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Slam poetry to Shakespeare – What’s Coming Up at West Yorkshire Playhouse

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang started at West Yorkshire Playhouse
West Yorkshire Playhouse

West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Spring/Summer season brings together the city’s urgent and intimate stories, creating collaborations with exciting and emerging creative talent from across the UK.

Staging fresh new work alongside celebrated classics, each production asks distinct and important questions about the current cultural landscape, as well as the identities and place of the audience in the city and the world.

Next season’s highlights include Quarry Theatre opener, Amy Leach’s Romeo and Juliet.This major new production captures the impact of raging intergenerational conflict and social unrest in a sharply resonant present-day setting.

The season culminates with two pieces of work inspired by young people from the city -Barber Shop Chronicles which is co-produced with the National Theatre and Fuel, and Ode to Leeds, by local playwright, Zodwa Nyoni. Both pieces are colourfully and lyrically told, reflecting both writers’ experience in Leeds.

·         Amy Leach (Kes, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Little Sure Shot, West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Unicorn) directs Shakespeare’s tragic masterpiece Romeo and Juliet – an extraordinary first love ignites amid a vicious turf war on a modern-day Northern estate

·         The Playhouse’s Artistic Director James Brining blends music and spoken word in Ode to Leeds, an uplifting and poignant new play by Zodwa Nyoni (Boi Boi Is Dead, West Yorkshire Playhouse) inspired by the incredible story of the city’s renowned spoken word poetry group, Leeds Young Authors

·         A radical new staging of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion by acclaimed director Sam Pritchard (Fireface, Young Vic, There Has Possibly Been An Incident, Royal Exchange) scrutinises class identity in a digital era

·         The world première of Barber Shop Chronicles by rising star Inua Ellams(Black T-Shirt Collection, the National Theatre, The 14th Tale, Fringe First winner) brings the heart and incisive humour of barber shops from Africa and the UK to the Courtyard Theatre in a co-production with the National Theatre and Fuel

·         In The Graduate two young people fight against the crushing expectations of their parents in celebrated director Lucy Bailey’s (Great Expectations, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Dial M for Murder, West Yorkshire Playhouse) stylish and darkly comic production

·         The Grapes of Wrath is a powerfully contemporary staging of John Steinbeck’sclassic American novel adapted by Frank Galati. Director Abbey Wright (The Mentalists, Wyndham’s Theatre, Dublin Carol, Trafalgar Studios) drives urgent questions about justice and equality in the present day

·         Lifeboat is the true story of two 15-year-old evacuees shipwrecked at sea and fighting for survival. Directed by Gill Robertson, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s production of Lifeboat will also tour to communities across Leeds, continuing the Playhouse’s commitment to reaching audiences city-wide

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