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.
From the makers of Britain’s Got Bhangra comes a new musical based on the 7th century romantic tale of Laila. Set against a Persian landscape with contemporary song and dance, it is a show which charts the tragic story of star-crossed lovers, 700 years before Romeo and Juliet.
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.
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.
West Yorkshire Playhouse opens a new season with its first in-house Shakespeare production for some time. Richard III is arguably one of Shakespeare's most brutal tragedies; a tale of jealousy and arch manipulation escalating in monstrous acts of violence, the play centres on a malcontent who will stop at nothing to gain access to the throne.
Tom Mothersdale dangles his bare feet in a moat of dark water as the audience take their seats. Behind him is a peeling stucco wall. "I have things up my sleeve,” he boasts. “But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion..." So begins the memory play which launched the career of Tennessee Williams, which is at West Yorkshire Playhouse this month.
Cast: Patrick Brennan, Katie Elin-Salt, Daniel Hawksford, Lauren Roberts, Rhys ap William, Bethan Witcomb
Director: Max Stafford-Clark
Writer: Robin Soans
Theatre: West Yorkshire Playhouse
Duration: 120 minutes
Start Date: March 31, 2015
End Date: March 4, 2015
National Theatre Wales and Out of Joint bring Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage to West Yorkshire Playhouse this month. Based on the life story of Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas, the play follows the team captain’s growth to stardom and his struggle to come to terms with a hidden identity.
A day prior to a huge game against England, Thomas receives a tipoff that tabloids are to splash a story outing the player as gay – something almost unknown in contact sport at the time. Following the breakup of a marriage and fearing that his sexuality will not be accepted, Thomas attempts to take his life. Deciding to face the struggles head on by working with his teammates and family, the pride of Welsh rugby eventually discovers a pride within himself.
Cast: James Gow, Chris Lew Kum Hoi, Dyfrig Morris, Jess Murphy, Robert Pickavance, Beverly Rudd, Paksie Vernon
Director: Max Webster
Writer: Roald Dahl adapted by David Wood
Theatre: West Yorkshire Playhouse
Duration: 95 minutes
Start Date: December 5, 2014
End Date: January 24, 2015
West Yorkshire Playhouse brings Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel James and the Giant Peach to stage this season.
James is an orphan living with his two acerbic aunts when a mysterious old man offers a bag of seeds which promise James amazing opportunities. When the seeds are spilt in the grounds of his home, a peach tree bears fruit the size of a house. Within the peach live similarly oversized insects who quickly become James’ friends on an odyssey across the Atlantic through sea and air.
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