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

The Ultimate Leeds Theatre Guide

· Emma Cooke · Culture

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

Geisha, Northern Ballet

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 March 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 Kite Runner, Leeds Playhouse

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

Wanted

Performed by an all-female cast, Wanted is a brand new play that sheds light on the achievements of five incredible women. The performance marks Women’s History Month 2020 by giving these ladies the recognition they deserve in a show peppered with humour. You’ll be introduced to inspirational figures like Irena Sendler, who saved over 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto during Nazi occupation and Olive Morris, an avid feminist and civil rights activist from the 1970s.

Wanted comes to Carriageworks Theatre on Sunday 8th March 2020.

Missing People

Missing People is a new bilingual show about Sakiko’s return to her hometown in Japan. She’s due to introduce her fiancée Dan to her parents, but all this is overshadowed by strange goings-on – her father has been missing for hours, her mother is acting unusually and a mysterious figure is waiting in the garden. Performed with subtitles, this show has been co-produced by Leeds Playhouse and Kani Public Arts Center in Japan, making it one of the most exciting pieces of theatre in Leeds this month.

Missing People comes to Leeds Playhouse from Thursday 12th March to Saturday 21st March 2020.

Geisha

Set in 19th-century Japan, Geisha is an all-new ballet based on the true story of Okichi, the most famous geisha in Shimoda. Northern Ballet and choreographer Kenneth Tindall have reimagined her experiences to bring you a mesmeric production that observes her not only in life, but also in death, after a clash between cultures pushes her to commit suicide. Using a combination of striking choreography, intricate costumes and spine-tingling music, her heartbreaking story will be told in a breathtaking way.

Geisha comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 14th March to Saturday 21st March 2020.

Jane Eyre

This brand new show by Blackeyed Theatre will recreate the world-famous story of Jane Eyre. True to the book by Charlotte Brontë, you’ll be plunged into a gothic tale of deep secrets and heart-wrenching decisions. Jane grew up as an orphan girl in the unforgiving Thornfield Hall, a place that soon comes back to haunt her after falling in love with the mysterious Mr Rochester. What secrets will she uncover and how will this impact her future? Don’t miss your chance to find out.

Jane Eyre comes to Yeadon Town Hall on Thursday 26th March 2020.

The Kite Runner

One of the West End’s most moving shows will head to Leeds this March. Based on the book by Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching in equal measure. You’ll follow Amir as he seeks to confront his past and find redemption for decisions he made in his childhood. The play will take you back to his youth in war-torn Afghanistan and to the kite flying tournament that changed everything for him and his best friend, Hassan.

The Kite Runner comes to Leeds Playhouse from Tuesday 31st March to Saturday 4th April 2020.

Innovative theatre productions

Lionman

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

Sweatbox

To watch Sweatbox, you’ll be bundled inside a real life prison van. Why, you ask? Because this is exactly where the show is set. In an audience of just 12 people, you’ll be immersed in the journeys between courts and prisons, with the help of three women as they share their stories. You’ll get a glimpse into the tough realities of prison life and the thoughts that go through each individual’s head as they’re transported to and fro. There isn’t another piece of theatre like it in Leeds.

Sweatbox comes to The Holbeck on Friday 20th March 2020.

A Hunger Artist

A Hunger Artist is a dark show about a fame-hungry performer who finds himself side-lined. There was a time when crowds would gather to watch him starve himself for days on end, but fashions change. Desperate to regain an audience, he tries to find something even more radical. Based on the short story by Franz Kafka, this 1920s tale has been reimagined for the stage in a gritty show that explores the boundaries of artistic performance and the human condition.

A Hunger Artist comes to Carriageworks Theatre on Saturday 21st March 2020.

Lionman

A disturbingly comic show, Lionman follows Leonard in his attempts to progress from commercial greetings cards writer to film writer. But this isn’t all he wants – he also wants the girl next door. By day, he works his thankless job and by night, he works on his beloved scripts. Through this tireless process, reality and fantasy soon merge into one. Will his efforts go to waste? Or will he find his voice in what may be his only way to truly express himself?

Lionman comes to The Holbeck on Sunday 22nd March 2020.

Faustus: That Damned Woman

Based on the chilling myth, Faustus: That Damned Woman will introduce you to Johanna Faustus, a woman who sold her soul to change the course of history. Desperate to save her dying city, she makes the ultimate sacrifice, but will she ever escape the consequences of this? Using period costumes and an innovative stage set-up that will take you back to an undefined era, director Caroline Byrne will tell this tale in a whole new way.

Faustus: That Damned Woman comes to Leeds Playhouse from Tuesday 24th March to Saturday 28th March 2020.

