret, from Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th October 2017.


Produced by Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, Cabaret will star internationally renowned singer/songwriter Will Young, who reprises his Olivier Award-nominated performance as the enigmatic Emcee, musician and presenter Louise Redknapp, who makes her stage debut as Sally Bowles and Susan Penhaligon as Fraulein Schneider; Susan is best known for the popular television series Bouquet of Barbed Wire and the sitcom A Fine Romance with Judi Dench.



Set in 1930s Berlin against the backdrop of the seedy Kit Kat Club, Cabaret tells the tale of young American writer Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and features some of the most iconic songs in musical theatre, including ‘Money Makes the World Go Round’, ‘Two Ladies’ ‘Maybe This Time’ and of course ‘Cabaret’.


Since its Broadway premiere in 1966 – and the famous movie version starring Liza Minnelli and Oscar-winner Joel Grey – Cabaret has won a staggering number of stage and screen awards, including eight Oscars, seven BAFTAs and 13 Tonys. Norris’ production has enjoyed two smash hit West End runs and has picked up two Olivier Awards.


Cabaret is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 24th – Saturday 28th October. Tickets (£20.50 – £41.50) available from 0844 848 2700 and online at



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A Wind of Change – A Community Theatre Project in Meanwood



Presented by Common Chorus Theatre and InterACT Church and Community Partnership, ‘A Wind of Change’ is a special community theatre project being created for and by residents, workers and regular visitors to Meanwood.

If you would like to take part, just sign up – it’s absolutely free! There will be four different groups, each led by a professional artist, and each of these will form a different part of the story. You will get to work alongside some of Leeds’ most exciting theatre makers to create and perform this original show. All you need is to be committed to the whole journey of the show and be able to attend most, if not all, rehearsals and the performance week.

The first creative workshop is on 21st October, when work will begin on creating the script. This will be followed by weekly rehearsals in the new year. The performance will take place during February Half Term at Stainbeck Church.

Anyone with an on-going connection to Meanwood can take part. No previous experience is necessary, although the initiated are very welcome too! Young people aged over 11 years are welcome and there are opportunities for 8 -10 year olds too. For further information, contact Ness Brown on 07961 535767 or




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Kneehigh Return to WYP with The Tin Drum


Acclaimed theatre company Kneehigh make an epic return to Leeds this week with a new adaptation of The Tin Drum. Günter Grass’ surreal seminal 20th Century novel is brought to thrilling life in a visually dazzling, dark and daringly provocative production playing at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 17 – 28 October.

On Oskar’s third birthday he rails against the adult world and decides to remain a child forever. Armed with a heart full of rage, a singing voice that shatters glass and a seemingly indestructible tin drum, Oskar sets about revealing the world for what it truly is. However, the world has other plans for our hero…

Exploring the rise of fascism through the eyes of a child, Günter Grass’ post-war masterpiece has never been more prescient. His classic novel, which presents anti-hero Oskar refusing to grow up as he watches the growth of ugly and suffocating totalitarianism around him, is reimagined by Kneehigh as part Baroque opera, part psychedelic white-out and part epic poem: a burlesque, a blitzkrieg and a tsunami.

For more info and tickets click here

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WYP’s Youth Theatre Explores Mental Health With New Production


A poignant production which explores young people’s mental health is being created by West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Youth Theatre in collaboration with Leeds Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Written for West Yorkshire Playhouse by Rebecca Manley, Zoetrope follows seven young people as they tackle emotional and behavioural difficulties in a timely exploration of the mental health of young people and the resources afforded to them.

In preparation for the performance the Zoetrope cast have collaborated with Leeds Community Healthcare’s CAMHS service, inviting both young people and NHS staff into rehearsals to share their insights and experiences. CAMHS provides services for young people under 18 when mental health issues get in the way of daily life.

“Being involved in Zoetrope has given the CAMHS young people a real sense of confidence and helped them realise how their knowledge and experience has made them the experts”,  said Child and Adolescent Mental Health Practitioner,Vandhna Sharma. “Our CAMHS young people have loved learning about a theatre production and were touched by how polite and considerate the Zoetrope cast are, in particular when they shared their experiences of mental health and the support they received, which helped provide authenticity and depth to the Zoetrope characters. The audience get to see young people navigate their way through mental health difficulties and support processes from their perspective, as well as understand the impact it has on every area of their life.”


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Don’t Miss Red Ladder’s Production of The Shed Crew



Join The Shed Crew in Ashtrayland, as Red Ladder Theatre, supported by West Yorkshire Playhouse, presents an immersive performance in Albion Electric Warehouse on South Accommodation Road, until 1st October.

