No actors and a show that lasts for 12 hours - Leeds Playhouse explores theatre of the future

A play with a difference is set to open at The Leeds Playhouse - there are no actors in it and it lasts for 12 hours.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:45 am

Saturday will see the world premiere of 12 Last Songs, a new durational work by ensemble Quarantine, in co-production with Leeds’ international performance festival Transform.

Quarantine, is known for its forensic interest in daily life and making a fleeting portrait of society, in what becomes a part epic durational performance and part live exhibition of people.

It has been created with the people of Leeds, there are no actors in 12 Last Songs, but there is a portrait painter, dog groomer, drone pilot, coffee roasters, a community worker and Muslim chaplain, a midwife, an Amazon picker, a plumber, a hairdresser and Alex Sobel, the MP for Leeds North West.

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Adam Aslam who plays a Muslim Chaplain and Youth Worker at Leeds Playhouse for the World Premiere of 12 Last Songs.

Over the course of a day, they will do shifts on stage at The Playhouse to showcase what they do in their every day lives and jobs.

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The play lasts for 12 hours and audiences are welcome to attend all of it, or part of it, or to come and go throughout the day as they please during the performance which starts at midday and is on until midnight.

Richard Gregory, co-artistic director at Quarantine, said: "If our work has done anything (over the 22 years the company has been going), it is that we work with people that you would not normally see on a stage and just being interested in and seeing and hearing from people you might not see in a theatre space.

Orange Ibreck (left) the Artist at Leeds Playhouse for the World Premiere of 12 Last Songs drawing the portrait of Ella Otomewo, one of the performers on the set.

"I have been thinking about this for two and a half years, and it had nothing to do with work at first, but how can we create a situation where we get people to spend time with each other under the same space?

"We have spent a year and a half being isolated and we can gather together now and see what lives have been like. Theatres are important public spaces if we use them in that way."

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The theatre being prepared for Saturday's performance of 12 Last Songs.