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Ode to Leeds at West Yorkshire Playhouse

A stirring new play inspired by the power of poetry and strength of local voices.

West Yorkshire playhouse has announced details of a powerful new play by Zodwa Nyoni, inspired by the Leeds’ renowned spoken word poetry group, Leeds Young Authors.

Spoken word, music and movement are celebrated as five young people find their voices and forge new friendships as they pursue their dream of reaching America’s Brave New Voices slam poetry competition in New York. But their route to success is undermined by personal rivalries and inner demons which threaten the team’s very foundations.

Powerful, passionate, angry and open-hearted, Ode to Leeds is an inspiring portrait of young people who care about their world and want to change it through art.

James Brining, Artistic Director, West Yorkshire Playhouse, said: “When I heard about Leeds Young Authors’ annual trips to the US’s top slam poetry competition, I knew this was a story I wanted us to tell. Zodwa’s play takes the city we love in all of its diversity and finds in it the passion, anger and hope of youth. Its energy and vitality as well as the power of its language make this a poetic love letter to Leeds, where there are limitless stories and where its stories have no limits. Zodwa Nyoni is an exceptional talent whose rhythmic, lyrical writing makes this tale of the everyday into something epic. It inspires you to see the city anew; a moving portrayal of Leeds, language and love.”

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Writer of Ode to Leeds, Zodwa Nyoni, adds: “Ode to Leeds connects where I began [poetry] with where I am now [theatre]. It’s the story of a group of young people trying to make sense of the world, who find themselves and become the voice of their city.”

Ode to leeds is at West Yorkshire Playhouse from Saturday 10th June – Saturday 1st July 2017. Book online at or call the box office on 0113 213 77 00.


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