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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.

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:

    Friday 14th June 2019 – Friday 12th July

    Friday 27th September – Friday 25th October (please note that there will not be any sessions on 1st & 8th November).

    Friday 15th November – Friday 13th December

    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, 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 Wednesday during term time from 3:15pm till 4:30pm.  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 – 19 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
  • 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

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What is Theatre of Sanctuary?

Download BrochureAutumn / Winter 19
Download BrochureAutumn / Winter 19
Major funders
Arts Council England Leeds City Council The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation
Principal Capital Partners
Principal Capital and Access Partner
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors