Tag Archive | "West Yorkshire Playhouse"

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.

Partition

 

 

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The Hottest New Theatre Work with Furnace Festival at WYP


 

Furnace (11-23 Sept) is West Yorkshire Playhouse’s festival of locally created, small scale studio work which supports and develops writers, directors and actors born, raised or living in Yorkshire.

Celebrating the best new work at all stages of development, this two week-long festival is an eclectic celebration of new theatre, fresh ideas and audacious artistic voices from Yorkshire artists and beyond.

Amongst the programme a host of Fringe First award-winners return to the Playhouse, including Rash Dash with the critically acclaimed Two Man Show and Daniel Bye’s new political thriller Instructions for Border Crossing.

Other highlights include LittleMighty’s WOKE, a Playhouse co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre, Roundhouse and Camden People’s Theatre performed by World Record holding human beatboxer Testament; LUNG Theatre’s work-in-progress Trojan Horse, co-written and directed by award-winning playwright and former Playhouse Trainee Director Matt Woodhead; plus readings of new writing including Northern Soul by acclaimed playwright Jim Cartwright and The Annex by West Yorkshire artist Olivia Hirst.

A scratch night, skills workshops, conversations and events will also be held as part of the festival.

Festival listings

Scratch (11 Sept): An informal showcase of raw and untested performance ideas whereby artists at all stages in their careers are given a platform to explore and interrogate new projects.

Rachel Mars, Joke Translation Service (12 Sept): Performance maker and writer Rachel Mars presents this full-length work in progress sharing, in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Theatre of Sanctuary.

LUNG, Trojan Horse (13 Sept):
This full length work in progress sharing questions the consequences of pushing our country’s values of liberalism and tolerance to breaking point.

Olivia Hirst, The Annex (14 Sept): A full length reading of the smart, searing and funny new play by Pontefract-based writer and founding member of the award-winning Lost Watch Theatre Company.

Jim Cartwright, Northern Soul (15 Sept): A full length reading of renowned playwright Jim Cartwright’s (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Road) new work.

Daniel Bye, Instructions for Border Crossing (15 – 16 Sept): Leeds artist Daniel Bye returns to the Playhouse blending his trademark storytelling with a series of live interventions from the audience, the show itself being as unstable as the world it describes.

Transcreative, You’ve Changed (19 Sept): Written by award-winning transgender artist Kate O’Donnell and created with Lea Anderson (MBE), You’ve Changed shines a light on the ins and outs and ups and downs of transitioning through song, dance, hard-won wisdom and hilarity.

Nic Green, Cock and Bull (20 Sept): Presented in partnership with our neighbours Live Art Bistro, the Total Theatre Award winning Cock and Bull is a transforming choreography of words and a passionate speech of the body, underpinned with the real-time energy of political dissatisfaction and Tory tongue-speak.

LittleMighty, WOKE (20 – 22 Sept): Beatboxing, spoken word, storytelling and hip-hop classics as you’ve never heard them before, WOKE sees World Record holding beatboxer and rapper Testament unpick his own prejudices.

Rash Dash, Two Man Show (21 – 22 Sept): Winning a Fringe First 2016 Award and the Stage Award for Acting Excellence, Two Man Show is Rash Dash’s loud and raucous exploration of masculinity and patriarchy.

Mother’s Ruin, Hot Queer Smithy (23 Sept): A Mother’s Ruin and West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production, Manchester queer performance outfit Mother’s Ruin curate a kaleidoscopic cabaret of new work and debate on the final night of Furnace Festival.

The final night of Furnace Festival will see How We Tell Our Story (23 Sept), a launch evening reinvigorating the Playhouse’s Creative Engagement and Artist Development work.

 

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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

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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

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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

 

 

 

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Babe, The Sheep Pig Visits Temple Newsam


Babe

Babe, The Sheep Pig had his first taste of Yorkshire farm-life in preparation for a visit to West Yorkshire Playhouse.

 

Visiting Temple Newsham’s Home Farm, the plucky piglet with a talent for herding sheep put his skills into practice, rounding up the farm’s rare-breed flock and putting them safely away in their pens.

 

The loveable Babe then went on to rub noses with one of Home Farm’s Middle White piglets, getting well acquainted with his real-life counterparts in preparation for opening night.

