Leeds City Varieties: Pupils wear period costume for theatre revamp visit

Dressed in Victorian costume are Libby Lynch and Megan Marson.
Dressed in Victorian costume are Libby Lynch and Megan Marson.
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LEEDS youngsters took a trip back in time as they learned about the bright future planned for one of the city’s best-loved landmarks.

Children from Cookridge Primary School dressed up in Victorian outfits for their visit to the famed City Varieties Music Hall.

The Grade II listed building has been closed to the public since January 2009 while it undergoes a £9.2m refurbishment.

But the Cookridge youngsters were given a glimpse behind the scenes so they could study the work in progress.

They met staff from scheme contractors BAM Construct UK and sketched eye-catching features of the venue, which dates back to the Victorian age.

Cookridge Primary’s assistant headteacher, Robin Llewellyn, said: “The children were almost in awe when they were speaking to these trained craftsmen about their jobs.

“What they learned will now feed back into work at school about the design and uses of theatres.”

Nev Jopson, marketing and publicity manager at the City Varieties, said: “The pupils definitely seemed to enjoy themselves.

“They certainly came armed with plenty of questions. They wanted to know about everything from the casting mix we’ve chosen to recreate certain mouldings to how many screws we’re using!

“I’m sure the interest the children showed will be mirrored by the wider public when we reopen.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund is contributing £2.74m to the cost of the refurbishment.

Leeds City Council is putting in £5.2m while a further £1.3m is being found through fundraising.

The green light for the project marked victory for the Yorkshire Evening Post’s The Shows Must Go On campaign, launched to try to secure the theatre’s future.

Due to reopen this autumn, ‘The Verts’ has played host to showbiz legends like Charlie Chaplin and Houdini and was the venue for long-running TV series The Good Old Days.



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