When Chop meets charismatic Urban – an illiterate 12-year-old but with a real talent for words, and a penchant for glue-sniffing and firebombing – he’s brought into the inner-circle of The Shed Crew, a posse of dispossessed kids, runaways and joyriders, seeking sanctuary from the mean streets of their inner-city estate in a shed. When mum’s a junkie, your dad might as well be dead and grown-ups are all nonces, grasses and greedy-bastards, The Crew is the only family you need.

Award-winning playwright Kevin Fegan has adapted Bernard Hare’s searingly honest memoir, Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew, into a new play which captures the explosive energy of this darkly funny story of former social worker ‘Chop’ and his remarkable bond with Urban and his friends.

“Chop and Urban’s relationship is like a buddy movie: a strange pairing of a middle-aged man and a 12-year-old boy who go on a wild trip, with the Shed Crew as its chorus”, said Kevin. “Their story explodes like a firework, and I needed to capture the energy of these feral kids. It’s the raw honesty that I most admire, and the humanity that you warm to – Bernard Hare tells the good and the bad in his book. It’s not about how we can go marching in and help – it’s what we can take from these kids and their experiences.”

Bernard returned to his home estate in Leeds in the 90s after becoming disillusioned as a social worker in London. It’s here that he met ‘Urban’ and The Shed Crew. Often colluding in their wildness – but the only grown-up they trusted – ‘Chop’ became their unlikely mentor, introducing them to the arts, and learning far more from them in return. He decided to write his memoir to show the reality of life for the socially excluded, giving a voice to the voiceless.

Kevin had met and befriended Bernard before setting out to write the play. Taking the unusual approach of writing in verse infuses the play with a certain rhythm which underpins the action. Having given Kevin the thumbs-up, Bernard let him get on with it, meeting him again only at the end to read it through – another thumbs-up.

Originally planned as a theatre production, it soon became clear that this was not a play for traditional staging. Instead, it was decided it should be an immersive experience. Albion Warehouse was suggested – this was no vast empty space but was scattered with turbines, workbenches and huge boxed up industrial fridges. In amongst all this a performance area had to be created – a den for the characters. The audience would have to become part of that world.

“There have been massive leaps forward and huge changes since Bernard Hare’s book was written, and we’re not looking back to the past in bringing it to the stage”, said Red Ladder’s artistic director, Rod Dixon. “As one of Britain’s leading radical theatre companies this story is one that Red Ladder still needs to tell – as vast sections of society across Britain exist in extreme poverty; forgotten communities living parallel lives in austerity against the glossy veneer of commerce and consumerism.

“It’s important that the play not be seen as voyeuristic, it’s not poverty porn. The aim was not highlight how the underclass lives. We are all a tissue away from that kind of chaos. The play shows the human side of things and we’re thrilled to have the Albion Electrics warehouse as a venue in which to immerse people in this world; one from which we can all learn about ‘survival’, family and the power of humanity and the arts.”

Red Ladder has built in a considerable amount of public engagement around the production, working closely with Leeds Poverty Truth Commission and Simon on the Streets. Creative writing, photography workshops, and discussions are taking place at Leeds Libraries’ Space 2 and West Yorkshire Playhouse’s First Floor. They plan to capture voices in the workshops and build these into the sound design. Simon on the Streets is preparing a photographic exhibition, which will be displayed at Albion Warehouse.

Tickets can be booked through West Yorkshire Playhouse on 0113 213 7700 or



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Leeds Grand Theatre Launches Training Project for Aspiring Young Actors


Auditions for Leeds Actors in Training (LAIT), a pilot project being run in collaboration with Leeds Grand Theatre offering 18 to 23 year olds a practical skills building course for a career in theatre, are being held on Tuesday 10th October.

Run by industry professionals, LAIT is designed to develop participating artists vocally, physically and imaginatively, encouraging an independent and in-depth approach to work. Auditionees will be required to perform a monologue and take part in an hour long group workshop and individual interview. The session, run by Director Lizi Patch, will end with a group Q&A session.



“Unique to Leeds, LAIT gives young adults the opportunity to access actor-training of the highest quality with support and insight from professional directors, actors, movement specialists, vocal coaches and producers across the year”, said Lizi, a freelance writer, actor and director with more than 30 years’ experience, including as Artistic Director of the City Varieties Youth Theatre.

“For some years now I have wanted to provide high quality, meaningful actor training to young adults who are between school and further education or work. Passion and a good publicity photo will only get you so far in this industry. In my experience, to truly succeed an actor must be skilled and committed with a strong grip on reality. A thick skin, good work ethic, generosity, imagination, tenacity and an interest in human behaviour are also vital.

“At LAIT we will provide a supportive and vibrant space to help aspiring actors unlock their potential, develop skills, network and move to the next phase of their training with confidence!”

Run over 30 weeks, LAIT will meet every Tuesday 6 – 8.30pm at Leeds Grand Theatre. For more information, and to download an application form, visit or call Hannah Johnson, Arts Administrator, on 0113 297 7042.


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