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.
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
The Performance Ensemble and West Yorkshire Playhouse co-present Anniversary this month on the Courtyard stage. A collection of recollections expressed through movement, monologue and music, the play is performed by a cast aged 55 to 80 with a Dementia-friendly awareness for audiences.
The cast is composed of a collection of artists whose background in theatre ranges between several decades and several months, providing a vast scale of experience. What some of the performers may lack in formal training they make up for in charisma with a tender and tangible onstage honesty. Anniversaries of travel, separation, denial and death punctuate a showcase of ideas performed with a rare naturalism and pride. There is no set to speak of, the characters are real people, the memories true and painful, the laughter real.
Celebrating the music of The Beatles, Let It Be pulls into Leeds Grand Theatre this month. Tracing the beginnings of the Fab Four in Liverpool's Cavern Club to huge stadiums in the USA and beyond, the concert musical offers a host of classic hits from the band which helped shape popular music and defined a generation.
Let It Be tells the story of The Beatles through the songs which made the band a global phenomenon. Rattling through musical numbers at a breathless pace, the show covers a decade of hits in just over two hours, occasionally trimming numbers to provide a wealth of coverage.
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.
This month, Chichester Festival Theatre brings its new production of Guys and Dolls to the Leeds Grand. Opening on Broadway in 1950, the musical ran for over a thousand performances, winning a Tony Award before being developed into a legendary movie starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. Featuring a host of instantly recognisable musical numbers such as Luck Be a Lady, this new staging promises audiences a nostalgic, uplifting experience.
Guys and Dolls tells the colourful story of the prohibition era in New York. Alcohol and gambling is outlawed and petty crime rules the streets. Secret bars are rife and a subculture of men gamble with dice in the sewers. Above ground the drum-thumping Save-a-Soul Mission attempts to turn sinners to the light, led by the pious and beautiful Sarah Brown. Sky Masterson, a habitually slick gambler, accepts a wager to whisk a doll off to Havana and Sarah Brown becomes the mark. What begins as a bet soon blossoms into something else entirely different…
Musical adaptations of hit movies are a trend which seem to remain ever-popular. One of the latest is The Bodyguard, a big-budget staging of the 1992 movie sensation which swept Whitney Houston from popstar to global icon. This month, Alexandra Burke of The X-Factor fame takes on the role of Rachel Marron, as the musical stops of at Leeds Grand Theatre.
The plot couldn't be simpler: When superstar singer Rachel is subject to death threats from a mysterious stalker, Bodyguard Frank (Stuart Reid) is hired to protect the headstrong performer. Soon their tetchy relationship blooms into an awkward romance, with Frank choosing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Celebrating its 21st anniversary, Riverdance hits Leeds Grand Theatre this month as part of a national tour.
The Irish line-dancing phenomena began as a performance piece in Dublin, supporting 1994's Eurovision Song Contest. This year the expanded dance show celebrates a landmark anniversary with a tour showcasing a cast of dancers born in the year of Riverdance's creation.
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.
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.
A Night at