West Yorkshire Playhouse have revealed details of their forthcoming Autumn-Winter season of programming, including their “most ambitious” Christmas show to date, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.
James Brining, Artistic Director, explains: “This is a truly wide-reaching season of vibrant new stories, some well-known, some brand new, drawn from a rich range of perspectives across nations, cultures and histories, uncovering the new, the startling and the incredible through performance. Audiences will journey from accounts of Partition India, across great 20th century European classics from Germany and Norway, and back to post-war Leeds where West Indians dream of re-creating Caribbean Carnival in Chapeltown. Every piece is a fresh imagining; some respond to the social disjunctions that dominate today’s news headlines, some celebrate friendship and community, whilst also marking key historical moments in the living memory of the local and international communities in West Yorkshire and beyond.”
Partition (8th– 9th September) is the first in-house production of the season and presents an exciting collaboration between the Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds, for a radio broadcast and live performance marking the 70th anniversary of the fateful division of colonial India into two separate religious states. Written by Leeds writer and established arts journalist Nick Ahad and directed by Stefan Escreet, Partition explores the devastating legacy of a religious division which cost around a million lives, through the eyes of a modern day betrothed couple.
In celebration of Leeds Carnival’s 50th birthday, the Playhouse’s Associate Director Amy Leach directs Queen of Chapeltown, which will flood the Quarry stage from 12th – 15th September. A newly-commissioned play by Colin Grant, this exuberant snapshot documents the creation of Carnival, paying vibrant homage to the city’s rich culture and celebrating the role of calypso and Carnival Queens in rooting West Indian heritage in Yorkshire. Queen of Chapeltown is part of a major week of artistic activity in the theatre for Leeds Carnival 50.
[The Fall of] The Master Builder (30th September – 21st October) is a reimagining of Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama for 2017. Playhouse’s Artistic Director James Brining directs Associate Artist Reece Dinsdale in the title role. Written by Zinnie Harris, this timely world premiere tells of a once great man whose past transgressions and abuse of power threaten to catch up with him.
The Tin Drum (17th – 28th October) is an imaginative re-telling of Günter Grass’s classic novel and explores love and war as musical satire, through the eyes of its exceptional and unreliable child narrator, Oskar. An adventure of protest, power and hope, The Tin Drum is directed by Kneehigh’s Artistic Director Mike Shepherd.
The world premiere of Pink Sari Revolution (7th – 11th November) is an impassioned protest through movement and music, against the tirade of female violence in modern-day India. Created by award-winning Indian and British Asian artists, this co-production with Leicester’s Curve and Belgrade Theatre Coventry is based on a true story of resistance, as documented in the celebrated biography by internationally renowned journalist Amana Fontanella-Khan and will be directed by Suba Das.
Crumble’s Search for Christmas (25th November – 30th December) is a family-friendly seasonal show created by the Robert Alan Evans. This charming festive adventure, which is perfect for 2-6 year olds, sees the mysterious Crumble escape hibernation and scurry up from the burrow for a night of wintry mischief.
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (29th November – 21st January) is a spellbinding new production directed by Olivier award nominee Sally Cookson. Transforming the Quarry into a theatre in the round for the first time, with design by the award-winning Rae Smith (War Horse), this enchanting story based on C.S. Lewis’s unforgettable book, tells of four war time evacuees who discover an icy kingdom through a magical wardrobe, in Sally Cookson’s inimitable theatrical style.
James Brining adds: “West Yorkshire Playhouse continues to work with the highest-calibre artists across the international performance scene. Sally Cookson, whose successes include Peter Pan, La Strada, and Jane Eyre with the National Theatre, will direct The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe in the first Quarry Theatre production in the round. Zinnie Harris has three productions at the Edinburgh Festival and Edinburgh Fringe this summer marking her status as a leading British playwright. Meanwhile, true originals, Kneehigh, are working with us to create a breathtaking re-telling of Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum, after their last sell-out Playhouse show, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips.”
Furnace Festival also returns this Autumn from 11th – 23rd September. Celebrating the best new work at all stages of development, the two-week-long festival is an eclectic celebration of new theatre, fresh ideas and audacious artistic voices from Yorkshire artists and beyond. Amongst the programme a host of Fringe First award-winners return to the Playhouse, including Rash Dash with the critically acclaimed Two Man Show and Daniel Bye’s new political thriller Instructions for Border Crossing.
James Brining: “Some of the most exciting, locally rooted productions in our previous seasons were developed by Furnace and showcased at our new work Furnace Festival in our studio. Returning for September 2017, the festival is a unique opportunity for artists and audiences to unite, sparking collaborations and nurturing the local theatre ecology.”
Visiting productions this year include: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (5th – 9th September), The Kite Runner (19th – 23rd September) Northern Broadsides’ For Love or Money (26th – 30th September) Reasons To Be Cheerful (10th – 14 October), Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday (24th – 28th October).
West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Autumn season opens with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas from 5th September and Partition from 8th September. For more details and to book online, visit wyp.org.uk or call the Box Office on 0113 213 7700.
Plans have also been revealed for the Playhouse’s new building and entrance programme. Find out more here.