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Barnbow Canaries (2016)

  • Venue: Courtyard Theatre
  • Duration: N/A
  • Age Guidance: Guidance 11+
  • Other: Contains strong language. Contains scenes of war and of a sexual nature. Post Show Discussion Wed 22 June
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More Information on Barnbow Canaries (2016)

As the Great War gathers pace, Agnes and her sister Edith revel in their new-found independence and prosperity as Barnbow lasses. Not only does their danger money buy them a new life of confidence, men, work and politics but the thrill of a new future, full of fun, friendship and freedom.

In the wake of the catastrophic 1916 explosion, the women discover the true cost of the cry for ‘More Shells!’ Alice Nutter (My Generation) brings her unique voice to this incredible story of Yorkshire grit, determination and solidarity, marking 100 years since the largest ever single loss of life in the history of Leeds.

Accessible Performances

Audio Described
Wednesday 29 June 7.45pm
Saturday 2 July 2.30pm

BSL Interpreted
Tuesday 28 June 7.45pm

Friday 1 July 7.45pm

On Thursday 30 June before the evening performance of Barnbow Canaries there will be a special pre-performance event in the foyer area, with performances from John Smeaton School and the Chorus of Barnbow Canaries, to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Make sure you arrive early to watch the event from 6.30pm – 7pm.


Community engagement for Barnbow Canaries
supported by 

Jimbo Fund Logo

Associate Production Sponsor

Bellway logo

Cast & Credits

By Alice Nutter / Director Kate Wasserberg / Designer Mark Bailey / Lighting Designer Katy Morison / Casting Director Kay Magson / Composer, Musical Director and Sound Designer Dyfan Jones / Movement Director Lucy Hind / Fight Director Rachel Bown-Williams of Rc-Annie Ltd /

West Yorkshire Playhouse

  • Jade Ogugua
    as Swifty
  • Tilly Steele
    as Edith
  • Peter McGovern
    as Victor
  • Jo Mousley
    as Florence
  • Colette O’Rourke
    as Agnes
  • Joseph Tweedale
    as Bertie/Doctor
  • Dominic Gately
    as Parkin
  • Kristin Atherton
    as Sparrow


“ Nutter writes with power and conviction of the many injustices that these women suffered”

- The Stage

“ A poignant tribute... beautifully written”

- The Yorkshire Post

“ Barnbow Canaries is a poignant performance that tugs on the emotions”

- The Reviews Hub

“ Full of heart and female solidarity, Nutter’s script puts the lives of ordinary working-class women on stage with linguistic verve”

- The Guardian

“ Visually startling sequences”

- The Times

“ Nutter skilfully conjures the cultures of friendship, resistance and celebration which grew up amid such appalling dangers”

- The iPaper
Discover more about the history behind the production and the real Barnbow lasses. Download learning resources
  Women at Work - Opportunity for Schools West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills and University of Leeds have joined together to offer a unique and exciting opportunity for schools to support our upcoming production Barnbow Canaries. Workshop Parts One & Two Venue: Armley Mills Museum Time: 10am - 12.15pm Part One Join experts to explore the lives of women at work in wartime through a curator-led gallery tour and source investigation based on material from the museum and the University collections. Part Two Take part in a drama workshop that explores the lives of women at work in wartime through improvisation, physical theatre and movement based activities. Part Three* Matinee performance of Barnbow Canaries Venue: West Yorkshire Playhouse Time: 2pm Available dates: Thur 23 June Thur 30 June Thur 7 July Price: £150 +VAT per group (maximum 30), not including cost of ticket per person for Barnbow Canaries For information or to book a workshop contact Aoibheann Kelly, Creative Education Manager 0113 213 7204 School Tickets Part Three To book in your tickets for Barnbow Canaries contact Box Office 0113 213 7700 *Please note groups must arrange their own transport from Armley Mills to the Playhouse for the matinee performance

Book Tickets

Captioned Performance

Open captioning allows theatre goers with varying degrees of hearing to view the full text as it is spoken or sung, including sound effects and off stage noises. These appear on a scrolling screen, positioned on or at the side of the stage.

British Sign Language Interpreted

A signed performance is the usual full production using either the creative use of sign integrated into the performance or a British Sign Language Interpreter on stage interpreting the show for D/deaf attendees.

Audio Described

Audio Described performances are designed to improve the experience of visually impaired and blind attendees. As well as listening to the dialogue on stage the customer can wear a headset and listen to a live description of the action on stage.

Relaxed Performance

A relaxed performance is a specially selected show from our programme, with slight adaptations to make it suitable for an audience of young people or adults with learning disabilities. This may include extra lighting, additional wheelchair spaces and the freedom to move to alternative seating if required.

Dementia-Friendly Performance

Dementia friendly performances are for all audiences. The theatre experience is enhanced for people living with dementia and their supporters, with adaptations to front of house service, the show and pre-show information packs. Additional dementia-aware staff, quiet spaces, clear signage and visual markers, sound and lighting adjustments and flexible seating options all help to create a supportive, shared experience.

Sing Along

Singalong with the cast in this exclusive performance. Join in as loud as you like, fancy dress is optional but highly recommended.

Post Show Discussion

Parent & Baby Performance

A Parent and Baby performance enables parents to attend the theatre with their baby (under 12 months). We make small adaptations to the lighting and sound effects, including keeping the auditorium lights slightly raised. The seating is unallocated and there is a relaxed attitude to noise.

Booking Fees:

*A transaction fee of £1.95 will be applied to all phone and internet bookings.


  • Captioned - Captioned
  • Signed - Signed
  • Audio Description - Audio Description
  • Relaxed Performance - Relaxed Performance
  • Dementia Friendly Performance - Dementia Friendly Performance
  • Post Show Discussion - Post Show Discussion
  • Sing Along - Sing Along
  • Parent & Baby Performance - Parent & Baby Performance
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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