Leeds dress rehearsal for plucky pig

Babe is coming to the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Babe is coming to the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
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The star of a new production of Babe – the pig that wanted to be a sheepdog – paid a visit to a real farm ahead of its opening night.

The puppet, which is controlled and voiced on stage by an actor, was snapped alongside real life pigs and sheep at Temple Newsam’s Home Farm.

A spokeswoman for the West Yorkshire Playhouse, which will host the production next week, said: “The loveable Babe went on to rub noses with one of Home Farm’s Middle White piglets, getting well acquainted with his real-life counterparts in preparation for opening night.”

Babe was adapted from Dick King Smith’s 1983 novel, which inspired the 1995 Oscar-winning film.

Meanwhile animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wrote to the theatre and suggested it stop serving meat on account of the show.

Kirsty Henderson, PETA’s senior campaigns coordinator, said: “Many of the young children who will cheer for Babe would be horrified to learn that hot dogs are made from pigs like him.

“Babe shows others that he’s not a piece of bacon or a ham sandwich but rather an individual with emotions and the ability to feel pain. What better way to honour the play’s message than by serving plant-based meals?”

A West Yorkshire Playhouse spokeswoman said: “Our café restaurant and coffee shop serve a range of foods including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options.”

Earlier this week food manufacturer Belling released research that suggested Leeds was the vegetarian capital on the UK, with 40 per cent of people surveyed identifying themselves with the label.

Babe runs from February 15 to 18 at the Quarry Theatre.

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