Our artist development programme, which supports local creatives and helps to generate new work, is known as Furnace.
Leeds Playhouse today unveiled the full spectrum of performances and events on offer at the heart of its Autumn/Winter 2023 Season. From large scale musicals to intimate dramas, beloved children’s stories to mind-expanding conversations, the season showcases a variety of comedy, poetry, music and theatre, boasting a plethora of great entertainment to welcome people from across the Leeds City Region and beyond with an invitation to call Leeds Playhouse their home.
“’Home’ means something different to all of us and, this season, we are exploring many manifestations of this idea, through a diverse programme of performances in our three brilliant theatre spaces, our work to connect with people from communities across the city and our skills and learning programmes for artists and young people. More and more, we’re developing partnerships with individuals, groups and businesses across the Leeds City Region looking for a place to meet, hold an event or perform their own work, sharing different perspectives on what constitutes our ‘home’,” said Artistic Director and CEO James Brining.
“We’re exploring and expanding the ways in which our theatre building can be used and how we can create a warm and welcoming space in which people can thrive creatively. We continue to live through challenging times, and I recognise that part of our job is to offer entertainment and release, as well as the opportunity to explore and understand who people are in relation to each other, asking questions and discovering a variety of different answers.
“We are a crossroads for the city, a place where people come and meet each other as equals. It’s our pleasure to create theatre of the highest quality for audiences to enjoy, but that’s not our only role. We also want to listen to and learn from other people’s experiences and share those together in a way that helps build on the already strong bonds across the communities of the city.”
Highlights of the Autumn/Winter 2023 season include:
This 30th anniversary revival of Jonathan Harvey‘s iconic, coming-out and coming-of-age story set in the nineties, is about community, friendship, rites of passage and what it is to be sixteen and in love. Beautiful Thing is a touching, urban love story, full of warmth and humour. This Leeds Playhouse, Stratford East and HOME co-production tenderly explores first love on a South London Estate in the 90s. Courtyard theatre: 18 – 28 October
Artistic Director James Brining will direct Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, treating the city of Leeds to the hit musical for the festive season. The production will feature memorable songs such as ‘Food, Glorious Food’, ‘Oom Pah-Pah’, ‘I’d Do Anything’ and the angelic sounds of ‘Where is Love?’. There are even more reasons to consider yourself at home as the Playhouse transforms the Quarry stage into a theatre ‘in the round’. Quarry Theatre: 27 November – 27 January
An exciting new musical version of Roald Dahl’s children’s book The Enormous Crocodile, about a large hungry crocodile searching for a delicious child to have for tea, will bring global contemporary music, world-class puppetry and enormous amounts of fun. It is co-produced by Leeds Playhouse, the Roald Dahl Story Company and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. This marvellously moreish story features a playful, eclectic score by composer Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab (Sinkane), book and lyrics by Suhayla El-Bushra (Arabian Nights, Royal Lyceum Edinburgh; The Long Song, Chichester Festival Theatre and Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge) and additional music and lyrics by Tom Brady (The Butterfly Lion, Chichester Festival Theatre; Musical Supervisor; Arranger for Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre). It is developed and directed by Emily Lim (Everything, Company Three; Pericles, National Theatre).
Courtyard Theatre: 2 December 2023– 6 January 2024
Three major partnerships will present a variety of ideas, innovations and inspirations across all three stages:
Through Autumn/Winter 2023, Leeds Playhouse continues to play a significant role in supporting and nurturing the local ecology, presenting work from a diverse range of locally based organisations and artists:
During Autumn/Winter 2023, the Playhouse welcomes some of the UK’s leading theatre companies and artists to its stages. Productions include:
Furnace, the Playhouse’s Artist Development programme, continues to flourish with even more opportunities for Yorkshire-based artists. Applications open next month for the first of three Kay Mellor Fellowships. Created in memory of the legendary Kay Mellor in partnership with Rollem Productions, BBC and Leeds City Council, writers based in Yorkshire are being invited to apply for a year-long paid residency which includes time to develop their craft. In autumn comes a new Introduction to Set Design course supported by Jerwood Arts Developing Artists Fund with applications open over the summer. And November sees the return of the annual Furnace Festival, which will see a cacophony of sharings, rehearsed readings, workshops and panel events by local artists.
The Playhouse’s award-winning Creative Engagement team continues to work with over 12,000 people each year, delivering work with participants ‘on your doorstep’ and around the city as well as providing a warm welcome in the Playhouse building. This includes the continuation of work in partnership with Bellbrooke Surgery in Harehills, Leeds, offering wellbeing sessions for older people; creative performance projects for young people; a Conversation Café for people seeking sanctuary; and creative writing sessions for adults.
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