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.

Giulio Cesare

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

Deciding which Leeds theatre to go to in September 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

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

Police Cops in Space

If you want to know what’s on in Leeds for comedy lovers this month, don’t miss the Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show Police Cops in Space. Part comedy, part 80s sci-fi drama, it follows Sammy Johnson, the last police cop in the universe. He sets off on an intergalactic adventure with his new alien fighter pilot friend Ranger in his trusty Cyborg C9 to find planet Earth and avenge his father who was killed by a robot. But can they get the job done?

Police Cops in Space comes to Carriageworks Theatre on Friday 13th September 2019.

The Greek Passion

Opera North will bring Bohuslav Martinů’s rarely-performed opera The Greek Passion to Leeds Grand Theatre this month, twenty years after his original was restored and first performed. It presents a vivid depiction of the refugee crisis, making it extremely relevant to the modern day. When a group of refugees arrive in Manilios’ village, he witnesses his own community crumble, a story heightened by its powerfully dynamic, almost filmic score.

The Greek Passion comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 14th September to Saturday 16th November 2019.


Known for her boundary-pushing roles in projects across Leeds, Lydia Cottrell will take to the stage with a one-woman show that covers all things space. In a provocative yet comedic piece of theatre, she questions what we learnt from the race into space and what we gained by getting there. Add an imaginative stage production, hotdogs and a child-sized paddling pool in the mix and you’ll get a taste for what to expect from this one-off show.

Atlantis comes to The Riley Theatre on Friday 20th September 2019.

Giulio Cesare

Giulio Cesare is a tale filled with passion and blood-thirsty ambition. Cleopatra and her brother have their eyes set on the throne when Julius Caesar arrives in Egypt. Using seduction as her vice, she sets out to manipulate her route to the throne, but finds herself facing the consequences of her actions. With a glittering production and dynamic score, this Handel opera is given a new lease of life by Opera North.

Giulio Cesare comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 28th September to Wednesday 13th November 2019.

What Does Stuff Do

This one-man show will rejig the way you see everyday objects, thanks to juggler Robin Boon Dale. Kitted out in swimming trunks with minimal stage set-up, he’ll present the full length edition of the award-winning What Does Stuff Do. It’s a feast of physical comedy, innovation and philosophy, all rolled up into one as he offers new ways of thinking about the physical world. Prepare for your mind to be opened, as he drops in his words of wisdom throughout in one of the most unusual shows in Leeds this month.

What Does Stuff Do comes to The Holbeck on Sunday 29th September 2019.

Innovative theatre productions

What Does Stuff Do

Credit: Jonny Fuller Rowell

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

The Parting Glass

The Parting Glass details the struggles of mental health and masculinity, in a must-see taboo-smashing show. Jim and his girlfriend Sara are the perfect match. He’s the life and soul of the party while she’s an adventurous go-getter, but something just isn’t sitting well with Jim. Set in Leeds, it’s a local play written by the city’s own Chris O’Connor and it’s designed to spark discussions about the issues we face in our social media-obsessed world.

The Parting Glass comes to various venues around Leeds from Thursday 12th September to Friday 18th October 2019.

Honey’s Happening

The year is 1969 and the location is Honey Childs’ living room. You’re invited to join her and Barbara, her brutally honest daughter, for an evening of easy listening LPs, complete with cheese and pineapple. Party games and lots of heart-to-hearts are also on the agenda. But despite being the hostess with the mostest, what Honey really wants is world peace. Settle down for an interactive show that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Honey’s Happening comes to The Holbeck on Sunday 15th September 2019.

Free For All

Banner Theatre will bring a hard-hitting show filled with commentary about the NHS to Leeds this month. They’ll shed light on home-hitting truths, through storytelling and plenty of powerful songs. They’ve even put together moving video footage to get their message across. It’s a theatrical display but with a strong message that the NHS should be free for all and not up for grabs to private health corporations.

Free For All comes to Seven Arts on Friday 20th September 2019.

Unmissable dance performances

Northern Ballet Three Short Ballets

Credit: Emma Kauldhar

Dance fans have a quartet of incredible shows to look forward to in Leeds this month.

Three Short Ballets

This month Northern Ballet will present three incredible ballets in one action-packed performance. You can see Morgann Runacre-Temple’s ‘The Kingdom of Back’, David Nixon’s ‘Powerhouse Rhumba’ and Amaury Lebrun’s brand new ballet ‘For An Instant’. Each will showcase something very different, from a Latin American display that incorporates gymnastics to the story of Mozart’s overshadowed sister.

Three Short Ballets comes to The Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre from Thursday 5th September to Saturday 7th September 2019.

Passion Killer

Hadar Galron was born and raised in the Jewish community, and now she wants to share her views on the role of women within it, in the form of a one-woman cabaret show. This satirical performance will bring female champions from Jewish history to the forefront, while investigating how passion has manifested since it was first pinpointed as the ‘forbidden fruit’ in The Bible.

Passion Killer comes to Seven Arts on Monday 9th September 2019.

Phoenix at Home 2019

The ninth instalment of Phoenix at Home will takeover The Stanley & Audrey Burton theatre this month. It’s your chance to see Phoenix Dance Theatre in all their glory, as they perform their exceptional reworking of Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, which took the crowds at Leeds Grand Theatre by storm earlier this year. You can also glimpse at the next generation from Phoenix Youth Academy, who will present a preview of their upcoming show Black Waters.

Phoenix at Home 2019 comes to Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre from Wednesday 25th September to Saturday 28th September 2019.

Time Takes The Time Time Takes

Created by internationally-acclaimed artists Guy Nader and Maria Campos, Time Takes The Time Time Takes will see five exceptional dancers recreate a fully-functioning clock onstage. It’s without doubt one of the most striking dance shows in Leeds as a string of daring lifts and spins run like clockwork. It’s set to a repetitive beat created by a live percussionist, so you can experience the sights, sounds and hypnotic suspense of a ticking clock.

Time Takes The Time Time Takes comes to The Riley Theatre on Saturday 28th September 2019.

Family-friendly theatre

15 Minutes Live

Credit: Radio Plays

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

15 Minutes Live

15 Minutes Live is a series of brand new radio plays performed and recorded live in front of an audience, and for the first time, it will be catered to a young audience. They’ve bagged the likes of CBeebies’ actress Katrina Bryan to come to Leeds and take part in six brand new plays, written by acclaimed theatre and TV writers. The whole thing will be performed with special soundscapes and recorded before being distributed to schools.

15 Minutes Live will come to The Holbeck on Saturday 7th September 2019.

Strangers On a Train Set

After challenging a youth to turn down his music, Irene Sparrow becomes a suspect to his murder, after he’s found dead when they emerge from a tunnel. But what you don’t know about this train is that each of its passengers are reading a book that acts as a portal unto a parallel universe of crime fiction. LipService will bring the stage to life with projections and various train sets, cleverly integrating multiple universes into one.

Strangers On a Train Set comes to City Varieties on Saturday 7th September 2019.

Anything Could Happen

Anything Could Happen will introduce the kids to the world of improv, with a special show at Seven Arts this September. 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 will come to Seven Arts on Sunday 15th September 2019.

Cover image credit: Tristram Kenton