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Leeds Playhouse’s Furnace Festival

October’s festival champions locally-rooted artists and showcases award-winning work.

Harry Egan and Charlotte Bate in Blackthorn. Photography by The Other Richard.

In association with SOYO Leeds, The Furnace Festival is back at Leeds Playhouse from 2nd to 6th October — offering a new programme of local talent and award-winning work which reflects the dynamism of the theatre’s new pop-up space.

Furnace is Leeds Playhouse’s artistic development programme. As a creative hub and artistic beacon for the North, the theatre supports and develops locally rooted artists at all stages of their career.

At the heart of the festival are two, unmissable new shows: Selina Thompson’s multi-award-winning exploration of grief, ancestry and the Transatlantic Slave Triangle, salt.; and Kilburn-born Charley Miles’ richly atmospheric and lyrical debut play Blackthorn, which was a finalist for the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn prize in 2017.

Leeds Playhouse New Work Producer Gilly Roche said: “The Playhouse building might be undergoing redevelopment but our Furnace activity continues to glow red-hot. We support, develop and champion local artists throughout the year in a myriad of different ways and we can’t wait to celebrate this work at Furnace Festival 2018.”

Two further events complete the Furnace Festival programme: Spark to Stage – a conversation about process, plays and procrastination between Blackthorn writer Charley Miles and Leeds Playhouse Associate Artist and Olivier Award-winning playwright Stef Smith; and Young Company Scratch, a work-in-progress performance from members of the Playhouse’s eclectic and dynamic in-house Young Company.

Find out more about the full Furnace Festival programme at


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