WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link

New musical from & Juliet writer and director leads Leeds Playhouse season

The venue has unveiled plans for 2023 including a Roy Orbison musical

In Dreams
© Leeds Playhouse

Leeds Playhouse has unveiled its spring/summer 2023 season.

The season features new musical In Dreams, written by David West Read (Schitt's Creek, & Julie]) and featuring the songs of musician Roy Orbison. It is to be directed by Luke Sheppard (re-uniting with West Read after & Juliet), with running dates from 1 July to 5 August. The show is said to "encourage us to reflect on life, the power of community and the impact our choices make."

West Read said: "It is a tremendous honour to be premiering our new musical In Dreams at Leeds Playhouse, which has developed a reputation for introducing innovative and inspirational work created by artists from around the world.

"When I was growing up in Canada, the iconic music of Roy Orbison was playing on repeat in my household, and it has been a lifelong ambition of mine to build a contemporary musical around his classic songs. To bring this show to the Leeds audience, in this theatre, in this moment, is quite literally a dream come true."

Orbison wrote and performed hit numbers including "In Dreams" and "Oh, Pretty Woman" (the latter of which lends its name to the film and stage musical. The multi-award-winning & Juliet runs in the West End until March, with a Broadway production also currently in previews in New York.

Continuing with the Leeds Playhouse season, associate director Sameena Hussain (I Wanna Be Yours) will direct a new revival of Kay Mellor's A Passionate Woman in May, marking the show's 30th anniversary (20 May to 10 June), while deputy artistic director Amy Leach (Macbeth) will helm a new production of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, adapted by Nigel Williams and featuring with creative audio description at every performance (18 March to 8 April).

Alan Lyddiard will present cross-artform experience Sinfonia, created from stories donated by the older people from the Leeds city region (24 April to 6 May), while the season also features a Leeds spells for Holly Race Roughan's production of Henry V, currently running at Shakespeare's Globe (9 to 25 February). Also appearing will be the previously confirmed production of Of Mice and Men from director Iqbal Khan (11 to 27 May).

Artistic director James Brining said: "Our principal aim is to welcome everyone to the Playhouse whether that's to enjoy a piece of theatre or a piece of cake, to share a creative idea or partake in a creative opportunity. Over the Playhouse's 52 plus years, it is the stories and life experiences of the people we meet each and every day – whether they are from communities across our region or if they are visiting for the very first time – who help to mould this theatre, this charity, into the space they need it to be.

"It was an honour to be named UK Theatre's Most Welcoming Theatre 2022 and to be in such great company both nationally and locally. A massive well done to all the Yorkshire artists and theatres whose work was recognised. It demonstrates the commitment we have in the region to producing quality work, and to caring for our audiences, participants and artists.

"I'm also delighted to welcome Shawab Iqbal to the Playhouse as our new executive director. I look forward to working alongside him along with the rest of the Playhouse team as we remain committed to creating programmes of work for our communities.

"We're continuing to provide a platform for local artists and companies to share intimate pieces of work in our Bramall Rock Void studio space; to take work on tour both locally to communities in our city, and nationally with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical; and to open up our building as a warm space for everyone. As a theatre and a charity built by and for the people of Leeds, our house is – and will always be – your house. So please join us as we share our stories, and our warm and welcoming theatre, with you this season."