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.
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.
RashDash present We Want You To Watch at West Yorkshire Playhouse this month. Commissioned by The National Theatre, the script is penned by Alice Birch and examines the consequences of pornography in a digital world with the subsequent fallout from it being censored by a nation who appear addicted, desensitized and depraved.
When asking friends what their favourite movies are, you can be assured that somebody will wax lyrically about The Shawshank Redemption. Based on the story by Stephen King, the 1994 film regularly finds itself topping the lists of the most popular movies of all time. This season, a theatrical adaptation arrives at Leeds Grand Theatre as part of a national tour. Following a film held in such public affection, how does a new imagining for stage stand up to scrutiny?
Andy DeFresne (Ian Kelsey) finds himself incarcerated at Shawshank State Penitentiary with two life sentences for the murder of his wife and her lover. Befriended by Ellis 'Red' Redding (Patrick Robinson), Andy is inducted into prison life but inevitably succumbs to abuse and torment. It's the 1940s and corruption is rife throughout the prison system; by using his tact and illelect, Andy makes long-term plans for the perfect escape.
And Then There Were None comes to Leeds Grand Theatre this week as part of a national tour. Based on the record-breaking murder mystery novel by Agatha Christie, the play introduces ten individuals as they are lured to an island retreat and played a recorded message. The voice threatens to make them pay for a series of unspeakable crimes, assuring them that nobody will survive the duration of their stay. Soon the party realise that the killings in the house are being conducted by somebody within the group. The race is on to expose the murderer.
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