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Theatre of Sanctuary

Theatre of Sanctuary

Support for refugees and asylum seekers

In 2014 West Yorkshire Playhouse became the first ever Theatre of Sanctuary, a public statement and recognition of our commitment to being a place of safety, hospitality and support for refugees and asylum seekers.

We work closely with refugee organisations and with volunteers from the refugee and asylum seeker community in Leeds to offer a range of creative and practical projects, and we extend a warm welcome to the Playhouse community.

We have a dedicated programme of work during Refugee Week consisting of seminars, performances and workshops and throughout the year we offer a number of tailored and bespoke projects.

Download our Theatre of Sanctuary Brochure

Our Theatre of Sanctuary projects

  • Asmarina Voices: Women's Singing Group

    Our singing group for refugee women meets weekly during term time. Sessions are informal and fun – a chance to relax, socialise and sing together. Members don’t have to come every week and no experience is necessary. There are occasional opportunities to perform at special events, to go and see shows together or to attend other projects.

    Refreshments and help with travel to and from sessions are provided, and children are welcome to come and play.

    Sessions are free and run every Friday at 1pm-2:30pm during term time:

    17th January – 14th February

    6th March – 3rd April

    All sessions take place at:

    First Floor
    6 St Peter’s Building
    St Peter’s Square
    LS9 8AH

  • Finding Your Voice: Speaking with Creativity and Confidence

    These informal workshops are designed to help refugees and asylum seekers, and those working with them, to create a presentation or testimonial for public talks to groups, meetings or interviews. They also explore preparation, relaxation and public speaking techniques and offer plenty of opportunities to share experiences and tips with each other.

    For further information please contact Ruth Hannant on 0113 213 7295 or email

  • Conversation Café: Practise your English speaking skills

    In collaboration with our Older People’s Programme and Refugee Council, we currently run a conversation café where Heydays members meet with Refugees and Asylum Seekers over a cup of tea and coffee. Creative ways are used to spark conversation and promote people to practice their English language skills in an informal, comfortable setting.

    Conversation Café runs every Thursday during term time from 10.30am till 12:30pm.  For more information about Conversation Café please contact our Older People’s Outreach Officer Sam Mckay at or call 0113 213 7292.

    Find out more about Heydays
  • Hearts Youth Group: For Young People

    Hearts youth group is a partnership project with the Children’s Society, designed for young people aged 14 – 21 who are refugees or asylum seekers. The project offers a weekly drop-in session with activities including creative arts sessions, social time, life skills and advocay support from a Children’s Society key worker.

    The team work with the current members of the group to identify activities and subjects they would like to explore, and the team build the programme each term based on this.

    For more information, or to get involved, contact Shreena on 0113 213 7236 or email

    Find out more about Playhouse Youth
  • Freedom Project

    Freedom Project brings together the UK’s first two Theatres of Sanctuary. Written with unaccompanied child
    refugees and asylum seekers living in Leeds and London, this poignant story welcomes you to explore what it means to be free in this country.

    Freedom Project will run at the Playhouse between 12 – 13 June.


    Take part in Freedom Project

    We are running free workshops for young refugees and asylum seekers aged 16 – 22 to take part in Freedom Project.

    What makes you feel free?

    Meet us and help us develop a play that will be performed in Leeds and London in June.

    Travel expenses can be covered and refreshments will be provided.

    Drop-in Sessions:

    7 – 21 February, Mon – Fri, 11am – 3pm

    5 March – 2 April, Thursdays, 4.30pm – 6.30pm

    6 – 9 April, Mon – Thurs, 10am – 3pm


    If you have any questions at all, want more information or feeling a bit unsure please contact Shreena on 0113 213 7236 or

  • Free tickets

    We offer free tickets for Playhouse productions to refugees and asylum seekers.

    For further information about this or any of our Theatre of Sanctuary work please contact Ruth Hannant on 0113 213 7295 or email

    See what's on

What is Theatre of Sanctuary?

Major funders
Arts Council England Leeds City Council The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation
Principal Capital and Families Partner
Caddick Developments
Principal Capital and Access Partner
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors