Leeds Grand Theatre: Cleese to Calendar Girls on the bill

An ecletic mix of performers will take to the stage at the Leeds Grand Theatre in 2011, with managers unveiling a programme they hope will keep the box office booming despite the economic downturn.

Ex-Python and Fawlty Towers creator John Cleese, former Wet Wet Wet frontman Marti Pellow, ex-Neighbour, pop star and jungle inhabitant Jason Donovan and cruiseship-singer-turned-Loose-Woman Jane McDonald are just some of the big names on their way to Leeds in the New Year.

But the something-for-everyone mix includes everything from ballet to brass bands as well as a substantial helping of top-class drama.

Among the shows expected to fill the 1,500 seat auditorium are a stage version of the hit BBC series Yes, Prime Minister, which starts in February, starring Simon Williams as Sir Humphrey and Richard McCabe as Jim Hacker.

John Cleese arrives in the city with his Alimony Tour in June, while a stage version of Calendar Girls - Linda Bellingham, Lisa Riley, Ruth Madoc and Joe McGann - begins in March. Jason Donovan takes the role of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music in June.

Marti Pellow leaves his pop roots in the past with a starring role in Jeckyl and Hyde in July while Jane McDonald steps back into the limelight as a singer for one night only on June 1.

Other musical treats include the Solid Silver 60s Show starring Wayne Fontana and The Merseybeats, a production of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and an evening of acoustic covers with popular Irish band The Dubliners - all in March.

A run of Evita has been scheduled in for July while Ben Elton and Brian May's We Will Rock You is expected to raise to roof of the recently-restored theatre next November.

Performances of Journey's End in May, Blood Brothers in July and Agatha Christie's Verdict in August provide the essential drama.

Visit: www.leedsgrandtheatre.com or call the box office on 0844 848 2706.

Leeds, Sweet street, 28th March 1979'LIGHTING'Mr. Eddie Mullan, a lift engineer at the City of Leeds Public Works Department, Sweet Street, gives a last polish to one of the four old gas lamps that are to be sent to Germany.

Leeds nostalgia: Bits of old Leeds sent to Germany... in 1979