Star-crossed lovers awaken in contemporary, urban Verona for epic Northern production of Romeo & Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Director Amy Leach
Designer Hayley Grindle
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Quarry Theatre
Press Night Wed 8 March, 7.30pm
Friday 3 March – Saturday 25 March 2017
West Yorkshire Playhouse transports Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy to a modern-day city for its first major production of 2017 in the Quarry Theatre.
Directed by Amy Leach (Kes, The Night Before Christmas, Little Sure Shot, West Yorkshire Playhouse) this fresh new staging captures the impact of raging intergenerational conflict and social unrest in a sharply resonant present-day setting.
West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Artistic Director James Brining said:
“Our Romeo and Juliet is a love story for 2017 – set in a pulsating, contemporary city where two communities live side-by-side, divided by hatred.
Our staging of this 400-year old play asks the audience to reflect on how we live together in the present moment; particularly as the UK goes about exiting the European Union.
Our productions are created in close partnership with our community work. Alongside the professional cast of the show, we’ve recruited a large community chorus from the theatre’s programme of activities for young people, including First Floor and Youth Theatre. This Young Company are integral to the production. There will also be a programme of school workshops around West Yorkshire run by our Creative Engagement team.
We want to inspire the next generation to fall in love with Shakespeare and to create a resonant and arresting re-telling for those already familiar with this classic work.”
Director of Romeo & Juliet, Amy Leach said:
“My first visit to the West Yorkshire Playhouse was over twenty years ago to see Romeo and Juliet as a young teenager, and it’s a story I’ve loved ever since. No play captures the headiness of young love, passion and fury better than this, and I want to create a production that’s rooted in Leeds, inspired by the people and places I’ve known both as a young person growing up in the North and as a professional Director.
Over the last year, I’ve had the pleasure to direct the Community Tour of Kes for the Playhouse as well as working with the brilliant young people who attend the Youth Theatre and First Floor. Our production of Romeo and Juliet is inspired by these young people and by the communities of Leeds, and I’m delighted that our Young Company will play such a significant role at the heart of this production.
Romeo and Juliet is a play about the division between two families and asks us all how we define and divide ourselves both in this city, the country and the world. I am thrilled to be creating a fresh, visceral and emotional Romeo and Juliet for this time and place.”
The role of Romeo will be played by Dan Parr. Dan’s theatre credits include The Kitchen Sink, New Vic Theatre, and Hamlet, Barbican. Dan also starred as Billy in West Yorkshire Playhouse’s 2016 production of Kes.
Tessa Parr will star as Juliet. Her most recent theatre credits include Unlimited Theatre’s Playdough and Live Theatre’s The Soaking of Vera Shrimp. Tessa also starred as Dorothy in Northern Stage’s 2015 production of Wizard of Oz.
Starring alongside them is TV star Natalie Anderson as Lady Capulet. Natalie is best known for her role as Alicia in Emmerdale, and has also starred in Wicked on the West End.
Joining them are Jack Lord as Lord Capulet (The Mist in the Mirror, Oldham Coliseum and Rock of Ages, ATG Productions), Keiran Flynn as Montague (War Horse, National Theatre), Jeff Alexander as Prince (Words, Bristol Old Vic), Ciaran Kellgren as Paris (Kicking and Screaming, Tangled Feet), Susan Cookson as Nurse (Big Talk for ITV’s Cold Feet), Tachia Newall as Tybalt/Apothecary (Come Closer: Speak What You Feel, Royal Exchange Theatre), Elexi Walker as Mercutio (Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles, York Theatre Royal), Olwen May as Friar (Richard III, West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Lawrence Walker as Benvolio (My Mother Medea, Unicorn Theatre, and the BBC’s Our Girl).Back to all blog posts