Tag Archive | "West Yorkshire Playhouse"

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

Posted in Arts & Culture, TheatreComments (0)

(The Fall of) The Master Builder at West Yorkshire Playhouse



So…… in discussing Ibsen’s play ‘The Master Builder’ with actor Reece Dinsdale, West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director, James Brining, posed the question – ‘What If?’

They decided to take a strand from Ibsen’s play and run with it. I did wonder why – why fiddle with a good play, let’s just see ‘The Master Builder’. Fiddling can sometimes lead to disaster.

But, of course, this is no longer Ibsen’s play. James and Reece threw the ball to playwright Zinnie Harris who borrowed Ibsen’s characters but took them on a different journey. Little did she know when she set out just how pertinent this story would be.

It’s the story of a powerful man, Halvard Solness (played by Reece), who has just been awarded Master Builder status. He is at the top of his profession. He is ruthless, manipulative. But young architects are snapping at his heels. Then one day Hilde (Katherine Rose Morley) walks in and reminds him of their previous meeting…..when she was 15.

Despite my skepticism at the outset, I was riveted from the off. The cast (which also includes Susan Cookson as his wife Aline; Emma Naomi as Kaja his assistant; Robert Pickavance as Brovik his old friend who used to own the architectural practice; Michael Peavoy as Brovik’s son Ragnar who has ambitions; and David Hounslow as his wayward friend Dr Herdal) was tight, successfully creating all the individual tensions that build up around such a man. By the end of the first part, you knew he was set up for a fall.

And what a fall!

In the second half, Solness’s whole demeanor changes. Six microphones are lined up across the front of the stage. One by one the characters step up to denounce him. They are like witnesses giving evidence, reading from file notes. Solness is alone on the stage. Slowly the walls start to close in on him.

Zinnie Harris’s play never lost momentum. “Zinnie’s adaptation is a mesmeric and gripping exploration of power”, said James Brining. “This retelling of such a classic text feels timely, a contemporary story addressing gender, control and privilege. Zinnie breathes urgency into Ibsen’s female characters, generating terrific energy, tension and jeopardy.”

Reece Dinsdale was marvelous as Solness. “Halvard Solness is a fascinating character – a man standing right on a precipice and staring down into the abyss”, he said. “He’s at the height of his success, being forced to confront his deepest fears. It becomes really uncomfortable. His dread of the ambitious young, the steady decline of his creative powers, and the murky secrets of his past come right to the fore the very moment we meet him.”


(The fall of) The Master Builder continues at West Yorkshire Playhouse until Saturday 21st October. It is well worth seeing.

Posted in Arts & Culture, Featured, TheatreComments (0)

Reasons to be Cheerful at The Playhouse


Part gig, part play, Reasons to be Cheerful celebrates the infectious music of Ian Dury and the Blockheads in this bold and jubilant coming of age tale at West Yorkshire Playhouse Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 October.



It’s 1979. Labour has just lost the General Election to the Tories. Strikes rock the nation and Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3) is climbing the charts. Die-hard fans Vinnie and Colin are on a mission to see Ian Dury and the Blockheads play Hammersmith Odeon. With no tickets to a sold-out gig their journey throws more at them than they could have ever expected….


Featuring stone-cold classic songs including Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick; Plaistow Patricia; Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll; Sweet Gene Vincent; What A Waste and the titular Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3), the show also features new song If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong written exclusively for the production by members of Ian Dury’s band The Blockheads and Graeae performer John Kelly.

Reasons To Be Cheerful is directed by pioneering disabled led theatre company Graeae’s Artistic Director Jenny Sealey MBE, and performed by an inclusive cast of 14 actor musicians. Using Graeae’s signature theatrical language, all performances of Reasons To Be Cheerful seamlessly include British Sign Language, audio description and creative captioning.


Posted in Arts & Culture, Sound & Vision, TheatreComments (0)

Northern Broadsides Present World Premiere of Blake Morrison’s For Love or Money at WYP



Barrie Rutter

Northern Broadsides and the Skipton-born playwright, poet and novelist Blake Morrison have joined forces to stage the World Premiere of For Love or Money, Morrison’s new adaptation of Alain-Rene Lesage’s savage eighteenth-century comedy Turcaret. Barrie Rutter directs in this his final touring production ahead of stepping down from his role as the  Broadsides Artistic Director in April 2018. The production plays at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 26 – 30 September.

Sarah-Jane Potts

A small town in Yorkshire sees a beautiful widow wooed by two suitors, one old and wealthy, one young and deceitful. Throw in a bailiff, a drunkard, a vamp, a second-hand clothes dealer and two upwardly mobile servants, and watch a comedic tale of monstrous wealth and whopping lies begin to unfold.