 

Adapted from Dick King Smith’s 1983 novel which inspired the 1995 Oscar-winning film, Babe, the little pig with big dreams, features amazing puppets designed by Max Humphries (Chief Puppet Designer, Cirque de Soleil) and Dik Downey, with puppetry direction by Matthew Forbes (Associate Director in Puppetry & Movement, War Horse). Babe’s heart-warming tale of friendship, adventure and bravery is the perfect half-term treat.

 

Wed 15 – Sat 18 Feb

Quarry Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse

Suitable for all ages.

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

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Calling All Poets, Beatboxers, Spoken Word Artists and Performers: Open Auditions at WYP


WYP Auditions

 

West Yorkshire Playhouse is holding open auditions to meet poets, spoken word artists, performers, beatboxers and other exciting young artists from West Yorkshire, to act in its new production of Zodwa Nyoni’s Ode to Leeds.

Directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director James Brining, Ode to Leeds tells the story of five young poets from Leeds selected to compete at the world’s most prestigious international poetry slam competition in New York City. Fuelled by love, pride and passionate protest their words light fires to show the world who they are and what they can be.

West Yorkshire Playhouse is keen to hear from people from all backgrounds and levels of experience; both from those with acting experience and those without. Whether you’re taking part in open mic nights, competing in hip hop battles, busking on corners or just writing poetry in your bedroom, we want to hear from you.

OPEN AUDITION DATES:

Saturday 4 February: 10am – 6pm, West Yorkshire Playhouse

Monday 6 February: 6pm – 9pm, West Yorkshire Playhouse

To find out more about the characters and request an application form please email auditions@wyp.org.uk or visit wyp.org.uk.

This opportunity is open to those aged 16+ who are no longer in full time education. The Playhouse is looking to cast characters between 14 and 18 years old; those auditioning need to look like they could be in that age bracket. Rehearsals will take place at the Playhouse between the 8 May and 10 June, with performances between 10 June and the 1 July 2017. All rehearsals and performances will take place at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

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Phoenix Dance Revives Nightlife at the Flamingo at WYP


 

Nightlife at the Flamingo. Photography by Brian Slater (1)

Phoenix Dance Theatre will open their Spring 2017 tour with a four-night run at West Yorkshire Playhouse. The thrilling programme which marks the end of the company’s 35th year anniversary celebrations features a new commission and a revival of one of the company’s earliest and most iconic works; Nightlife at the Flamingo.

Choreographed by Edward Lynch, who also danced in the original production, Nightlife at the Flamingo premiered in Leeds in 1983, under the Company’s first Artistic Director David Hamilton.

Originally set in an American nightclub, Nightlife at the Flamingo integrated popular culture and modern dance and was performed by five dancers. For this revived anniversary performance it has been re-imagined by Edward Lynch for an intergenerational cast which features ex-Phoenix dancers and current company dancers along with the company’s Youth Academy. Fusing Jazz, Soul and Lindy Hop this dazzling piece captures the atmosphere of a 1940’s American Dance Hall.

Nightlife at the Flamingo. Photography by Brian Slater

Alongside Nightlife at the Flamingo Phoenix present the premier of Calyx the company’s very first internal commission under the directorship of Sharon Watson. Calyx is choreographed by Company Dancer Sandrine Monin who was awarded the commission following the company’s inaugural Choreographers and Composers Lab in 2015. Sandrine’s appointment comes at a time when female choreographers are in the minority, often expressing difficulties in developing their careers as choreographers. Calyx is inspired by and based on the book of poems ‘The Flowers of Evil’ by Charles Baudelaire. The work explores the themes of beauty, desire and decadence.

Beast. Photography by Brian Slater (1)

To complete the programme the company present Beast by Leeds based choreographer and ex company dancer Douglas Thorpe. Beast immerses the audience into the darkest reaches of the mind, using six dancers in a performance that is as powerful and brutal as it is beautiful. Exploring the darker side of the human psyche, Beast’s broken choreography requires extreme strength and articulation, giving the piece an often disjointed and fragmented look. Intimidating and uncompromising, this challenging piece is an unforgettable, captivating piece of theatre.

Beast. Photography by Brian Slater

 

“In 1989 I was one of the first female dancers to join the Company and it is a privilege to lead the Company in these challenging but artistically vibrant times.” said Sharon Watson. “Recommissioning NightLife at the Flamingo is a nod to the company spirit, and affirms the Phoenix Dance Theatre’s deserved place as prominent agents for change in the arts. It is right that we recognise just how revolutionary the Phoenix phenomenon is and the ground-breaking work the Company’s early members achieved. The commissioning of a new piece by a current Company Dancer is a continuation of this spirit. Many female choreographers have expressed difficulties and frustration as they find it more and more challenging to secure any form of investment to support their careers as choreographers. This is a significant commission, sending a clear message to the dance world that Phoenix is committed to driving diversity in the sector”.

