Leeds’ West Yorkshire Playhouse has announced its spring season, which includes Shakespearean productions, revivals, and new work by local playwrights.

Quarry Theatre:

Ian Brown’s production of Macbeth opens the season, running from 28 February to 24 March 2007 (previews from 23 February), designed by Ruari Murchison with movement by Faroque Khan. Brown has previously directed Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night at the Playhouse. In Macbeth, a prophetic encounter with three witches convinces the anti-hero that he will become king, and he and his ambitious wife will stop at nothing to achieve that destiny.

Neil Simon’s tribute to Vaudeville comedians, The Sunshine Boys, runs in the Quarry Theatre from 26 April to 19 May (previews from 20 April), in its first UK revival in over a decade, directed by Maggie Norris – who recently directed Bad Girls The Musical at the Playhouse. Off stage, the characters in the play Willie Clark and Al Lewis hated each other, but on stage formed one of the most successful comedy acts of the Vaudeville era.

Bollywood comes to Leeds in Bollywood Jane, which runs in the Quarry Theatre from 6 to 30 June (previews from 2 June). Amanda Whittington’s drama, which is directed by Nikolai Foster, tells the story of disenchanted teenager Jane, who discovers a new lease of life with the romance and spectacle of Bollywood cinema. The show will feature song and dance numbers, with choreography by Indian born professional dancer Zoobin Surty.

Courtyard Theatre

Following its premiere at the Lyric Hammersmith, Ramayana, which is adapted and directed by Lyric artistic director David Farr, comes to Leeds from 19 March to 7 April (previews from 15 March) in a co-production with the West Yorkshire Playhouse in the Courtyard Theatre. An epic tale of love, honour and revenge, Ramayana tells the plight of lovers Rama and Sita as they find themselves exiled from their homeland and plunged into the deep forests of southern India. Farr has joined forces with Asian musician Amit Lahav of Gecko to create the new physical piece (See News, 11 Dec 2006).

The fifth annual Northern Exposure writing programme at the Playhouse features three dramas; Oliver Emanual’s romantic drama set in a Leeds Hotel, Maggie Park, runs in rep with David Hermanstein’s urban drama Safe from 23 May to 9 June (previews from 19 May), and Jodie Marshall’s drama about a young alcoholic bar tender, Tender Dearly, runs from 19 to 30 June (previews from 14 June).

Visiting Productions

The Shakespeare Schools Festival, part of the UK’s largest youth drama festival taking place in over 100 theatres across the country in the same week, will run in the Quarry from 8 to 10 February. Each evening will see four local secondary schools stage four of the Bard’s plays in 30 minute adaptations, including new abridgements of Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V by Arnold Wesker. Phoenix Dance Theatre returns to the Quarry from 28 to 31 March with a triple bill choreographed by the company’s new artistic director Javier de Frutos (who choreographed the West End production of Cabaret), Henrique Rodovalho and Didy Veldman. Northern Broadsides present The Tempest from 2 to 14 April.

In the Courtyard, Roy Williams’ footballing drama Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads runs from 20 February to 3 March in a co-production by Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal, directed by Marcus Romer. Theatre-Rites presents children’s show The Thought That Counts, featuring animated shapes, music and video, from 8 to 10 March. Beyond the Border North’s International Storytelling Festival runs from 11 to 14 April, followed by Shared Experience’s Kindertransport, about WW2 evacuees, from 17 to 21 April. Jonzi D Productions’ Hip Hop show Tag… Me Vs The City runs from 25 to 28 April, while Gecko’s The Race runs from 1 to 5 May. UK Arts International’s production of Nothing But the Truth, exploring South Africa during the apartheid era, runs from 9 to 12 May.

- by Caroline Ansdell