Blake Morrison

“It is 21 years now since my first collaboration with Barrie Rutter”, said Blake Morrison. “It was The Cracked Pot, an adaptation of a Kleist play in which, as well as directing, he took the leading role. By my count there have been seven collaborations since, with adaptations of plays written in German, Italian, Russian and Ancient Greek, plus one in Geordie which required only minor adjustments to be Yorkshire-fied. That is the pattern: wherever and whenever the original play is set I try to render it in a language that’s true to Rutter’s allegiance to Northern speech. Instead of RP it becomes NBI, Northern Broadsides Idiom.”


Posted in Arts & Culture, TheatreComments (0)

Rich Hall’s Hoedown at WYP


Rich Hall and his Hoedown band are coming to The West Yorkshire Playhouse on Saturday 7th October.

Never has there been a better time to be an American comedian in the UK. Hall’s precision dismantling of the tenuous relationship between the two countries is as freewheeling and deadly accurate as ever.

This Hoedown begins as a withering dissection of Trump’s America with all its twists and turns, but ends up in a celebration of Americana. There’s stand-up, improvised ballads, cracking good musicianship, and ultimately a hilarious, foot-stomping good time to be had by all. Even if you don’t own a hoe.

Rich Hall’s grouchy, deadpan style has established him as a master of absurdist irony and the king of rapid-fire wit. His critically acclaimed BBC Four documentaries, ‘Rich Hall’s Countrier Than You’ and ‘Rich Hall’s Presidential Grudge Match’, and his BBC Radio 4 series Rich Hall’s (US Election) Breakdown, have built him a whole new legion of followers, as have regular appearances on  Have I Got News For You and  QI.

Tickets are available from 0113 213 7700 or online at www.wyp.org.uk



Posted in Arts & Culture, ComedyComments (0)

Queen of Chapeltown: West Yorkshire Playhouse Celebrates Leeds West Indian Carnival 50th Anniversary



Queen of Chapeltown, a vibrant new production paying homage to Leeds’ rich heritage, is at West Yorkshire Playhouse Tue 12 – Fri 15 September 2017

Inspired by original, first-hand accounts from the West Indian community, Queen of Chapeltown weaves recognisable Leeds voices from the real life events of Carnival’s birth in 1967 into an exuberant snapshot of this significant moment in British history.

Following four West Indians as they arrive in Leeds, including founding Carnivalist Arthur France MBE, the production spans a journey through time seeing the Quarry Theatre transform from post-war Britain to the jubilant hosting of the first ever King and Queen Show. Surrounded by a company of community actors, a professional cast of five will share stories inspired by those involved in the inaugural Leeds West Indian King and Queen Show at Leeds’ Jubilee Hall.

Director Amy Leach

This newly commissioned play is written by leading BBC Radio Producer, author and historian Colin Grant and directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Associate Director Amy Leach, with dramaturgy by actor and broadcaster Burt Caesar, and movement direction by West Yorkshire Playhouse Associate Artist Pauline Mayers.

Queen of Chapeltown


Posted in Arts & Culture, Community News, TheatreComments (0)

Unique Radio/Theatre Collaboration, “Partition” Marks Defining Moment in India’s History

Vanessa Nuttall, Celia Hutchinson, Mez Galaria, Stefan Escreet, Balvinder Sopal, Darren Kuppan, Dominic Gately and Nick Ahad. Photography by Jacob Tomlinson

West Yorkshire Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds have collaborated to present Partition, a unique radio broadcast and live performance marking the 70th anniversary of the division of India and creation of Pakistan.

This specially commissioned radio play, written by Leeds writer and established arts journalist Nick Ahad, explores the devastating legacy of a religious division which cost around a million lives.

Enacted from the perspective of a modern day couple, Partition explores how the history of the Indian sub-continent continues to tear families apart many years after the events of 1947. As Muslim Saima and Sikh Ranjit prepare for their wedding hate threatens to destroy their union. Will love or hate prevail?

Partition will be broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds (and a number of other BBC local radio stations) at midnight on 14/15 August, marking the exact time when the British partitioned India 70 years ago. It will then be performed live in the Playhouse’s Courtyard Theatre from 8 September.




Posted in UncategorizedComments (0)

Community Chorus Rehearses Grapes of Wrath at WYP

A 40 strong community chorus is in rehearsals for the stage adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic The Grapes of Wrath, at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 24th May.

