Former homeless man goes from the streets to the stage in Leeds

Josh Holroyd outside West Yorkshire Playhouse
Josh Holroyd outside West Yorkshire Playhouse
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A former homeless man from Leeds has turned his life around as he moves from the street to the stage.

Josh Holroyd, 21, from Leeds, is set to perform at the West Yorkshire Playhouse this June.

The Searching For The Heart Of Leeds Band

The Searching For The Heart Of Leeds Band

His show, ‘Searching for the Heart of Leeds’, is a performance of real-life stories collected from the words of over 200 Leeds residents.

The Playhouse Community Company will perform these tales and share their own personal take on where to find the heart of Leeds.

Josh is now a resident at Emmanus Leeds, a charity which gives homeless people a home and meaningful work.

It was there that he offered the chance to audition for the show despite having no other experience of theatre bar a show he watched as a child and didn’t like.

Josh said: “I went to the audition because this year I decided I needed to say yes to new opportunities and do some new things in life. The first audition just clicked, I really liked it and when I was chosen to be part of the cast, out of nearly 200 people, I was so pleased. It was a huge boost to my confidence.”

I’m used to speaking to people that are like me, but I am talking to all different types of people and I’m really enjoying it.

You can never see where this could take me, but I’d love to do more projects like this in the future.”

Joanne Stafford, Projects & Events Leader at Emmaus Leeds, said: “We are so proud of Josh. It was brave of him to step out of his comfort zone and do something he’d never experienced before.

I hope this is the start of many more new and positive experiences for him.”

Over 70 talented individuals from the community will take part in the production performing in roles both offstage and on.

They will be alongside a live community band and a host of community choirs from Leeds.

The shown is being choreographed by the Phoenix Dance, directed by award-winning director Alexander Ferris and written by BAFTA award-winning Mark Catley.

Searching for the Heart of Leeds runs from Tuesday 19 June to Saturday 23 June at West Yorkshire Playhouse. For more information and tickets visit