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Decades: 1970s/1980s/1990s/2000s/2010s/2020s

  • Venue: Courtyard Theatre
  • Duration: 3 hrs 10 mins
  • Age Guidance: 14+
  • Triggers & Advisories: Click here for details.
    Triggers & Advisories

    1970s/1980s/2000s: This production includes references to sexual violence and killings, bereavement and grief and living with chronic illness. It has themes of bullying and gaslighting. It also contains strong language.

    1990s/2010s/2020s: This production includes references to systemic racism and police brutality, themes of being displaced and enduring conflict and hostility, and living with chronic illness. It also contains strong language, use of drugs, and smoking (herbal cigarettes) on stage.

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More Information on Decades: 1970s/1980s/1990s/2000s/2010s/2020s

Decades: Stories from the City 

Six characters, six new plays, six directors, six compelling stories from the heart of Yorkshire.   

Commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Leeds Playhouse, from writers with strong links to the theatre, these new monologues feature characters firmly rooted in the North telling stories set in each of the decades.  

Powerful and insightful with biting Yorkshire wit, these are tales that reflect the spirit of the people, the city and the region, showing us who we are and how our lives have been shaped by the place we call home. 

Decades: Stories from the City will be an unmissable event that can be enjoyed live in the Courtyard Theatre at the Playhouse or online At Home. 


Decades: Stories from the City
1970s / 1980s / 2000s 

The Bodyguard 
by Simon Armitage
directed by James Brining 

We’ve got a new Prime Minister.  She’s got big blonde hair that lifts up at the front like a curl of butter on the blade of a knife. 

It’s 1979 and the air is thick with fear. 13 year old Wilf can’t stop listening to the news; it’s filled with reports of murder.  He’d rather stay home, but his Dad says he has to go and meet his Mum off the bus.  He ties his Docs up really tight so he won’t trip while he’s running down the lane and sings Anarchy in the UK under his breath.  So Jack doesn’t hear. 


Nicer than Orange Squash 
by Alice Nutter
directed by Evie Manning 

“Gaz says the government only give people dole to stop ‘em from rioting.” 

Loz has just moved to the big city from a small town, she’s trying to find herself, carve out a new identity as a woman, as a punk, as a radical. And her perfect new boyfriend might not be all he seems. 


The Unknown 
by Leanna Benjamin
directed by Amanda Huxtable 

Majestyk is going to be rammed. Yeah, I know I’m too old for clubbing. 

Since moving to Leeds, Sophia has had to adapt, in more ways than one. Now, athe new millennium arrives, she has to confront what the future holds and find a new way forward with her family. 


Decades: Stories from the City
1990s / 2010s / 2020s 

Don’t You Know it’s Going to be Alright 
by Maxine Peake
directed by Amy Leach 

“Spice Girls? Give me a break. I like Mel B though. Mainly cause she’s from Leeds and I reckon she’d be a right laugh.” 

What a year it’s been. Princess Diana’s gone and New Labour are riding high. Danny opens a can and remembers club nights, illicit partying and her family loyalties. What a trip.  


and after we sailed a thousand skies
by Kamal Kaan
directed by Sameena Hussain 

Is this the city for me? 

In this beautiful, poetic monologue, Layla remembers the motherland she left behind and asks if the city she has adopted will ever truly embrace her. ‘Where is home?’ she asks. 


Pie in the Bus Stop
by Stan Owens
directed by Tess Seddon 

What kind of grown adult doesn’t know how to make beans on toast? 

It’s a good place to sit and think. The bus stopThat’s what Jamie says, with his Mum demanding his constant attentionHe’s her carer. 22, living at home and holding down two jobs. But the lockdowns have got him questioning when he might have a bit of independence. 




Please note – Due to the demolition of the northern bridge on the Regent Street Flyover, the A61, A64(M) and A64 will be closed from 8pm Friday evening to 5.30am Monday morning over the weekends:
• 21-24 May
• 28-31 May
Diversions will be in place. However, the disabled parking bays for blue badge holders at Playhouse Square remain open for use.

If access is required, please talk to the traffic marshal on duty. Please allow extra time for your journey.

Cast & Credits

Set & Costume Designer Amanda Stoodley / Lighting Designer Kieron Johnson / Sound Designer & Composer Charlotte Bickley / Sound Designer & Composer Annie May Fletcher / Director (1970s) James Brining / Director (1980s) Evie Manning / Director (1990s) Amy Leach / Director (2000s) Amanda Huxtable / Director (2010s) Sameena Hussain / Director (2020s) Tess Seddon / Assistant Director (1970s & 2000s) Hassan Khan / Assistant Director (1980s & 2010s) Lladel Bryant / Assistant Director (1990s & 2020s) Mariyah Kayat /


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.

Socially Distanced

A guaranteed socially distanced performance provides seating with additional space between bubbles to allow appropriate social distancing.

Booking Fees:

*A transaction fee of £2.50 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
  • Socially Distanced - Socially Distanced
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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