York Theatre Royal’s autumn gets under way this week with its new production of Brassed Off, marking the 20th anniversary of the miners' strikes that gripped the North. The season continues with two more in-house productions: Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane and seasonal pantomime Sleeping Beauty.

Based on Mark Herman's 1996 film, Brassed Off follows the lives of a group of Grimley Colliery workers, fearing the threat of closure, whose lives, and brass band, are turned upside down by the arrival of Gloria. This new production, directed by York’s artistic director Damian Cruden, runs until 25 September 2004.

From 9 to 27 November 2004, Marcus Romer's revival of The Beauty Queen of Leenane takes up residence in the main house. McDonagh's macabre 1996 tale of a mother and daughter in a claustrophobic relationship won acclaim in the West End and on Broadway where it collected four Tony Awards. Sleeping Beauty rounds off the year’s in-house schedule in the main house, where it runs from 8 December 2004 to 29 January 2005. Berwick Kaler stars and co-directs with Cruden.

Visiting productions to York’s main house include Pilot Theatre’s Lord of the Flies, English Touring Theatre's Twelfth Night, Lip Service's cheeky take on Louise May Alcott Very Little Women, the Watermill's Gilbert and Sullivan-based Pinafore Swing and Oxford Stage's revival of David Storey's Home.

Meanwhile, the Theatre Royal’s Studio will be visited by Tall Stories' The Owl and the Pussycat; Red Ladder’s new play Silent Cry about an Asian youth who dies in police custody; Out of the Box’s production of Nilo Cruz’s Two Sisters and a Piano, directed by Paolo Dionisotti; Clean Break’s Compact Failure; and Ice and Fire’s I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady From Rwanda, about an asylum seeker and a poet with writer’s block.

There will also be two co-productions of world premiere plays appearing in the Studio. The first, Steve Trafford’s A Cloud in Trousers, directed by Cruden and presented with Ensemble Theatre, is a tragi-comedy set against the backdrop of the Russian revolution. It runs at York from 1 to 23 October 2004, before continuing until 11 December to 11 further venues, including an engagement from 4 to 20 November at London’s Southwark Playhouse.

The second, Gaffer!, is co-produced by Southwark Playhouse, where it plays from 13 to 30 October 2004 before transferring to York from 3 to 27 November. Written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Southwark’s artistic director Gareth Machin, it follows of the highs and lows of Northbridge Town football team when they’re picked up by an ex-record producer with dreams of success.

- by Hannah Kennedy