Big West End tours are all well and good, but there’s so much quality in the smaller shows in Leeds that you shouldn’t let them slip under your radar.
Theatre is big business, whether it’s on the West End or dotted around the country, as shows go on the road. But, in cities like Leeds, there’s a constant stream of small theatre productions that are just as worthy of your time and attention. So, before Christmas, why not treat yourself to a show? There’s plenty to choose from…
One hundred years on from the start of the First World War, few shows in Leeds will be as real or as intriguing as England, Arise! Written by Mick Martin, and directed by Jude Wright, it looks at the young men and women of Huddersfield who conscientiously objected to the war. Through their art, music and literature, we’re told about how the town became known for its pacifism as the community rallied around those who objected to war, offering a different look at the realities of World War One.
England, Arise is at The Carriageworks on Saturday 1st November 2014 at 7.30pm. Tickets are available now.
H.P. Lovecraft’s The Temple
Taking the World War One theme further is H.P. Lovecraft’s The Temple, fully devised and performed by Michael Sabbaton, which comes to Holbeck Underground Ballroom on Sunday 2nd November 2014. When a carved ivory head falls into the possession of a commander on a German U-29 submarine, it turns the crew into haunted subjects, on the verge of insanity and death. The Temple is one of the most influential works in horror and sci-fi – something this Leeds theatre production only highlights further.
H.P. Lovecraft’s The Temple is at Holbeck Underground Ballroom on Sunday 2nd November 2014 at 7.30pm. Tickets are available now.
Existential crises are a common concurrence and Small Plans, written by Morgan Sproxton, tackles the subject through the life of Katy Carr. When Carr reaches her 27th birthday, everything that she thought was true is suddenly not so certain. It’s the realities of all of our lives that shines through Sproxton’s play, brought to life by Hull’s Silent Uproar Productions, and it should be one of the shows of the season at The Carriageworks in Leeds.
Small Plans by Silent Uproar is at The Carriageworks on Thursday 6th November 2014 at 7.45pm. Tickets are available now.
Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women was given its biggest makeover since its Hollywood transformation in the nineties, when it opened as a Broadway musical in 2005. This show is being brought to Leeds by one of the region’s fastest rising production companies, Brassneck Theatre. The show at Yeadon Town Hall follows the growing up of the four March sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy, in Civil War America, but with a unique musical twist.
Little Women is at Yeadon Town Hall on Tuesday 11th – Saturday 15th November 2014 at 7.30pm. Tickets are available now.
Blind by Paperbirds Theatre
Ever heard of the beatboxing theatre show? No? Well, let’s change that, as Paperbirds Theatre bring two time UK Beatboxing Champion Grace Savage to a Leeds theatre. Blind is a production like few others – it sees Savage explore the influences on today’s youth via the music charts, school playground and motherly advice, seeing how that impacts upon who people become. It could be one of the most surprising shows in Leeds you see all year.
Blind by Paperbirds Theatre is at The Carriageworks on Friday 14th – Saturday 15th November 2014 at various times. Tickets are available now.
The Boy Who Kicked Pigs
Kill the Beast are one of the country’s most exciting comedy production groups, and one of their début shows is coming to Leeds. Their adaptation of former Dr Who Tom Baker’s novel, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs, is a gruesomely funny tale that comes to Holbeck’s Underground Ballroom in November. Following thirteen year old Robert Caligari, a boy who, unbelievably, liked to kick pigs and other nasty things, before his bad behaviour comes back to haunt him, Kill the Beast prove to be inventive, twisted and hilarious.
The Boy Who Kicked Pigs is at Holbeck Underground Ballroom on Sunday 16th November 2014 at 5pm. Tickets are available now.
Tim Etchells’ That Night Follows Day
It isn’t the norm for an audience of adults to be entertained on stage by a cast exclusively of children – in fact, it’s usually the other way around. However, That Night Follows Day, a production by Tim Etchells’ Forced Entertainment, is all about giving you the unexpected. The play, performed by kids between 8 and 14, explores how big an effect the words and actions of adults have on the children in an incredibly humorous and affectionate manner. As part of Compass Festival 2014, it is one of the shows to watch in Leeds this year.
Tim Etchells’ That Night Follows Day is at Howard Assembly Room on Sunday 23rd November 2014 at 2pm. Tickets are available now.
Some of you may have had your interest piqued by the title being also the name of a song by The Smiths, and that isn’t the only connection to one of Manchester’s finest bands. Billy Cowan’s play comes to Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton under the direction of Joyce Branagh for Truant Theatre Company. Set in Ulster in 2008, ten years after the peace process, Still Ill looks at the reunification of a pair of old Smiths fans in a violent and tragic gay love story. Having won the 2010 International Playwriting Award, Still Ill comes to Leeds as moving and as powerful as theatre gets.
Still Ill is at Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton on Friday 28th November 2014 at 8pm. Tickets are available now.
Feature image courtesy of Richard Davenport. Little Women image courtesy of Alastair Marshall.