Leeds City Varieties in legal action over show

CANCELLED: The City Varieties, above, where a production of Ruby and the 13th Door,  which was written and composed by ex-Waterboys member Martyn Swain has been cancelled.

CANCELLED: The City Varieties, above, where a production of Ruby and the 13th Door, which was written and composed by ex-Waterboys member Martyn Swain has been cancelled.

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The producers of a new show written by an ex-member of rock band The Waterboys are suing a Leeds theatre after it cancelled their production just weeks before it was due to play.

The Magical Opera Company’s Ruby and the 13th Door was scheduled to play at the City Varieties Music Hall for a week from Tuesday.

The production, written and composed by ex-Waterboys member Martyn Swain, was developed, says the company, with the help of outgoing City Varieties general manager Peter Sandeman.

But in a statement, the company said the show had been pulled, against its wishes, by new general manager Ian Sime.

“With no offer of revised dates or compensation in the air, the Magical Opera Company now intends to take legal action,” the statement went on.

Mr Swain said the “abrupt decision” in June to cancel the shows had come as a “complete shock”.

“Mr Sime took matters into his own hands, with very limited knowledge of our production and no offer to reschedule dates,” he said

“The disruption has been unnecessary, regrettable and costly but we’re hoping to make a positive announcement about dates at a new venue soon.”

Mr Sime told the YEP: “We believe that with less than 13 weeks before opening night Ruby was not going to be ready for our audiences. This occasionally happens in the world of commercial theatre”.

The row is the latest development in an event-packed year for the City Varieties.

Previous manager Peter Sandeman - who oversaw a £9.9 million refurbishment of the historic music hall - was made redundant after a restructuring process, after 24 years in post. His departure prompted a furious backlash from some.

In July, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the renovated theatre as part of Her Majesty’s Jubilee Tour.

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