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.
JB Priestley’s classic runabout comedy When We Are Married is at West Yorkshire Playhouse this month. Produced by Northern Broadsides and directed by Barrie Rutter, this colourful revival of a celebrated farce sings with Yorkshire warmth and bawdy cheekiness.
The story is a simple one. The year is 1908 and three well-to-do couples are celebrating their joint 25th wedding anniversaries. Over-indulgence is the order of the evening until the chapel organ player drops a shattering bombshell. Due to a ecumenical technicality, the couples were never officially certified as married; they have essentially been living in sin for twenty five years...
Sleuth is the first show to hit the Quarry stage this season. A co-production between West Yorkshire Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse, Anthony Shaffer's classic cloak-and-dagger thriller is re-imagined under the direction of Giles Croft.
Miles Richardson stars as Andrew Wyke, a scheming writer who stages a crime to ensnare his ex-wife's lover. James Alexanrous plays Milo Tindle, the cad tempted into an insurance swindle which becomes a devious game of cat and mouse - and murder.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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