Leeds Playhouse

Leeds Playhouse announce Spring/Summer 2023 season including new Roy Orbison musical

Leeds Playhouse has announced its Spring/Summer 2023 season which includes a new juke-box musical In Dreams and revivals of A Passionate Woman, Henry V and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

In Dreams, a new musical by David West Read (Schitt’s Creek, & Juliet) featuring the music of Roy Orbison will receive its world premiere at the Courtyard theatre, running from 1 July – 5 August 2023. The show reunites director Luke Sheppard and writer West Read, who worked together on West End and Broadway musical & Juliet. In Dreams refashions and repurposes Orbison’s songs into an original story about a woman trying to get her band back together again.

David West Read said: “When I was growing up in Canada, the iconic music of Roy Orbison was playing on repeat in my household, and it has been a lifelong ambition of mine to build a contemporary musical around his classic songs. To bring this show to the Leeds audience, in this theatre, in this moment, is quite literally a dream come true.”

In memory of one of Britain’s leading dramatists, Kay Mellor’s A Passionate Woman returns to the Playhouse 30 years after it was first staged in her home city, directed this time by Sameena Hussain.

Director Sameena Hussain said: “I am delighted to be directing A Passionate Woman and bringing it back to the Playhouse. It is an honour to be working on Kay Mellor’s exceptional play which celebrates and centralises Northern people, especially Northern women. Paying tribute to the magnificent and magnanimous generation of women to whom we owe so much, this is a much-needed reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants.”

This intimate, deeply personal story of reinvention and rediscovery is a tribute to the much-missed luminary, giving audiences the chance to enjoy Kay’s entertaining, engaging and relatable work. (Courtyard theatre, 20 May – 10 June 2023). The production will be part of a series of events celebrating Kay Mellor’s trailblazing life, exploring the impact she had as one of Britain’s leading dramatists and the tremendous legacy she leaves.

A new production of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies will run at the Quarry theatre from 18 March until 8 April 2023. This Leeds Playhouse and Belgrade Theatre Coventry co-production presented in association with Rose Theatre will be directed by Leeds Playhouse’s Deputy Artistic Director Amy Leach (Macbeth, Oliver Twist).

Henry V by William Shakespeare will be performed in an intimate setting, exploring Henry V’s single-minded pursuit of power, and what it means to be English. Directed by Holly Race Roughan (Artistic Director, Headlong), the piece is a co-production by Leeds Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe and Headlong with Royal & Derngate, Northampton . Runs at the Courtyard theatre 9 – 25 February 2023.

John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men will be directed by Iqbal Khan in an intimate yet epic story about friendship and what it means to be human (Quarry theatre, 11 – 27 May).

The season also includes a dynamic new production Sinfonia as part 1001 Stories (24 April – 6 May); new children’s show Football Freddie by local company Fidget Theatre (31 May – 3 June); and, Open Season – a month long celebration of some of the best community theatre and creativity. 

“We all tell stories. It’s part of what makes us human, how we describe the world, understand the landscape around us and how we would like it to be. This season, we are sharing stories that are simultaneously deeply humane and sweeping in scope. Each speaks to the moment – to who we are today and what our hopes are for tomorrow,” said Artistic Director and CEO James Brining.

“Our principal aim is to welcome everyone to the Playhouse whether that’s to enjoy a piece of theatre or a piece of cake, to share a creative idea or partake in a creative opportunity. Over the Playhouse’s 52 plus years, it is the stories and life experiences of the people we meet each and every day – whether they are from communities across our region or if they are visiting for the very first time – who help to mould this theatre, this charity, into the space they need it to be.

“It was an honour to be named UK Theatre’s Most Welcoming Theatre 2022 and to be in such great company both nationally and locally. A massive well done to all the Yorkshire artists and theatres whose work was recognised. It demonstrates the commitment we have in the region to producing quality work, and to caring for our audiences, participants and artists.

“I’m also delighted to welcome Shawab Iqbal to the Playhouse as our new Executive Director. I look forward to working alongside him along with the rest of the Playhouse team as we remain committed to creating programmes of work for our communities. We’re continuing to provide a platform for local artists and companies to share intimate pieces of work in our Bramall Rock Void studio space; to take work on tour both locally to communities in our city, and nationally with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical; and to open up our building as a warm space for everyone. As a theatre and a charity built by and for the people of Leeds, our house is – and will always be – your house. So please join us as we share our stories, and our warm and welcoming theatre, with you this season.”

Touring productions which will also visit Leeds include: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Reflections of an Indian Dancer, Rapunzel, Room on the Broom, FRESH 2023, Quality Street, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Rush: A Joyous Jamaican Journey and Happy Birthday Sunita.

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📷 Main photo: Leeds Playhouse

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