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Artwork for The Importance of Being Ernest. On a blue background, a silhouette of man's head with afro hair is at the left. At the right is the show title.

Leeds Playhouse Autumn/Winter 2022 Season – an eclectic mix of captivating entertainment and creative opportunities

Leeds Playhouse has revealed today the full range of ambitious productions that make up its exciting Autumn/Winter 2022 Season, showcasing creative collaboration, deep-rooted partnerships, and exciting and diverse voices from across the UK. The Playhouse continues to create world-class theatre, sharing stories from the heart of the community, staging fresh and invigorated revivals and premiering reimagined classics.

Chief Executive and Artistic Director James Brining said: “It’s wonderful that we’re finally coming back together – at home, at work, in our communities, in our city and across the region. As a theatre and a charity, we come alive and flourish most when we share our spaces – our ‘house’ – with as many people as possible. We’re just so pleased to be able to showcase the diversity and eclecticism which is at the heart of our Autumn/Winter Season.

“Our aim is to welcome the broadest possible audience by serving up a feast of entertainment, and a range of creative opportunities, so that everyone can find something that suits their cultural taste.

“We remain committed to the inspirational people we meet every single day from a multitude of communities across our region and beyond. Our Autumn/Winter Season reflects and enhances this commitment with a diverse range of captivating and engaging work. We’re also continuing our investment in the local community of artists and participants through Furnace, our Artistic Development programme, and through Creative Engagement, our award-winning creative programme for anyone aged 4 – 95.

“Leeds Playhouse co-productions are also still making a mark on the national stage, with JITNEY, our co-production with Headlong, opening at the Old Vic this month, and THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, our highest grossing festive production, created with Elliott & Harper Productions, running at The Gillian Lynne Theatre from July. Plus, you can still catch our hugely powerful production of OLIVER TWIST, co-produced in partnership with Ramps on the Moon, on National Theatre at Home until February next year, showcasing the national significance of this pioneering partnership in recognising access both on and off stage. It also underlines our vision to be authentically rooted in the lives of the communities which make up our brilliantly diverse city whilst also making work of national and international significance.

“We are, as always, grateful for the ongoing support of public funders, businesses, individuals and trusts who, together, ensure we can continue to produce great work both on and off-stage.

“We can’t wait to share this season. As ever, our aim is to throw open our doors to everyone in the wonderfully varied and exciting city of which we’re a key part. We’re inviting everyone to come in, have a cuppa, make themselves at home and join us for a season that celebrates togetherness.”

Leeds Playhouse Autumn/Winter 2022 Season begins with an energised retelling of Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST in a co-production between Leeds Playhouse, ETT and Rose Theatre. Directed by the winner of the 2021 Sir Peter Hall Director Award Denzel Westley-Sanderson, this fresh and contemporary take on Wilde’s sharpest and wittiest comedy will give audiences a unique insight into this timeless satire, reigniting their passion for this much-loved classic.
Courtyard Theatre: 5 – 17 Sep

“Touring is such a vital part of the theatre industry, and I’m excited to be a part of that, and to open the season at Leeds Playhouse with The Importance of Being Earnest,” said Director Denzel Westley-Sanderson. “Expect all the sass, shade, and wit this play has to offer.”

Natasha Gordon’s award-winning debut play NINE NIGHT is a touching and funny exploration of the rituals of the traditional Jamaican memorial celebration following a British-Jamaican family as they connect to mark the passing of their beloved matriarch. Directed by Amanda Huxtable, this co-production between Leeds Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse takes an incisive look at how we remember the people we love. The play holds a mirror up to family life – and loss – reflecting the heartfelt comedy and deep sorrow that occurs when we gather together to share memories, good food and long-held grievances.

Courtyard Theatre: 24 Sep – 15 Oct

Director Amanda Huxtable said: “It’s a real honour to make this heartfelt and funny play at Leeds Playhouse in co-production with Nottingham Playhouse. It’s a wonderful opportunity to work with my dream team on a project that I hope will encourage audiences who need a good laugh and a good cry to express themselves in the safe, supportive environment of the theatre.”