Involving performers from across Yorkshire, the community ensemble pays homage to the play’s themes of community and migration, representing and reflecting the local community.

Recruited through open auditions held in March, some of the company are also involved in Playhouse activity such as the Theatre of Sanctuary refugee programme, the Youth Theatre and First Floor programmes for young people.

Following the run the community ensemble participants will have the chance to create a brand new piece of work piece with a professional writer and director, which will be performed as part of Open Season, West Yorkshire Playhouse’s annual festival of community performance.

“We are delighted to have found a group of 40 fantastic individuals to take part in this show, not to mention the six young people from our Youth Theatre”, said Alex Ferris, WYP’s Director of Creative Engagement. “This story is so pertinent  – it’s been fascinating to hear everyone’s take on the themes in rehearsals and how much they’ve taken the story to heart.”

Critiquing America’s Great Depression and brought into a contemporary light with a live band playing throughout, Steinbeck’s legendary The Grapes of Wrath is given a modern twist by director Abbey Wright.

The Grapes of Wrath, Quarry Theatre

Wed 24 May – Sat 10 June,

Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online wyp.org.uk

Posted in Arts & Culture, TheatreComments (0)

The Playhouse and Curve Theatre Present ‘The Graduate’

‘The Graduate’, adapted by Terry Johnson and based on the novel by Charles Webb, is currently at West Yorkshire Playhouse and running until Saturday 27th May, and I urge you to go and see it.

Directed by Lucy Bailey, it is a co-production by West Yorkshire Playhouse and Leicester’s Curve Theatre and captures 1960’s comfortable, suburban California so well. Benjamin has just graduated. He finds himself disillusioned by the world of his parents and is easily, if awkwardly and guiltily, seduced by their neighbour, Mrs Robinson, played to perfection by Catherine McCormack. She is a bored alcoholic, trapped in a loveless marriage and she delightedly plunges him into a world of sensual hedonistic pleasure which sets them both on a thrillingly destructive course.  Of course, Mrs Robinson has a lovely daughter and when Benjamin actually falls for her the gloves are off!

“The Graduate is a satire on the values and lifestyle of middle class suburban America”, said Lucy Bailey. “The world seen through Benjamin’s eyes is a heightened surreal version of reality, at times grotesques and absurd. It’s a coming of age play – painfully funny and deeply human.”

Catherine McCormack, best known for her roles in the ‘Braveheart’ with Mel Gibson, and ‘Spy Game’ with Brad Pitt, plays Mrs Robinson and is a joy to watch. In fact the entire cast is brilliant, though one criticism I heard was that perhaps Benjamin, played by Jack Monaghan, was a little overplayed, but I didn’t find that. Yes, he made you feel a little uncomfortable but he was meant to as he wrestled with his conscience, tried to avoid his parents questions, took Elaine (the daughter) on an excruciatingly awful date to a strip club (cue twirling nipple tassels!), found himself falling in love and having to explain that to Mrs Robinson….her husband….his parents….Elaine!

Very funny, sad and quite insightful. Don’t miss it!


Photos: Manuel Harlan

Posted in Arts & Culture, TheatreComments (0)

CONTAINED at WYP: Rethinking Disability


Mind the Gap's production of Container at the Mind the Gap Studios at Lister's Mill in Bradford.


Mind the Gap, England’s largest learning disability theatre company, begins the tour of new show CONTAINED at West Yorkshire Playhouse Friday 10 – Saturday 11 March.

Starring nine learning-disabled performers, including Liam Bairstow (Coronation Street, ITV) and Jez Colborne (Irresistible, London 2012 Olympic Games), who’s original score and lyrics feature in the show, CONTAINED presents nine interwoven true stories about family and friendships, love and loss, the everyday and the extraordinary.

Liam Bairstow in CONTAINED. Photo by Tim Smith

Combining live performance, film, photography, music and dance, CONTAINED explores those small moments in life that suddenly become meaningful: moments that teach us about ourselves and the world that we live in.


Mind the Gap's production of Container at the Mind the Gap Studios at Lister's Mill in Bradford.

Directed by Alan Lyddiard (Anniversary, West Yorkshire Playhouse 2016) in collaboration with award winning photographer Denis Darzacq and Mind the Gap, this gritty, honest and thought-provoking show reflects the lives of people with learning disabilities in today’s society.

A series of free events for anyone who has purchased a ticket to CONTAINED will run alongside the show, including workshops, discussion events and an exhibition.

Box office 0113 213 7700   Book online www.wyp.org.uk




Posted in Arts & Culture, TheatreComments (0)