Book online www.wyp.org.uk

Box office 0113 213 7700

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Pygmalion at WYP


press-images-ss17-season-pygmalion-withtitle

 

‘The science of speech. That’s my profession. I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.’

How far do accents define us? Is status still dictated by our mother tongue?

Sam Pritchard directs a radical new staging of Bernard Shaw’s acute comedy Pygmalion, a hilarious and poignant tale of two opposites, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, trying to find a common language.

Shaw’s celebrated play was first staged over 100 years ago and is recognised as one of the most enduring and perceptive of comedies. In this audacious new staging, Sam Pritchard playfully carves a contemporary world on stage using sound and video technology which examines class identity and questions how far accents and speech can define us in Britain today.

Pygmalion is a co-production between West Yorkshire Playhouse, Headlong and Nuffield Southampton Theatres. This is the third year that West Yorkshire Playhouse has partnered with Headlong, following their acclaimed co-productions of Spring Awakening in 2014 and The Glass Menagerie in 2015.

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Courtyard Theatre

Saturday 4 – Saturday 25 February 

https://www.wyp.org.uk/events/pygmalion/

 

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Strictly Ballroom – Another Superb Hit for West Yorkshire Playhouse


'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

The totally fabulous ‘Strictly Ballroom The Musical’ is at the West Yorkshire Playhouse until Saturday 21st January and, if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you get a ticket! The show is so funny, colourful, and with great music and dancing. Everyone left smiling from ear to ear after a prolonged standing ovation.

This is the first time that Baz Luhrmann’s musical (which followed on from his play and worldwide best selling film), has been performed outside Australia. A co-production by Global Creatures – the team behind Walking With Dinosaurs, How To Train Your Dragon, and King Kong – and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Strictly Ballroom is captivating for all ages.

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

 

The show is all about finding the right partner in life. It is the inspiring story of star-crossed lovers from different ethnicities, one a championship ballroom dancer who defies all the rules to follow his heart. It features numbers such as ‘Love is in the Air’, ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ and ‘Time After Time’, as well as several new songs by internationally acclaimed artists including Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect.

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

Like millions of dancers across the world, director and choreographer Drew McOnie was inspired by the movie as a young dancer – and recently his dazzling choreography for ‘In The Heights’ earned him the 2016 Olivier Award.

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

“I am incredibly excited about the dynamic and diverse company we have put together to create Strictly Ballroom”, said Drew. “It literally comes from all over the world. There was no compromising on casting, and it was very difficult as there had to be a level of authenticity.”

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

The role of Fran is played by Gemma Sutton, who starred in ‘Gypsy’ and ‘The Go-Between’ in the West End. Sam Lips, as Scott, recently starred on Broadway and is making his UK debut. And, two familiar faces from The Playhouse’s 2015 hit musical ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ are Tamsin Carroll and Stephen Matthews who will play Shirley and Doug, Scott’s parents, the ambitious mother who runs the local dance school and her henpecked husband whose past achievements are finally revealed.

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

Fran’s father and grandmother are of Spanish origin – a great opportunity to introduce a little flamenco from Fernando Mira, Australia’s foremost flamenco dancer. One of the most touching scenes is with Fran and her grandmother, played by Eve Polycarpou, when they sing ‘Love is a Leap of Faith’.

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

Julius D’Silva’s Barry Fife, with his particularly mobile hair-piece, was quite hilarious; Richard Grieve as co-owner of the dance school, was excellent; and Charlotte Gooch as Tina Sparkle….sparkled! The whole cast was superb and the show delighted everyone in the audience.

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

“I want people to walk away knowing that they have seen a brilliant story, not solely a dance show”, said Drew. “I would like people to feel inspired and leave with a revised sense of ambition.”

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

I think they certainly did that! Don’t miss this chance to see another great show at The Playhouse. It’s touching, very funny, and you just won’t want it to end!

 

'Strictly Ballroom' Touring Production

“We’re thrilled to have such talented and experienced performers at the Playhouse”, said James Brining, Artistic Director, West Yorkshire Playhouse. “We pride ourselves on producing exceptional musical theatre and we are building a reputation for showcasing world-class musicals here in Leeds. Strictly Ballroom follows on from the huge success of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is still touring nationally.”

 

 

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