Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds

The Ultimate Leeds Theatre Guide

· Emma Cooke · Culture

From intriguing plays to show-stopping opera, find out what’s on in Leeds’ theatres this month.

We Will Rock You

Want to know what the Leeds theatre scene has to offer this month? From family-friendly fun to unique productions, there’s something for everyone.

Deciding which Leeds theatre to go to in November won’t be easy, because this month is packed to bursting with opera, musicals and dance performances. So before you buy your tickets, let us tell you what’s on at Leeds’ legendary and little-known theatres. Don’t forget to come back next month for even more ideas, because we’ll be updating this guide every month.

The ones everyone’s talking about

Ballet Black

Credit: Rick Guest

Cool, unique and absolutely unmissable – there’s a reason why these productions have people talking.

We Will Rock You

Smash-hit musical We Will Rock You will return to Leeds with a massive show full of electrifying riffs and belting tunes. The story follows a group of Bohemians desperate to transform a world where musical instruments are forbidden and rock ’n’ roll is non-existent. 24 of Queen’s biggest hits will give Ben Elton’s book a new lease of life to create an unforgettable piece of theatre that has taken the West End by storm.

We Will Rock You comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 11th to 23rd November 2019.

Ballet Black

A dance company on a mission to make ballet more culturally diverse, Ballet Black will takeover The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre to perform a thrilling triple bill. Hot off performing with Stormzy at Glastonbury this year, this tour celebrates their 18th anniversary by bringing three different dances to the forefront. One of the highlights is Ingoma, a striking fusion of African dance, ballet and singing that reflects the struggles of the miners and their families in 1940s South Africa.

Ballet Black comes to The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th November 2019.

Jadek

Jadek is a tale of two generations living under one roof. When a working-class Yorkshire lass moves in with her blind, Polish Grandad, she has no idea of the laughter and heartbreak that will follow. She’s a struggling children’s author who loves beer and he’s a World War Two survivor who enjoys a whiskey but hates the ventilation in his front room. Based on a true story, this is one of the most heartwarming plays in Leeds this month.

Jadek comes to The Holbeck on Sunday 17th November 2019.

The Wizard of Oz

A tale that we all know and love, The Wizard of Oz is one of the biggest new shows at Leeds Playhouse this month. Enter the land of Oz, follow the yellow brick road and join in with songs like ‘Ding Dong The Witch is Dead’ and ‘We’re Off To See The Wizard’. You can expect a colourful production with all your favourite characters, including Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion on their quest to get Dorothy and her pooch Toto back home to Kansas.

The Wizard of Oz comes to Leeds Playhouse from Wednesday 20th November to Saturday 25th January 2019.

Barber Shop Chronicles

Set over just one day, Barber Shop Chronicles brings six different cities and thousands of tales under one roof. It’s a show dedicated to the joys that barber shops have brought to African men for generations. A hub of chit-chat, politics, football and even dark confessions, this play showcases how barbers help the males to confide in each other. You’ll get a glimpse into six different barber shops in cities like Johannesburg and London.

Barber Shop Chronicles comes to Leeds playhouse from Wednesday 20th November to Saturday 23rd November 2019.

Innovative theatre productions

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

Fancy something a little bit different this month? You’ll find plenty of options in Leeds’ theatres.

One Under

One Under is a brand new play by award-winning playwright Winsomme Pinnock and Graeae, a theatre company who bring deaf and disabled actors to the forefront. A thriller with themes of mental health running throughout, it follows train driver Cyrus after a young man jumps in front of him on the Tube. It prompts him to ask questions. What drove him to do such a thing? What was he doing in his final living hours? But nothing can prepare him for the answers he uncovers. Don’t miss its debut in Leeds this month.

One Under comes to Leeds Playhouse on Tuesday 5th to Saturday 9th November 2019.

Reasons to Stay Alive

Based on Matt Haig’s bestselling book, Reasons to Stay Alive explores the intricacies of mental health. Hard-hitting truths combine with uplifting humour in one of the most culturally-relevant plays in the Leeds this month. You’ll follow 24-year old Matt who was crippled under the weight of depression, before learning how to live and love better. Expect strong characters and moving music to tell the story of how he finally became himself again.

Reasons to Stay Alive comes to Leeds Playhouse from Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th November 2019.

Murder Inc.

Murder Inc. is an improv comedy with a difference – it’s an interactive crime story. The skilful cast will ask you for suggestions, then weave a tale before your very eyes, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. You’ll get free cheesy nachos in the interval and if you figure out ‘whodunnit’, you’ll walk home with a prize. It has a string of sold-out Manchester shows under its belt, and now’s your chance to catch it right here in Leeds.

Murder inc. comes to Seven Arts on Wednesday 13th November 2019.