NINE NIGHT is staged in partnership with the OUT OF MANY FESTIVAL, which takes its name from the Jamaican national motto Out of Many, One People. Jamaica Society Leeds’ nine-month festival to celebrate 60 years of Jamaican independence will include art, exhibitions, family fun, film, literature and heritage events. There will be performances by high-profile national and international artists as well as grass roots community events showcasing Jamaican music and history. The Playhouse will host two other events, ROAD TO TROJAN and REBELLION TO ROMANCE as part of the festival.
Quarry Theatre: ROAD TO TROJAN 6 Aug
Quarry Theatre: REBELLION TO ROMANCE 22 Oct

Susan Pitter, Festival Director, said: “The Out of Many Festival is a rich celebration of Jamaica’s cultural impact on Leeds, the UK and indeed the world, and is particularly significant in this year celebrating 60 years of Jamaican independence. As well as the theatre production Nine Night, Leeds Playhouse will host two other events as part of the Festival which will pay homage to Jamaican music. Road to Trojan will chart Jamaican music history from ancestral roots to the emergence of ska and reggae in the 60s and the famed Trojan records era. Rebellion to Romance will showcase dub reggae and lovers rock as the soundtrack of the lives of second-generation Jamaicans and West Indians who grew up in Leeds in the 70s and 80s. The Out of Many Festival has over 60 events running from May to February and we look forward to people learning more about Jamaica’s artistic and cultural influence and legacy.”

Now in its sixth year, Ramps On The Moon is a pioneering initiative by leading regional theatres – including Leeds Playhouse – committed to putting deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of its work. For autumn 2022, Sheffield Theatres is taking the reins to create Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. This raucous romantic comedy, directed by Robert Hastie (Coriolanus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), will open in Sheffield ahead of a UK tour, arriving in Leeds in September. Every performance features integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning.
Quarry: 27 Sep – 1 Oct

Accessibility is an integral part of the Playhouse’s ethos. As a key member of Ramps on the Moon, it will host a symposium whilst MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING tours to the Playhouse, inviting artists and theatre organisations from across Yorkshire to a day of sharing and exploring the Playhouse’s learning as a proud Ramps venue.

Acclaimed rapper, beatboxer and Leeds-based playwright Testament (Black Men Walking, BBC Radio 4’s The Beatboxer) will revive ORPHEUS IN THE RECORD SHOP. This production between Leeds Playhouse and Opera North wowed audiences in 2020 both live in the theatre and as part of the BBC iPlayer series Lights Up. Restaged by Leeds Playhouse Deputy Artistic Director Amy Leach, it is an incredible, uplifting fusion of spoken word, beatboxing and live music by seven members of the Orchestra of Opera North. It includes collaboration with pianist and composer Taz Modi (Portico Quartet, Submotion Orchestra).
Quarry Theatre: 13 – 15 Oct

Leeds Playhouse’s skilled team of practitioners work with over 12,000 people aged 4–95 every year – connecting with refugee communities, young people, teachers and students, older people, people with learning disabilities, and with specific areas of the city – on an award-winning creative engagement programme of projects, workshops and opportunities for anyone based in Leeds and the surrounding areas.

Associate Director (Creative Engagement) Alexander Ferris said: “We want to make the Playhouse a truly welcoming place for the diversity of voices and experiences found in the City Region and, most importantly, we want the theatre to be place where people can connect – with us, with each other and with new ideas and experiences. We are beginning an exciting range of new partnerships in the city – from GP surgeries to grassroots community organisations – whilst continuing our regular programme of exciting activity including our Youth Theatre and Heydays. If anyone wants to find out more about the Playhouse, take part or just have a chat, we are here to connect.”

Through FURNACE, the Playhouse’s Artistic Development programme, a plethora of opportunities will continue for local artists including the return of the popular Bramall Rock Void Creation Space, new free Furnace Tuesdays drop-in sessions, and a new course exploring the Black British theatre canon in collaboration with Leeds University.

From September 2022, Leeds Conservatoire and Leeds Playhouse will embark on a new three-year partnership to create and deliver a range of academic and artistic activity, including the launch of a new MA in Dramaturgy – the first course of its kind in the Leeds City region – and a new Shakespeare in Schools project which will give students a key opportunity to work with the Playhouse team to showcase two short versions of Shakespeare’s MACBETH and TWELFTH NIGHT ahead of a two-week tour of local schools. These gripping 90-minute performances will be performed by the graduating actors from Leeds Conservatoire’s BA Acting and BA Actor Musician courses.
Courtyard Theatre: MACBETH 27 Oct
Courtyard Theatre: TWELFTH NIGHT 29 Oct

Leeds Playhouse’s annual FURNACE FESTIVAL returns this autumn. A kaleidoscopic week-long celebration of the work of its Furnace programme, the festival will include works in progress, play readings, workshops and talks, with every event Pay What You Can.
Bramall Rock Void: 7 – 12 Nov

Deputy Artistic Director Amy Leach said: “We are so proud of our FURNACE programme. Last year we delivered over 2200 sessions of artist development, connecting with over 1200 local artists and providing 23 paid placements to artists across a range of career stages and disciplines. We’re very excited about the opportunities we have on the horizon, about our new partnership with Leeds Conservatoire and about experiencing the rich variety of events on offer at Furnace Festival 2022.”

