Leeds Playhouse will reopen next month following a major redevelopment that will enable the city’s pioneering theatre to be fully accessible to everyone for the first time.
Open to the public from October 3, the Playhouse is inviting audiences, artists and participants back to the building for a celebratory open weekend from Friday, October 11 to Sunday, October 13.
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Visitors will be able to explore the striking new entrance, new restaurant, café and bars and improved public spaces, and get a first glimpse into the new theatre spaces, taking full advantage of the new routes into the theatre and ease of access throughout the building.
Robin Hawkes, Leeds Playhouse executive director, said: “When we began redeveloping the building, October 2019 felt a very long time away. Now this incredible moment has finally arrived and we can’t wait to throw open our doors and see the building alive and thriving again.
"Our Open Weekend will be a real celebration, welcoming audiences old and new back into the building with open arms. We’re running family-friendly workshops, building tours and hosting a programme of performances, and we can’t wait to see the people of Leeds back in our building again.”
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The first show to be performed in the new Leeds Playhouse is Trojan Horse by LUNG Theatre in association with Leeds Playhouse, an award-winning docu-drama developed through the Playhouse’s artist development programme Furnace.
Trojan Horse is a local story that hit the national press, accusing ‘hardline’ Muslim teachers and governors of plotting extremism in Birmingham schools. Adapted from real-life testimonies, this critically acclaimed show examines what really happened. The production won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression and Fringe First awards at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
James Brinning, Leeds Playhouse artistic director, said: “We’re thrilled to be reopening with such a powerful piece of theatre, developed right here through our industry-leading artist development programme Furnace."
A brand new production about Educating Yorkshire’s Musharaf Asghar’s journey to find his voice, Mushy: Lyrically Speaking is the second show to play in the new Leeds Playhouse. This new rap-infused play follows Musharaf’s journey from schoolboy to motivational speaker.
James said: “When Yorkshire teenager Musharaf spoke to his fellow students for the first time, no longer debilitated by his life-long stutter, 11 million people listened. His story is so inspiring, we’re thrilled to share it with our audiences as part of our reopening and welcome Rifco Theatre, a much-loved company, back to the Playhouse”.
Directed by Ameet Chana (Bend It Like Beckham) and with music, rap and lyrical narration by rapper Raxstar, Mushy: Lyrically Speaking is presented by Rifco Theatre Company and Watford Palace Theatre.
“The month of October will be a truly special moment in Playhouse history, we invite all of Leeds and West Yorkshire to share it with us,” added James.
Full details of the Open Weekend are to be announced on the Leeds Playhouse website: leedsplayhouse.org.uk