Fledgling graduating actors from Leeds Conservatoire are ready to take flight in a gripping double bill of Shakespeare classics performed on our epic Quarry stage.
Twelve students will be performing in Romeo and Juliet, directed by the Playhouse’s Associate Director Sameena Hussain, on Thursday 12 October, and 12 more will be taking to the stage on Saturday 14 October in As You Like It, directed by Alexander Ferris, Artistic Director and co-founder of The Working Party Theatre Company.
Sameena Hussain, Director of Romeo and Juliet, said: “I’m delighted to be working with this brilliant, brave and bold cohort of actors. It’s such a humbling experience to play a part in their learning and a privilege to be able to watch them transition from student to professional.
“Their skills and talent are beyond impressive as they embrace this familiar story and find new and exciting ways to make it their own. Add in the levels of care, kindness and inclusivity they show in their practise, and I can honestly say that working with them gives me incredible hope for the future of our industry.”
Alexander Ferris, Director of As You Like It, said: “It’s been pure magic to work with this talented group of actors and musicians to put our contemporary and accessible spin on Shakespeare’s classic comedy. I’ve no doubt that anyone who comes to watch will fall in love with the company – they’re funny, multi-skilled, smart, authentic and will take you on a journey of hidden romance, laugh-out-loud moments, and even a spot of wrestling.”
The exciting 90-minute productions mark the start of the second year of an ongoing partnership between the Playhouse and Leeds Conservatoire, two major cultural organisations in the city – and close neighbours on Quarry Hill.
As well as programming an annual Shakespeare performance by graduating drama students as part of the Playhouse’s Autumn/Winter Season, the partnership also includes an MA in Dramaturgy, delivered by Rio Matchett, Furnace Producer at the Playhouse, focusing on the development of new work and individual artistry through collaborative practice. The partnership gives students the invaluable opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a working theatre alongside the Playhouse’s professional team of artists and creators.
Erin Carter, Head of the School of Drama at Leeds Conservatoire, said: “The collaboration between Leeds Conservatoire and Leeds Playhouse is a testament to our shared commitment to nurturing emerging talent and promoting excellence in the arts. It speaks to our belief in the power of collaboration and the transformational impact it can have on emerging talent and the theatre sector in the North. The students starting their final year on the Quarry stage is the ultimate bridge to the profession.”
Amy Leach, Deputy Artistic Director at Leeds Playhouse, said: “We’re delighted to be embarking on a second year of our partnership with Leeds Conservatoire, a collaboration which has already yielded much learning, many successes and helped to strengthen the local artistic ecology. As we welcome the new MA Dramaturgy cohort, alongside the third year actor and actor-musician students, to the Playhouse building, we look forward to the brilliant dynamism they will bring, and the ways this unique partnership will continue to grow.”