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Leeds Playhouse is Back! These Are the Shows You Have to See in 2019

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Fancy a night at the theatre? Head to the new and improved Leeds Playhouse.

Leeds Playhouse Open Weekend

Want to see all the incredible changes at Leeds Playhouse? Head to the Open Weekend from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th October 2019 – you can watch open rehearsals, take part in workshops and so much more. Find out more…

Leeds Playhouse will reopen with a stellar line-up of shows planned for 2019.

The wait is over. Leeds Playhouse will relaunch after a £15.8 million refurbishment project on Friday 11th October 2019 and they’ve got an almighty weekend planned to show off their new digs. You can see their incredible new entrance, which will welcome you in from the city centre, and check out the new 100-seater Bramall Rock Void. But that’s just the beginning, because 2019 is a very exciting year for Leeds Playhouse and we’ve cherrypicked the best shows to watch.

Open Weekend

Open Weekend Leeds Playhouse

Credit: David Lindsay

You can check out one of the city’s most important cultural institutions as Leeds Playhouse celebrates its much-anticipated re-opening with a whole weekend of pop-up events. This is your chance to tour their new space and see what all the fuss is about. While you’re there, you can watch a pop-up performance of The Wizard of Oz, take the kids on an interactive storytelling experience with Riptide’s A Quest for the Lost Story or dance the night away at The Housewarming Party with Equaliser DJs. And that just scratches the surfaces, so find out what’s on and get involved.

Open Weekend takes over Leeds Playhouse from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th October 2019.

There Are No Beginnings

There Are No Beginnings, Leeds Playhouse

This is not a play about the Yorkshire Ripper. This is a play about the Leeds women who lived through his reign of fear from 1975 to 1980. Starring Coronation Street’s Julie Hesmondhalgh, you’ll follow two teenagers, a mother and a young police officer as they deal with the aftermath of the killings. Their lives will change before your eyes as the initial indifference turns into genuine fear. It’s a truly moving show and the first you can see in the new Bramall Rock Void.

There Are No Beginnings takes over the Bramall Rock Void from Friday 11th October to Saturday 2nd November 2019.

My Beautiful Laundrette

My Beautiful Laundrette

Credit: Ellie Kurttz

A bold new production of My Beautiful Laundrette based on Hanif Kureishi’s Oscar-nominated screenplay comes to Leeds Playhouse this October. Set in London during the Thatcher years, it explores sexuality, cultural conflict and social equality. Set to a backdrop of 80s music and culture, you’ll follow Omar as he turns his uncle’s run-down laundrette into a success. But when a fascist gang attacks him, and he spots his school-friend Johnny in the group, everything changes. He confronts his old friend and as they rekindle their friendship, romance blossoms.

My Beautiful Laundrette takes over the Courtyard Theatre from Tuesday 15th to Saturday 26th October 2019.


Dracula Northern Ballet

Credit: Guy Farrow

Northern Ballet returns to Leeds Playhouse at the end of October with their incredible production of Dracula. David Nixon OBE has adapted Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale to bring the horror and the lust to life. With raunchy choreography, gripping theatre and an incredible soundtrack by Rachmaninov, Pärt and Daugherty, this is a full-blooded drama you won’t want to miss. Brought to life with gothic sets and costumes, it will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Dracula takes over the Quarry Theatre from Tuesday 29th October to Saturday 2nd November 2019.

Reasons to Stay Alive

Reasons to Stay Alive

Credit: Johan Persson

Matt Haig’s book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ is a frank and funny bestseller. It’s now been adapted for the theatre for the first time and you can see it at Leeds Playhouse this November. This is a fascinating deep dive into depression and mental health. It tells the heart-rending story of how Matt’s world collapsed under the weight of depression at the age of just 24. But it’s not a sad show, it’s an uplifting look at how he finds his way out of crisis, learning how to live and love better.

Reasons to Stay Alive takes over the Courtyard Theatre from Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th November 2019.

Barber Shop Chronicles

Barber Shop Chronicles

Credit: Mark Brenner

Barber Shop Chronicles is an energetic show that blends the riveting storytelling of Inua Ellams with grime, Afrobeat and African music. You’ll be taken to a series of barber shops in Peckham, Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra to see the intensely personal stories that are told within. African men have gathered in barbers for generations, and not just to get a haircut – they bond over everything from sports to politics and daily life.

Barber Shop Chronicles takes over the Courtyard Theatre from Wednesday 20th to Saturday 23rd November 2019.

It’s True, It’s True, It’s True

It's True It's True It's True

Head to the Bramall Rock Void where you can join the award-winning Breach for their re-staging of the 1612 trial of Agsotino Tassi, the man who was accused of raping baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Seamlessly blending myth and history, it uses surviving court transcripts to dramatise the seven-month trial that gripped Renaissance Rome. Watch as Artemisia takes revenge through her art and becomes one of the most successful painters of her generation.

It’s True, It’s True, It’s True takes over the Bramall Rock Void from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd November 2019.

The Wizard of Oz

Leeds Playhouse

Credit: Anthony Robling

The big show at Leeds Playhouse this festive season is an absolute classic – you’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz. Directed by James Brining, you can follow the yellow brick road and make your way into the Emerald City for an unforgettable adventure with Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. They’ll lead you through this iconic story, complete with some of the most famous songs of all time, including ‘If I Only Had a Brain’ and ‘Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead’.

The Wizard of Oz takes over the Quarry Theatre from Wednesday 20th November 2019 to Saturday 25th January 2020.

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

It was the night before Christmas… but Carol doesn’t feel very Christmassy at all. She thinks the tinsel, baubles and presents are a load of nonsense, until Elf 30046, complete with stripy tights and pointy ears, falls down the chimney and takes her on an adventure they’ll never forget. He’s full of mischief and she’s learning to have fun, but they have a mission – can they find Father Christmas before it’s too late? You’ll have a ball finding out with all the family this festive season.

The Night Before Christmas takes over the Courtyard Theatre from Saturday 30th November to Saturday 28th December 2019.

Snow Mouse

Snow Mouse

You’re never too young for the theatre, so round up the kids, even the toddlers, and enjoy an enchanting 40 minutes of storytelling, music and puppetry. Winter is here and the woods are covered in fluffy snow – in this bright new world, a child goes out to play and finds a sleeping mouse under the snow. They become friends and go on a magical adventure, sliding, tumbling and laughing through the snowy forest. This is a heart-warming tale of an unlikely friendship and the kids will love it.

Snow Mouse takes over the Bramall Rock Void from Tuesday 10th to Saturday 21st December 2019.

Cover image credit: David Lindsay