Pale Green Nothing

After a sell-out short play last year, Monkey Don’t Theatre are back with their first full length show. Set in a hospital ward in North Wales, Pale Green Nothing brings three random individuals together. Novice nurse Jess is sick of this small town and visitor Mark is desperately trying to engage with his ill mother, who refuses to acknowledge his existence. Meanwhile, Angie is lying in her bed waiting for everyone else to pop their clogs. Find out what happens when these unlikely characters meet in such a dreary setting.

Pale Green Nothing comes to Seven Arts on Saturday 16th November 2019.

It’s True, It’s True, It’s True

Brand new play It’s True, It’s True, It’s True reimagines a gripping trial from Renaissance Rome. When baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi accused Agostino Tassi of rape in 1612, it resulted in a seven-month trial, but she didn’t let it break her. You can see exactly how she took revenge through her paintings to become one of the most successful artists of her time. The play blends history with modern commentary to assess how debates like this have changed over the past 400 years.

It’s True, It’s True, It’s True comes to Leeds Playhouse from Thursday 21st November to Saturday 23rd November 2019.

Unmissable music and dance

Rosie Kay's Fantasia

Credit: Brian Slater

Dance and opera fans have five incredible shows to look forward to in Leeds this month.

The King and I


If you want to know what’s on in Leeds for musical-lovers, look no further than the multi-award winning romantic musical The King and I. Set in 1860s Bangkok, you’ll follow the unlikely romance between the King of Siam and Anna, a British schoolteacher who was brought in to teach his wives and children. A full-live orchestra will be accompanied by a star-studded cast that includes West End and Broadway stars Jose Llana and Annalene Beechey.

The King and I comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 29th October to Saturday 9th November 2019.

6 Feet, 3 Shoes

With a sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe under its belt, you won’t want to miss the explosive dance show 6 Feet, 3 Shoes in Leeds this month. A performance that combines percussive flamenco with traditional Scottish dancing, all with a contemporary twist, it’s one of the only shows of its kind. Expect an energetic take on storytelling with a live guitar and fiddle-playing providing foot-stomping rhythms throughout.

6 Feet, 3 Shoes comes to comes to Seven Arts on Friday 8th November 2019.

Sister Act

Based on the much-loved film, musical comedy Sister Act will bring a visual feast of gospel singing and disco dancing to the stage. After witnessing a murder, lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier is forced to disguise herself as a nun and hide at a convent. Despite feeling out of place, she uses her love of disco to inspire the choir and a powerful sisterhood is formed. One day, her cover is blown, but with her friends behind her, she’s ready to take on whatever comes her way.

Sister Act comes to Carriageworks Theatre from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th November 2019.

Crooners

An action-packed show filled with tongue-in-cheek humour, Crooners showcases musical theatre with a comical twist. You’ll follow three stylish and self-assured British gentlemen who ooze crooner characteristics. Despite their talent, they soon realise that modern society is not hugely accepting of their aspirations. The show will head to Leeds with nine-piece ‘The Mini Big Band’, who will play a medley of hits by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

Crooners comes to City Varieties on Thursday 14th November 2019.

Rosie Kay’s Fantasia

Rosie Kay Dance Company are back with a brand new ballet that fuses dance with science. Rosie Kay’s Fantasia draws on neurological research to explore what makes dance beautiful to experience. Three female dancers will take to the stage in striking costumes that challenge the usual ballet get-up. The performance will be soundtracked with music by world-famous composers like Vivaldi, Beethoven and Bach to convey a variety of emotions throughout.

Rosie Kay’s Fantasia comes to Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre on Thursday 21st November 2019.

Family-friendly theatre

Treat the family to a day out at the theatre in Leeds this month, with a trio of must-see shows to choose from.

Anything Could Happen

Anything Could Happen will introduce the kids to the world of improv, with a special show at Seven Arts this November. They’ll take ideas from the children in the audience and inject them with humour and creativity to produce a truly random show that’s virtually unscripted. It’s one of the most spontaneous shows you can see in Leeds, as they can make absolutely everything happen, right before your eyes.

Anything Could Happen comes to Seven Arts on Sunday 3rd November 2019.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Curly Tales will put on a brand new production of Jack and the Beanstalk this month. You can expect a clever use of puppetry and oodles of songs as they recreate the famous tale you know and love. Jackie and her Grandad always shared stories about giants, castles and magic, but one day things take a turn for the worst. With her Grandad gone, how can Jackie continue to tell stories to make her garden grow? But then, one morning, a giant beanstalk appears…

Jack and the Beanstalk comes to Leeds Playhouse on Friday 8th November and Saturday 9th November 2019.

Sleeping Beauty

This colourful pantomime is the ultimate feel-good show for families this month. A twist on the classic fairytale, Sleeping Beauty will follow Princess Ariana and her friends in an attempt to rescue the kingdom from the evil Carabosse. Will the princess be saved from the evil curse? Will Muddles the jester find true love? Find out in this action-packed show in which you can expect all the usual pantomime antics, from singing to audience participation.

Sleeping Beauty comes to Carriageworks from Friday 22nd November to Wednesday 17th November 2019.