Leeds Playhouse announces reopening season - and everyone's invited

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Leeds Playhouse will reopen its doors this October following a £15.8m redevelopment.

It means the city’s pioneering theatre will be fully accessible to everyone for the first time.

A full season of productions will take place across two rejuvenated and one new performance space, just 15 months since redevelopment work started.

Entirely transformed, it is hoped Leeds Playhouse will be a cultural landmark, providing the city with a new home for audiences, participants and artists to experience and create world class theatre.

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During an Open Weekend (October 11-13 ) the Playhouse will throw open its doors, providing a rare opportunity for everyone to explore the magic of the theatre’s auditoria and rehearsal spaces, to discover its new foyers, restaurants and bars and take part in events, pop-up performances and fun-filled activities for all the family.

Staging the first ever performances in the newly refurbished Courtyard theatre, Yorkshire-based company LUNG Theatre kick off the national tour of their multi-award-winning Trojan Horse (October 3-5), originally developed through Furnace, Leeds Playhouse’s Artistic Development programme.

The first ever production in the Bramall Rock Void is There are No Beginnings (October 11 - November 2), a new play by Yorkshire writer Charley Miles.

For the last 17 years Leeds Playhouse’s Creative Engagement programme has supported adults with learning disabilities in hosting Beautiful Octopus Club. For the first time since the event began in Leeds in 2002, the over 18s party night which includes live DJs, open mic sessions and live performance, will take place in Leeds Playhouse’s building on October 14.

Leeds Playhouse Youth Theatre presents Influence (October 31 – November 2), a national co-commission. The performance will open Leeds City College’s School of Creative Arts Theatre.

The first ever live broadcast from Leeds Playhouse to cinemas around the world will take place on Halloween with Northern Ballet’s acclaimed version of Dracula (29 October – 2 November).

Other highlights include:

* The Wizard of Oz, directed by Artistic Director James Brining, which will aim to remind audiences that “there’s no place like home” (November 20-January 25).

* The Night Before Christmas by Robert Alan Evans returns to the Courtyard Theatre (November 30– December 28) following a sell-out run in 2015. Directed by Amy Leach, this delightful children’s story follows Carol and Elf as they discover the true meaning of Christmas. This production will include integrated sign language for all performances.

* For 0-3 year olds at Christmas, the Playhouse will host The Egg and Travelling Light’s production Snow Mouse in the Bramall Rock Void (10 – 21 December). Filled with play, puppetry and music this enchanting winter’s tale is set to delight children and grown-ups alike.

Leeds Playhouse artistic director James Brining said: “The transformed Leeds Playhouse marks the most exciting new chapter in our history for decades and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to enjoy and explore. The new building will allow us to offer the magic of theatre to everyone, all under one roof. I’m so excited for all three of our venues to function together and it’s our hope that the Autumn/Winter programme will give a taste of what we’re about: a theatre that is rooted in its local community, producing work of national and international significance and supporting and developing artists at all stages of their career.

He added: "“There is a tangible buzz around culture in Leeds right now – with the relocation of Channel 4 and the upcoming plans for Leeds 2023, this really is the most fantastic time to be re-opening a theatre the whole city can be proud of."

* Tickets are on sale to Playhouse Pass members and Patrons from Thursday, May 16 at 10am, with tickets on general sale from 10am on Tuesday, May 21.