Leeds’s own West Yorkshire Playhouse to change its name

James Brining. PIC: Tony Johnson
James Brining. PIC: Tony Johnson
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Theatre chiefs will today announce that the West Yorkshire Playhouse is to change its name.

From today the theatre, which is about to undergo a £14m transformation, will be known as Leeds Playhouse.

LEEDS PLAYHOUSE: How the revamped theatre will look.

LEEDS PLAYHOUSE: How the revamped theatre will look.

James Brining, artistic director of the Leeds theatre, said: “It’s a big day. It’s a moment, a new chapter in the history of the Playhouse.”

West Yorkshire Playhouse revamp cost to rise by £2m: Click here for more

The theatre closes tomorrow (June 23) following a final performance of Searching for the Heart of Leeds, a new community musical written by the BAFTA winning writer Mark Catley.

The theatre is due to reopen in Autumn 2019 with an entirely new look and layout and it will, from today, bear the new name of Leeds Playhouse.

The theatre has stood on the Quarry Hill site, opposite Leeds bus station, since 1990, but the history of a producing theatre in Leeds stretches further than that.

A theatre for the city, creating work, goes back to 1968 when a group of campaigners convinced a public meeting that this was what Leeds needed. The Leeds Playhouse, as it was then called, was created in a space at the city’s university.

The change from Leeds to West Yorkshire Playhouse came with a move to the building it now occupies, in 1990.

The management team are aware that today’s rebranding is going to ruffle feathers.

Robin Hawkes, executive director of what will now be known as the Leeds Playhouse, said: “What we are saying to our audiences is that we know you come from around Yorkshire and around the country, and our message is that we remain big and ambitious and expansive and open.

“Changing our name to reflect where we are is not a geographical retrenchment.”

The changes will be announced at a special event at the Playhouse today, with other announcements including the creation of a rep theatre company 
for the first time in over 20 years and more detail on the coming year.