The West Yorkshire Playhouse have announced their programme for the Spring-Summer season of 2014. The season presents a bustling programme of work which charges across the vast plains of Steinbeck’s America, through the twisted landscapes of Brecht and Wedekind’s Europe, returning right back home to Alan Bennett’s Leeds.
Artistic Director James Brining has invited daring artists and provocative companies, both as collaborators and visitors, to re-imagine the work of Steinbek, Brecht, Wedekind and Alan Bennett, promising popular, inventive work that speaks to the city of Leeds and the country, at this very moment.
Collaborations with inspiring artists such as Anya Reiss, the groundbreaking directors Jenny Sealey and Pete Rowe, brilliant younger theatre-makers Ben Kidd and Rebecca Gatward, the composer and performer Heather Christian, and the distinctive voices of Lemn Sissay, Alan Bennett, Benjamin Zephaniah and Maxine Peake. We also kick-start long-term creative partnerships with the award-winning Headlong, Graeae and Opera North, alongside a whole host of leading British theatres and companies.
The Playhouse is also sowing the seeds of a dynamic artistic life off-stage as well as on. Working with the JMK Trust’s Young Directors’ Regional Programme, Oran Moor, our Associate Companies RashDash and Unlimited Theatre and our own extensive artist development schemes, the Playhouse wants to create a climate of genuine exploration and real possibility for a new generation of theatre artists and for the community as a whole.
Confirmed highlights for the season include:
Of Mice and Men, imagined for the Quarry stage by Mark Rosenblatt in collaboration with Mississippi-born musician Heather Christian and designer Max Jones. Reimagining John Steinbeck’s literary classic for the epic Quarry stage, this timeless story of friendship, isolation and hope is told in a visually striking production featuring a haunting live score by Avant-Americana musician Heather Christian a collaborator on the multi-award-winning Mission Drift, recently seen at The National Theatre’s Shed. Mark Rosenblatt joins the Playhouse from the National Theatre Studio. His recent directing work includes Wild Oats at Bristol Old Vic and the critically acclaimed Alexander Masters’ Stuart: A Life Backwards by Jack Thorne which opened at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before transferring to Sheffield Crucible.
The Tiger Lillies: Lulu – A Murder Ballad, an Opera North and Playhouse co-production inspired by Wedekind’s striking writing and performed only as the Tiger Lillies can.
A return of the critically acclaimed Refugee Boy in the Courtyard ahead of a UK wide tour.
Wedekind’s classic Spring Awakening is developed in partnership with Headlong and Nuffield Southampton in a new version by Anya Reiss and directed by Ben Kidd (7 – 22 March).
The Threepenny Opera takes to the Quarry stage in a co-production with Graeae and other key regional venues. This fully accessible production brings Brecht’s beggars classic bang up to date, directed by Jenny Sealey and Peter Rowe (24 April – 10 May).
An Alan Bennett programme includes a diverse range of his work beginning with Enjoy directed by James Brining, the regional premiere of Untold Stories directed by Mark Rosenblatt. The beautifully crafted Talking Heads will play both in the theatre and on tour in communities throughout Leeds.
Betty Blue Eyes makes its regional debut in a touring co-production with Mercury Theatre Colchester, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Salisbury Playhouse arriving at the Playhouse from 11 June – 5 July.
Actor Maxine Peake makes her debut as a stage writer with her inspirational play Beryl, about Morley cyclist Beryl Burton as part of Yorkshire’s Tour de France celebrations.
The Playhouse will also be exploring its own relationship with disabled artists and performers in a Threepenny Opera Response Week in the Courtyard from 29 April – 2 May. Leading artists will work together to explore further the possibilities and opportunities created and provoked by integrated casting.
The Playhouse’s annual festival Transform returns with another programme of new and explosive performance, held over one weekend from 27-30 March. As part of Transform 14 four artists will create new work which will be presented alongside productions from some of the most innovative and creative touring companies from across the UK.
For more details about the West Yorkshire Playhouse’s extensive programme for the next season, contact the box office To book tickets call box ofice 0113 213 7700 or visit www.wyp.org.uk.