Families are at the heart of the theatre experience at Leeds Playhouse and this season is jam-packed with half-term treats and festive offers. As well as enjoying the theatrical delights on offer, families can make use of the theatre’s child-friendly facilities including its free creative play area, baby change and family toilets, highchairs and special catering options.

In October, IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE comes to Leeds as Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends return with their hit new show IGGLEPIGGLE’S BUSY DAY – where Igglepiggle follows a series of funny sounds to find his friends.

Local and much-loved theatre company Tutti Frutti head to Leeds Playhouse for an enchanting new play JACK FROST AND THE SEARCH FOR WINTER by poet and playwright Joseph Coelho. The production, directed by local artist Eleanor Manners and designed by Warda Abbasi, features important environmental themes, original live music and a touch of wintery fun. Eleanor is also part of Leeds Playhouse’s Creative Engagement team working with the Playhouse’s Youth Team where she leads on the satellite youth theatre in Chapeltown at RJC. Warda was Leeds Playhouse’s first Designer in Residence. This was a year-long role in partnership with Leeds-based theatre company tutti frutti, supported by the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme.
Quarry Theatre: IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE 7 – 8 Oct
Bramall Rock Void: JACK FROST AND THE SEARCH FOR WINTER 8 Oct

The city of Leeds will be infused with the scent of chocolate as Artistic Director James Brining directs a captivating new production of Roald Dahl’s devilishly delicious story, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – THE MUSICAL. The production will feature memorable songs from the iconic 1970s film as well as a host of sensational new tastebud-tickling toe-tappers as loveable Charlie Bucket wins the illusive golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory; a world where not everything is as sweet as it seems.

This Leeds Playhouse production, presented in association with Neal Street Productions & Playful Productions, is adapted from Dahl’s novel by David Greig, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It will premiere at Leeds Playhouse ahead of a National UK Tour.
Quarry Theatre: 18 Nov 2022 – 28 Jan 2023

Touching, funny and utterly original, Freckle Productions’ delightful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s STICK MAN is coming to Leeds in December. Jam-packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves, this award-winning production from the team behind ZogZog and the Flying DoctorsTiddler and other Terrific Tales, and Tabby McTat is set to engross all ages from start to finish.Stick Man © 2008 Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Published by Alison Green Books, an imprint of Scholastic Children’s Books.
Courtyard Theatre: 7 – 31 Dec

Each of the Playhouse’s three auditoriums will host visiting companies for Autumn/Winter 2022, highlighting the breath and scale of the world class theatre being created across the country. The sensational spectrum of productions includes: Northern Ballet’s THREE SHORT BALLETS (10 – 17 Sep), which will demonstrate their outstanding skill and dynamic flair as they embrace the choreographic talents of Dickson MbiStina Quagebeur and Mthuthuzeli November; the fierce, funny, and wonderfully frank, critically acclaimed podcast BROWN GIRLS DO IT TOO (12 Nov) named Best Podcast of the Year at the British Podcast Awards 2020 and Asian Media 2021; AM I INVISIBLE YET (26 Nov) featuring Dunstan Bruce, ex-frontman with chart-topping band Chumbawamba, in his new 1-hour play – a rollercoaster of despair, anger, love and ultimately hope; Back to Back Theatre, co-presented by Leeds Playhouse and Transform, presents THE SHADOW WHOSE PREY THE HUNTER BECOMES (2 – 5 Nov) – a rare opportunity to see this award-winning Australian theatre company in Leeds. Internationally acclaimed for their work with disabled performers and for challenging the notion of what is possible in theatre, their stories weave together the personal, the political and the cosmic.

Tickets are now on sale for THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, NINE NIGHT, ROAD TO TROJAN and REBELLION TO ROMANCE (both part of the OUT OF MANY FESTIVAL), IN THE NIGHT GARDEN – LIVE STICK MAN and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – THE MUSICAL.

Priority booking for the remaining productions opens on 7 June with general on sale on 14 June.

Click here to find out more

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Download BrochureAutumn / Winter 22
Download BrochureAutumn / Winter 22
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