Theatre News

Leeds Playhouse spring 2020 season announced

Shows include ”A Little Night Music”, ”Piaf” and ”Oliver Twist”

Leeds Playhouse
Leeds Playhouse
© Heather Whiston

Leeds Playhouse announced its spring/summer 2020 season today, with shows including A Little Night Music, Piaf and Oliver Twist.

The season starts in the Courtyard Theatre with Night Of The Living Dead TM – Remix, a shot-for-shot stage recreation of the 1968 horror film. Co-produced with theatre company imitating the dog, this multi-platform production will be directed by Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks. It will run from 24 January to 15 February, with a press night on 28 January.

The first 2020 production in the new Bramall Rock Void theatre space is David Greig's Dr Korczak's Example. Set in the Warsaw Ghetto, it tells the story of the Polish educator and children's author Dr Janusz Korczak, who championed the voices of young people and whose influence led to the creation of the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The show will be directed by the venue's artistic director James Brining and designed by Linbury Prize winner Rose Revitt. It will premiere on 29 January, Holocaust Memorial Day.

Bryony Lavery brings a new adaptation of Oliver Twist to the Quarry Theatre in the annual Ramps on the Moon production, an initiative which promotes the inclusion and integration of Deaf and disabled individuals into theatrical work. Associate director Amy Leach directs the show, with a company of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled actors and all performances having integrated, creative BSL, captioning and audio description. Following its Leeds run from 28 February to 21 March – with a press night on 4 March – the production will embark on a national tour.

Maggie May is a new play by award-winning writer Frances Poet and will play in Leeds from 31 March to 18 April in the Courtyard Theatre, with a press night on 1 April. A co-production with Curve Leicester and Queen's Theatre Hornchurch, the show will be directed by Jemima Levick and signifies a commitment from the three venues to create new, positive work about people living with dementia.

In a co-production with Opera North, A Little Night Music by director Brining will run from 9 May to 6 June, with a press night on 15 May. The musical has lyrics and music by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. It will feature members of the orchestra and chorus of Opera North as well as a number of visiting artists including Dame Josephine Barstow.

Piaf by Pam Gems will run as a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse. Directed by Adam Penford, it will star Tony-nominated and Olivier Award-winning actress Jenna Russell in the title role from 27 May to 13 June, with a press night on 27 May.

A new musical theatre adaptation of the film Monsoon Wedding will premiere at the Playhouse on 30 June before visiting the Roundhouse in London. Directed by the film's director Mira Nair, the show features a book by Sabrina Dhawan and Arpita Mukherjee, lyrics by Masi Asare and Susan Birkenhead and music by Vishal Bhardwaj. The BAFTA-winning film was first released in 2001.

In March, the Playhouse joins forces with the Kani Public Arts Center in Japan for the world premiere of Missing People, a show performed in Japanese and English and opening at Japan's New National Theatre before coming to Leeds. This new play – by Pinter Prize-winning Brad Birch and co-directed by Mark Rosenblatt and Nobuhiro Nishikawa – dives beneath the surface of family relationships across continents. It is the first co-production between the two theatres and has a press night on 16 March.

seeds is a new play by Mel Pennant directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour and tells the story of two mothers united in sorrow. It will have its world premiere on 24 February before embarking on a national tour, as part of a partnership with tiata fahodzi to develop new work and artists.

Say Yes to Tess with original songs by Harry Blake and directed by Tess Seddon will open on 27 March ahead of a national tour .The show is based on a true story of activism, Yorkshire grit and learning to vote for yourself.

The Theatre of Sanctuary venue has partnered with the Young Vic and writer Luke Barnes to work with young unaccompanied refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds and London, sharing their stories and views on life in a new country through Freedom Project. The show will be directed by Alexander Ferris in Leeds and Rachael Nanyonjo London and play on 12 June at the northern venue.

Pride and Prejudice (*sort of) by Isobel McArthur, co-produced with Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Tron Theatre Company and Blood of the Young, will come to the venue from 25 to 29 February as part of its second UK tour.

Smile Club will run in the Bramall Rock Void – a darkly comic, satirical one-woman show by Andrea Heaton and Adam Z and performed by Heaton. The play is set in a dystopian world where a government drive exists to tame "unruly" women and is presented by Red Ladder Theatre Company on 5 March.

A Girl in School Uniform (Walks Into A Bar) by Holy What – written by award-winning writer Lulu Raczka and directed by Ali Pidsley – will open on 12 March. The show is a drama about crisis, darkness, cities and hope.

The Playhouse also welcomes visiting work across the season, including Kneehigh's Ubu! A Singalong Satire, Phoenix Dance Theatre's Black Waters, Gecko and Mind The Gap's a little space, The Kite Runner based on Khaled Hosseini's international bestselling novel, Northern Broadsides' Quality Street, the UK premiere of Amsterdam, Idol by local artist Jamal Gerald, The Glee Club, Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats, These Hills Are Ours by runners and writers Dan Bye and Boff Walleys and The War of the Worlds inspired by H.G. Wells' sci-fi novel and Orson Welles' classic radio play.

Artistic director Brining said of the season: "The reopening of Leeds Playhouse has reinvigorated the theatre's relationship with the city and placed us at the heart of a modern and vibrant region. The energy and dynamism of the new building drives our ambition to be a force for positive change within Leeds City Region and across the wider industry. I am extremely proud of our spring/summer season and the scale and ambition we are presenting, which showcases new writing and familiar texts brought to life in a fresh way. We are working with a thrilling range of artists to create work which both reflects the world we live in and the environment we create around us. As we head towards our 50th anniversary, we're at the beginning of the next great chapter for this brilliant theatre in this extraordinary city."