How time flies. It only seems like a couple of weeks ago that I was at West Yorkshire Playhouse for the announcement that the name would change to Leeds Playhouse and that work was about to begin on a huge redevelopment project…
…and now there I was, at the Pop-up Theatre, being told that the 2019/20 Season would begin in October in the new theatre spaces which will have been finished by then. Rather than have a big bash launch, the new spaces will be opened in sequence.
To remind us of the calibre of the works showcased during the last season there was an extract from Dinner 18:55 and then looking forward, several interviews with those responsible for making, and acting in, the shows to come. When the new theatre opens, there will be four spaces instead of three and the area which has been used for the pop-up theatre during the renovation will be put to use as rehearsal rooms and areas. There will also be joint events with the newly opened Leeds City College next door.
The programme for the Courtyard Theatre will begin on 3rd October with Trojan Horse, in conjunction with LUNG Theatre Company. It tells of the experiences of people affected by the police operation of the same name which took place in Birmingham.
The new space to be named Bramall Rock Void will open with There Are No Beginnings, which is a story about the birth of the Reclaim The Night Movement in 1975 by the women of Leeds during the period of the Yorkshire Ripper murders, when they were told to stay indoors. The first performance of that is on 11th October.
Frank Skinner makes a stop with his Showbiz Tour on 24th October in the Quarry Theatre to get that up and running, whilst the Other Space kicks off with Influence on 31st October, an adventure story about technology and standing up for what you believe in.
Other productions in the season are versions of My Beautiful Launderette and Dracula, a ballet by David Nixon, whilst for the young theatregoers there is The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and for the very young a show called Snow Mouse. The brilliant Barber Shop Chronicles returns on 20th November to complete a world tour since its last performance in Leeds.
The Christmas blockbusters are up to the usual standard, with The Wizard of Oz at The Quarry and The Night Before Christmas in The Courtyard.
For full details of the season go to https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk/whats-on/
As I’ve already pointed out, there will be no grand opening, but several special events will take place at an Open Weekend on 11th to 13th October, so keep checking nearer the date for details.
All photographs by Stan Graham.