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Panel Discussion: Should We Have Great Expectations? (2016)

  • Venue: Other Space
  • Duration: 60
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More Information on Panel Discussion: Should We Have Great Expectations? (2016)

How far can a person from humble beginnings expect to travel in today’s society? 

According to the State of the Nation report 2013, ‘Disadvantage still strongly shapes life choices.’ Should we manage our expectations of social mobility?

This panel discussion is inspired by the production of Great Expectations

The panellists for this discussion will be: 

Fabian Hamilton, MP

Fabian Hamilton has been the Labour Member of Parliament for Leeds North East since 1997. Born in London in 1955, he went to school in Brentwood, Essex and the University of York where he graduated with a BA in Politics, Sociology and Economics in 1977. Fabian ran a graphic design and print business in Leeds for nearly 20 years before being elected to Parliament. In 1987, he became Councillor for Wortley ward in West Leeds and over the next ten years chaired Leeds City Council’s Race Equality, Employment & Economic Development, and Education Committees. He stood as Labour candidate for Leeds North East in 1992, coming second to the then Tory incumbent by 4,000 votes. In 1997 he won the seat by just under 7,000 votes and went onto win again in 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2015. He is now the longest serving MP in Leeds. Last month, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn appointed Fabian to his first Front Bench position becoming Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. His new responsibilities include sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian sub-Continent, NATO and the United Nations.

Sir Rodney Brooke

Sir Rodney Brooke was born in Morley. He left school aged 15 and went to work on the local paper, the Morley Observer. The highlight of his career as a reporter was when he interviewed a talking dog at the Spotted Cow in Drighlington together with a reporter from the Hebden Bridge Times, Bernard Ingham. He joined the Town Hall in Morley, worked his way up the local government ladder and in his 30s became Chief Executive of the West Yorkshire County Council, the third biggest authority in the country. When the County Council was abolished he became Chief Executive of Westminster City Council, resigned over Shirley Porter’s Homes for Votes gerrymandering and became the Chief Executive of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, the national organisation for the big cities. Since then he has chaired a succession of national bodies, including the General Social Care Council, the Electricity Consumers’ Council, and the universities watchdog, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. He has served on many other national bodies. He was appointed CBE in 1996 and knighted in 2007 for public service. He has been Chairman of West Yorkshire Playhouse for the last four years.

Khadijah Ibrahiim

Khadijah Ibrahiim was born in Leeds of Jamaican parentage. Educated at the University of Leeds, she has a BA Honours in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies and a MA in Theatre Studies. She is a published poet, live artist, poetry slam producer and practitioner of theatre for development. In 2001 she founded Sema Grass Roots theatre that produces the work of Leeds Young Authors to which, she is the Artistic Director. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s most prolific poets by BBC Radio, Khadijah has toured throughout the USA, Caribbean and Africa. She has presented her work at a number of international festivals and conferences alongside some esteemed artist and activists, such as poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and Civil Rights Activist Angela Davis. In 2010 she one of the first international writers to attend the ‘El Gouna Writers Residency’ in Egypt, the same year she toured South Africa and the UK with the British Council as part of the ‘Verbalized Poets’. She was amongst several poets invited to Buckingham palace, where the Queen and Duke honoured the work of Contemporary British poetry. Her recent collection Another Crossing was published by Peepal Tree Press 2014 and launched at West Yorkshire Playhouse. Khadijah is currently working towards her national live arts tour, and on her collection of poems based on Prince Alamayu the Ethiopian prince who died in Leeds 1879. Her new play A Sign of The Times centres on mental health and Wellbeing (a work in progress) featured at Furnace, West Yorkshire Playhouse in January 2016.



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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