My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you not one Leeds legend, not two Leeds legends but three, yes three, of the City’s icons combined for your delectation. I will deal with them in order of seniority so as not to offend – not like me, I know.
First is the City Centre landmark which is the Grand Theatre. It was opened in 1878 as a more upmarket answer to the ‘vulgar’ music halls which were usually based in pubs and so were rather raucous. It now hosts everything from musicals to opera.
Second we have Hyde Park Picture House a relative newcomer, being opened in 1914. It is a Grade II listed building and still has the original gas lighting although no longer in use. It is one of only two single screen cinemas in the City which at one time had over 70.
Third is the internationally renown writer and director Kay Mellor OBE. I am far too much of a gentleman to reveal her date of birth so will get to the point of this whole thing before I dig a hole from which I would not be able to extricate myself. Suffice it to say that she has penned several TV series including Fat Friends, The Syndicate, In The Club, Love, Lies & Records, Girlfriends as well as the aforementioned Band Of Gold which told the story of a young mother who was drawn into working in Bradford’s red light district.
OK I hear you say, but what is the link. Well, Kay Mellor’s stage adaptation of Band of Gold is premiering on Thursday, 28th November at, you guessed it, Leeds Grand Theatre. Fine, but where does the Hyde Park Picture House come into the, err, picture? I will tell you.
Running alongside Band of Gold Hyde Park Picture House is screening a short season of three of the films which have inspired Ms Mellor and so deserve a vote of thanks, as well as being well worth a viewing in their own right.
First up is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton from 1966.It is about a couple’s turbulent marriage so no prizes for the casting director there then.
The second is Capernaum a 2018 Lebanese film about a 12-year-old boy who sues his parents in protest at the life they have given him. It was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and also the Palme D’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where it received a 15 minute standing ovation.
Finally one of my favourite flicks of all time, Some Like It Hot. It stars Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon. It is a comedy about two men on the run from The Mob after witnessing The St Valentine’s Day Massacre. They disguise themselves as women and hit the road with an all female band, in which MM performs, and that is where their problems really begin.
So, if you want to see the latest production from one of Leeds’ own, the works which influenced her, and also the most fabulous and historic venues in the country then get stuck in.
Band Of Gold runs from Thursday, 28th November to Saturday 14th December at Leeds Grand Theatre. For more information and tickets please go to leedsgrandtheatre.com
Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? is showing on Saturday, 23rd November.
Capernaum is screened on Sunday, 1st December
Some Like It Hot can be seen on Sunday, 22nd December
All films are at Hyde Park Picture House and details can be found at hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk/season/kay-mellor-presents
Feature Photograph by Michael Wharley
Other non-credited photographs provided by Leeds Grand Theatre