Review: "Searching for the Heart of Leeds" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Review: "Searching for the Heart of Leeds" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

For those of you that have been reading my recent reviews, you’ll know that the West Yorkshire Playhouse is about to undergo major refurbishment and will be closed until later next year, and in the meantime, will be presenting a selection of work in a new pop up space. Last night I was invited to attend the unveiling of its new name and identity, Leeds Playhouse, along with its final show in the Quarry Theatre before the redevelopment, Searching for the Heart of Leeds.

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Review: "Talking Heads" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Review: "Talking Heads" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues were first broadcast on television in 1988, and, like all of Bennett’s pieces of work have been over the years, were praised for their wit and sensitive poeticism that perfectly bottled the essence of the human spirit. Talking Heads has since gone on to enjoy a life of many revivals on the stage, harking back to the early format that Bennett’s formative works took: a single storyteller offering us a glimpse into their life. For its final production in the Courtyard Theatre before undergoing major refurbishment, the West Yorkshire Playhouse has revived the monologues, presenting them as two separate shows on the same days.

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U.K Review: "Sunshine on Leith" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

U.K Review: "Sunshine on Leith" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

The Proclaimers’ musical Sunshine on Leith has been taking the world by storm, particularly after its adaptation to film in 2013. Now, around five years later, and in the run up to the West Yorkshire Playhouse’s closure for major refurbishment and redevelopment in the coming months, the theatre has mounted a brand new production of the musical. With the Playhouse’s Artistic Director James Brining directing, I looked forward to taking my seat in the Quarry Theatre and seeing his efforts to tell a story that timelessly stretches beyond the highland borders.

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U.K. Review: "Our Country’s Good" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

U.K. Review: "Our Country’s Good" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Since seeing their hit production of The Government Inspector a while back, I’ve really been enjoying the work of the pioneering Ramps on the Moon initiative, which aims to integrate more deaf and disabled performers and theatrical conventions into mainstream theatre. This includes innovative use of captioning and the integration of British Sign Language into the performance, ultimately creating a universal, accessible production for all audience members to enjoy. On that note, I was very much looking forward to seeing their latest collaboration with Nottingham Playhouse: a new production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, which I managed to catch on its stop at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

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