Maggie May

Since they first met in the 1970s, a lot has changed for Maggie and Gordon. Now in their sixties, they’re still madly in love, but Maggie’s forgetfulness and funny turns are concerning them both. Maggie May is a brand new show about dementia, created by award-winning playwright Frances Poet. Based on a normal Leeds family, it’s one of the most thought-provoking shows in the city this month and every performance is dementia friendly.

Maggie May comes to Leeds Playhouse from Tuesday 31st March to Saturday 18th April 2020.

Unmissable music and dance

Cabaret

Credit: The Other Richard

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

Cabaret

The multi-award winning West End musical Cabaret will head to Leeds for a rip-roaring night of drama. An all-singing, all-dancing show set in 1930s Berlin, you’ll witness a baffling love triangle between cabaret singer Sally Bowles, British university student Brian Roberts and playboy Maximilian von Huene. It promises vibrant costumes and sensational hits like ‘Money Makes The World Go Round’, as stars like Eastenders’ John Partridge and renowned stage actress Kara Lily Haworth take to the stage.

Cabaret comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th March 2020.

Touch

Touch is an innovative dance show that explores the themes of connection, intimacy and physical play between parents and their children. Two performers will be joined onstage by their own children and a community cast of families from the local area. The piece seeks to answer questions that may not aways cross your mind. How much time do you spend with your children? What can they learn from you and what can you learn from them?

Touch comes to The Holbeck on Saturday 7th March 2020.

Best of BE Festival

Want to know what’s on in Leeds for dance lovers this month? Best of BE Festival will showcase three cutting-edge shows from Birmingham’s prestigious arts festival and each one is completely unique. Hungarian dance-artist Anna Bizók will explore ‘experience’ in her solo dance-lecture while Belgian artist Hannah De Meyer performs a mix of movement and poetry in her darkly comic performance. Completing the trio is The Sensemaker, a Swiss production where a mute dancer tells a dramatic story through music and spoken word.

Best of BE Festival comes to Carriageworks Theatre on Monday 23rd March 2020.

Say Yes to Tess: A Yorkshire Musical

Full of original songs and rib-tickling one-liners, Say Yes to Tess: A Yorkshire Musical is a must-see. Tess is a Leeds lass through and through, but a break-up causes her to move back home and things aren’t quite how she’d hoped, until she discovers the Yorkshire Party. Inspired by their passion for people and park & rides, she decides to stand in the 2017 UK General Election, but it isn’t all smooth sailing. This is a reyt good show based on a true story.

Say Yes to Tess: A Yorkshire Musical comes to Leeds Playhouse from Thursday 26th March to Saturday 4th April 2020.

Family-friendly theatre

On Your Feet

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

Oliver Twist

A bold new production of a story we know and love, Oliver Twist will be one of the biggest plays in Leeds this month. Join Oliver on his whirlwind adventure as he escapes the workhouse, only to fall into the clutches of London’s villainous characters. Adapted by award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery and in co-production with Ramps On The Moon, who bring D/deaf and disabled artists to the forefront, you can expect a clever use of sign language, audio description and captioning.

Oliver Twist, comes to Leeds Playhouse from Friday 28th February to Saturday 21st March 2020.

Fantastic Mr Fox

This March, you can see Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book come to life on stage. Exhausted by Mr Fox and his thievery, a group of farmers decide to get rid of him once and for all – they’ve lost one chicken too many. But Mr Fox is far too cunning to be outsmarted. He puts together a plan to not only feed his family, but all of his friends too. You can expect plenty of laughs and cracking costumes in this unmissable production.

Fantastic Mr Fox comes to Carriageworks Theatre from Wednesday 18th March to Saturday 21st March 2020.

On Your Feet!

Wondering what’s on in Leeds for musical-loving families? Direct from the West End, On Your Feet! is a dazzling production that will quite literally get you up on your feet. Based on a true journey, it follows Cuban-American lovers Emilio and Gloria Estefan on their journey to showbiz stardom. You can witness their voyage from Cuba to Miami, before reaching international fame. The show will be soundtracked by groove-inducing hits like ‘Rhythm is Gonna Get You’ and ‘Conga’.

On Your Feet! comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 23rd March to Saturday 28th March 2020.

The Lost Happy Endings

The Lost Happy Endings will take you deep into the woods for a magical adventure of fairytale mayhem. Jub has a very important job. She has to guard the happy endings to stories and fairytales, but one day a witch steals them. Chaos ensues – Red Riding Hood gets gobbled up by the wolf and Cinderella’s shoe no longer fits the glass slipper. Based on the original poem by Carol Ann Duffy, it’s a production told through dance and narrated by Joanna Lumley.

The Lost Happy Endings comes to Leeds Playhouse on Friday 27th March and Saturday 28th March 2020.