Well, now that we are past Midsummer’s Day, the nights have started drawing in so it is time to look forward to the offerings from Leeds Playhouse to cheer us up and divert us from watching the digits on our smart meters increase quicker than the altimeter on Sir Richard Branson’s spaceship. Fear not, there is something for everyone.

Things kick off with a couple of events associated with Leeds West Indian Carnival which has sadly had to be postponed for the second year. There will be on-line events but you will have to make your own goat curry and peas and rice. On 22nd August at the Playhouse there is the Prince and Princess Show and on 27th August it is the turn of the King and Queen Show. Both will be celebrations of 54 years of the oldest West Indian Carnival in Europe with music and costumes to set the mood.

Freedom Project

Freedom Project was supposed to happen last year but, like so many things, had to be postponed. It now runs from 10th-18th September. Written by Luke Barnes and Alexander Ferris it combines drama with actual experiences as refugees Mo and Hossein relate the plight of unaccompanied minors seeking sanctuary in a foreign land. The piece is described as an ‘honest, reflective, challenging and funny production.’

Brooklyn Melvin in Oliver Twist. Photograph by Anthony Robling

A film of last year’s production of Oliver Twist is being streamed via Playhouse At Home from 25th October until 21st November so, if you didn’t make it to the theatre, now is your chance. Go to https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk/visiting-the-playhouse/at-home/ for details

With the recent sad demise of Norman ‘bites yer legs’ Hunter we will have to be satisfied with Count ‘bites yer neck’ Dracula, whose Untold Story runs from 25th September until 9th October. It is set on New Year’s Eve 1963 when, just before midnight, a young woman enters Marylebone Police Station claiming to be a witness to the destruction of Count Dracula some 65 years previously. It is a co-production between Leeds Playhouse and imitating the dog so expect something different.

Jitney

Another co-production, this time between Leeds Playhouse and Headlong, is Jitney which is set in 1977 when regular taxis refuse to go to Pittsburgh Hill so the locals have to rely on the unregulated cars of Jim Becker and his fellow ‘jitney’ drivers. Sounds interesting. Unlike the taxis, Jitney runs from 16th October to 6th November.

My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored

A third joint production, this time with Red Ladder Theatre Company and Oldham Coliseum Theatre, sees Leeds Playhouse stage My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored. It tells of the consequences following an attack by police on a 15 year-old boy outside M&S. It is written by Nana-Kofi Kufuor, directed by Dermot Daly, and is on 11th to 13th November.

OK, here is the one that we big kids have been waiting for – the Christmas Show – which this year takes us to Neverland with Ella Hickson’s Wendy and Peter Pan. The twist here is that J M Barrie’s classic is told from the perspective of Wendy Darling, sweetie. Leeds Playhouse’s yuletide offerings are usually amazing so please get your tickets as soon as you can. There are plenty of dates to choose from as the show starts its run on 18th November and continues until 22nd January.

Joseph Taylor as Valmont and Antoinette Borrkes-Daw as Madame de Tourvel in Dangerous Liaisons. Photograph by Emma Kauldhar

As well as the dramatic productions there are a couple of other highlights, Northern Ballet is presenting David Nixon OBE’s Dangerous Liaisons ‘ a story of sexual power, cruelty and deceit in 18th century France’. The piece is set to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia so it promises to be quite some event. It is on from 2nd to 11th September.

On 3rd December Phoenix Dance Theatre is presenting its 40th Anniversary Gala featuring a new collaborative work by company founder David Hamilton MBE and Artistic Director Dane Hurst. There will also be short new works and special guest performances.

All The Beds I Have Slept In

Finally there are works by; Phosphoros Theatre on 16th November called All The Beds I Have Slept In performed by a company of refugees exploring their precarious existence and the kindness of strangers; and a new durational work by Quarantine and Transform called 12 Last Songs on 22nd and 23rd October.

12 Last Songs

For further details and ticket sales please go to https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk/whats-on/

All photographs provided by Leeds Playhouse

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