Theatre audiences have been spoilt throughout 2017 with a diverse range of programming from West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Grand, City Varieties, The Carriageworks, Stage@Leeds and more.
From dance to drama, musical to monologue, here are just some of the shows you shouldn't have missed throughout the year.
James Brining has been Artistic Director of West Yorkshire Playhouse since 2012. In addition to driving forward a bold new vision for the producing theatre, including a forthcoming £13m redevelopment of the building, James has directed several flagship productions, including The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Crucible, Enjoy, Talking Heads, Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Into the Woods and Ode to Leeds.
This season, James directs Reece Dinsdale in a contemporary adaptation of Ibsen's The Master Builder. We spoke to James amidst rehearsals prior to the show's premiere later this month.
Peter Straker is a legend of musical theatre, originating roles in Hair and Tommy, in addition to forging a vibrant career as an actor and musician. His collaborations include albums with Freddie Mercury, Roy Thomas Baker and The Alan Parsons Project.
Peter Straker’s Brel was a sellout sensation at last year’s Edinburgh fringe and this season he’s touring in a bold new version of The Who’s Tommy, produced by Ramps on the Moon and New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich.
I caught up with Peter between performances at West Yorkshire Playhouse to find out more about the show and his fascinating portrayal of the Acid Queen
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats pounces into Leeds Grand Theatre this week as part of a national tour. Following a revived engagement at the London Palladium, the record-breaking musical is back; offering its trove of iconic songs and magical dance routines with a few unique upgrades.
Improbable bring Opening Skinner's Box to West Yorkshire Playhouse this month. Adapted from the 2005 book by Lauren Slater, the play recalls the bold and bizarre history of some of the most extraordinary psychological experiments of the 20th Century.
This Spring sees one of the longest-touring musicals return to the Leeds Grand Theatre. The first major collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of the most celebrated musicals of recent years. Boasting stars such as Jason Donovan and Donny Osmond in the leading role, it has also proved to be a perennial favourite with families and particularly children.
West Yorkshire Playhouse presents Great Expectations in the Quarry Theatre, in a new adaptation by Michael Eaton. A tale of fortune, favour, identity and destiny, the play follows the story of a blacksmith’s apprentice as he is funded by a mysterious donor to become a wealthy gentleman.
Charles Dickens' celebrated novel has been adapted for stage and screen numerous times with variable success. Michael Eaton's new imagining for West Yorkshire Playhouse attempts to capture the gothic intensity of the novel and is directed with an equally dark intent by Lucy Bailey. One of the draws of Dickens is the detail in his writing, be it character or place, and Bailey's production embraces a love of stage business and detailed dressing to bring that world to life.
Frazer Hines has been performing for sixty years on stage and screen. His work has taken him from Doctor Who and Emmerdale Farm to movies with Charlie Chaplin.
I spoke to him in the run up to his performance in Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None at Leeds Grand Theatre. As one of Yorkshire's sons returns to Leeds, I learn about his role in the show, reflecting on the past and looking to the future.
In September 2015 I spoke to godfather of magic, Paul Daniels, whilst on tour with his Intimate Magic Show.
He reflected at length on a career which has encompassed comedy, drama, music, cult game shows and of course, illusion. A straight-talker with a cheeky warmth and Yorkshire charm, the world-famous magician radiated an infectious sense of humour in this candid interview.
Flying into West Yorkshire Playhouse for the festive season is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the musical adaptation from Ian Fleming's famous children's novel about an old racing car which takes on an adventurous life of its own.
Featuring a host of famous musical numbers from the 1968 film and the latter West End hit, the Playhouse present perhaps their biggest and boldest Christmas show yet. In a prudent move by Artistic Director James Brining, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is staged in the heart of the Winter season and offers a daring alternative to the usual festive fare. Presenting an iconic story that promises spectacle, stunts and nostalgic anthems, it is event-theatre which delivers in abundance.
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