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The dynamic dozen – say hello to the new Young Leaders at Leeds Playhouse

If you want to know what the next generation of arts facilitators looks like – here they are.

Leeds Playhouse has revealed its 2021 cohort of Young Leaders – 12 young people with a passion for the arts. They are kickstarting their careers on the year-long PLAYHOUSE YOUNG LEADERS course, which offers 18 to 25 years olds free training, support and a host of creative opportunities.

The course, which is funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, is run in partnership with Chapel FM, DAZL, Geraldine Connor Foundation, Mind the Gap, Leeds Libraries and Studio 12, who provide workshops alongside other local and national arts artists and arts organisations.

The young people on the 2021 course all have different interests, skills and experiences to share and develop. As well as attending regular workshops in a diverse range of subjects, including Identity & Lived Experience, Finding Your Facilitation Style and Artists as Entrepreneurs, the participants can also get involved in Leeds Playhouse projects and participate in meetings.

As the year progresses, the Young Leaders will design and deliver their own independent arts projects, fully supported by the team from the Playhouse.

Madeleine Thorne, Head of Playhouse Youth, said: “We have an incredible group of young people on the Young Leaders course this year. They are artists in their own right and, as well as learning from the training opportunities we are offering, they are also giving the Playhouse so much in return.

“We are so grateful to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation for funding this course, which we hope will equip these amazing young artists to enrich cultural life in Leeds and beyond for many years to come.

So, who are the Playhouse Young Leaders?

Keyhan was born in Germany but now lives in Bradford. She has a passion for radio, dance, broadcasting and music: “I enjoy working with creative people, meeting new people in the arts, and volunteering to help me widen and improve my skills.”

Devan is an actor and facilitator from Halifax, who’s moving to London for drama school: “I was blown away by the wide array of opportunities Leeds Playhouse was offering on the Young Leaders course, especially getting to work together to create a project for a group in the Leeds community.”

Kerry, originally from Kent, is a Keighley-based playwright currently developing her first full length play, Thyme Cafe. She was a writer on Freedom Studios’ Street Voices 8 and is a recipient of an ACE Developing Your Creative Practice grant: “I was drawn to Young Leaders as I’m really passionate about creating and delivering work that’s connected to working-class communities.”

Lucy is based in Barnsley, where she works as a performing arts teacher, freelance choreographer and founder of The Stage Hand: “I was drawn to the Young Leaders programme as I loved the idea of honing my skills as a practitioner and leader and getting to meet likeminded young people from across all sectors of the arts.”

Ginalda is a language graduate from Leeds, interested in poetry, writing, creating and performance: “Growing up in a bilingual household, I became fascinated with language and the various ways of communication. I was interested in the Young Leaders Programme because I saw many opportunities that would help me to develop my skills and prepare me for becoming an independent artist.”

Hamish is a professional drummer, studio musician and educator based in Huddersfield. Since graduating from Leeds Conservatoire, he has been involved in many projects in the UK and the USA: “I joined Playhouse Young Leaders as I have real interest in creativity and its impact within the community. I want to complement my pre-existing skills with new ones.”

Ada is an aspiring director and “general dabbler” in the arts: “I’m interested in physical theatre and its wonderful ability to tell stories. I’m a collaborative artist, looking forward to developing my directing style on the Young Leaders course.”

Laura is from Whitby but currently lives in Leeds. She’s a producer and aspiring arts facilitator who, since completing a foundation degree in electronic music production, has set up LEW Productions to curate a collective of artists interested in community engagement: “I was drawn to Young Leaders because of the amazing opportunity to network with likeminded creators from various art forms. I’m already obtaining priceless industry knowledge and connections to help excel in my career path.”

Cara-Mia is a poet and musician with a passion for analysing and interpreting art forms and media: “I joined Young Leaders because I wanted guidance and knowledge about how to share my skills in a variety of ways and how to encourage a diverse group of people through putting on workshops. I have also met a network of people across the arts and have a better understanding of the industry in Yorkshire.”

Kane, from Leeds, describes himself as a “baby polymath” with a keen focus on theatre, politics, and collaboration: “I wanted to be an actor and I’ve become something like a producer. I joined Young Leaders because I don’t think our education ever stops. This opportunity to keep learning, both from the Playhouse and from the people they invite from across different fields, helps to tickle my ever growing curiosity.”  

Marie is passionate about animals and psychology, with a future aim of creating a therapy farm: “I joined Young Leaders to meet likeminded individuals within the arts and also because I am the Organisation Assistant for RJC Dance, a charity in Chapeltown that runs sessions for young people, especially from BAME backgrounds, to build their confidence and resilience.”

Cam is a dancer from the West Midlands, currently living in Leeds and working as a Dance & Health Apprentice: “I love all the arts (but mainly dance) and am absolutely loving being a Playhouse Young Leader. The course has been very beneficial for all different types of my skills and I am very thankful for it.”


You can find out more about Leeds Playhouse’s Creative Engagement programmes for young people here.

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Download BrochureAutumn / Winter 21
Download BrochureAutumn / Winter 21
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