Audiences are being offered a wide range of plays, ranging from powerful dramas to comedies and community projects, at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds this spring/summer season, running from 4 February until 23 July, to celebrate the theatre’s 15th anniversary.

Topping the bill in the 2005 season is a new production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which will be at the Quarry Theatre from 18 February until 19 March. The drama, which was written in 1879, sees a woman struggling to overcome her domestic claustrophobia, trying to be the perfect wife and mother. Tanya Moodie, returning to the venue after her 2003 performance as the title role in Medea, stars as housewife Nora. The new production will now be directed by Matthew Lloyd rather than WYP artistic director Ian Brown, who has had to withdraw while recovering from an appendectomy.

Before that, from 4 February until 5 March 2005, is a topical drama about a CJD (Creutzfeld Jakobs Disease) sufferer, The Lemon Princess at the Courtyard Theatre. A cast of five, directed by Ruth Carney, bring to life Rachael McGill’s Leeds-set play examining the Government’s handling of the BSE crisis and looking at the link between “mad cow disease” and the human form of the illness.

Steeping back in time to ancient Greece, a major re-telling of Homer’s The Odyssey, in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic, runs at the Courtyard Theatre from 7 April until 7 May, following performances at Bristol from 18 February until 12 March. When a man is washed up on the shores of a great city, claiming to be the legendary General Odysseus, he must tell his remarkable story of his ten years wandering among nymphs, giants, sirens and lotus eaters. The production - adapted and directed by David Farr, who soon takes over as Lyric Hammersmith artistic director (See News, 19 Oct 2004) - features original music and puppetry.

Charles Dickens gets a re-working with a new adaptation of David Copperfield, by Giles Havergal, which premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater in 2000. The production makes its UK debut at the Quarry Theatre from 29 April until 28 May.

Another literary adaptation, John Buchan’s romantic spy thriller, The 39 Steps, which was memorably filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935, plays at WYP’s Courtyard Theatre from 17 June until 16 July 2005. The play is produced in association with Fiery Angel Ltd (See The Goss, 9 Sep 2003).

Other highlights of the season include Once Upon a Quarry Hill, the venue’s largest ever community project, celebrating local history with a cast of 300, and BBC Northern Exposure featuring plays by some of the region’s most promising up-and-coming writers.

- by Caroline Ansdell