Leeds is a Great Place for Theatre
When you visit any new place, one of the first things that you may want to discover is it’s heart and soul. Most old cities like Leeds have a rich history and the recent investment in the arts has made a huge difference to the cultural landscape of the region.
Today, Leeds is home to thriving theatres, museums and galleries. The architecture in some of the historic parts of the city is worth visiting all on its own. Here’s our quick guide on where to get your theatrical kicks if you are planning to spend some time in the city.
Leeds Grand Theatre
You have to go back to 1878 to when this epic theatre first opened its doors. Over the years, it’s played hosts to acting greats such as Sir Laurence Olivier and comedy legends Morecombe and Wise, to name just a few. Since it first opened, the Grand Theatre has retained its sense of history and the architecture still reflects that early, classic auditorium design. You could almost be transported back to the days of variety and music hall.
Today it puts on a wide range of shows from Cilla and The Jersey Boys to Shakespeare and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Find out more about the Leeds Grand Theatre.
West Yorkshire Playhouse
Again located in the city centre, this is another exciting cultural hub and not that far from the Grand Theatre. The place is currently going through a refurbishment, though it first opened back in 1968. If you like your theatre modern and experimental, this is often the place to go. It’s put on big plays such as The Crucible and Richard the III in the past but it hasn’t shied away from more family friendly fayre such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which was one of its more recent successes.
Find out more about the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
You’ll find this smaller theatre on the Millennium Square in the city centre. It has a reputation for encouraging local artists, actors and playwrights. If you’re after something original, then this is the place to explore. As well as local talent and productions, they also welcome touring plays from all around the UK.
Some of the play titles you may not recognise, simply because they are new productions. Tickets tend to cost less than at some of the more prominent theatres with their big names but that can be a bonus if you like to be surprised and love seeing new, exciting talent.
Find out more about Carriageworks.
City Varieties Music Hall
This is run by the same team as the Leeds Grand Theatre but operates as a separate entity. There’s something old fashioned and endearing about the theatre building on Swan Street. It manages to combine the essence of French chic with something of the 50s and 60s when theatre was at its height. Expect to see more stand-up acts than straight plays here – most recent nights have included Sarah Milligan and Sean Lock. If you want to laugh it up, this is worth a try.
Find out more about the Music Hall.
Anyone spending time in Leeds is going to love exploring the local theatres. Whether you want to take in a stand-up comic, a full blown musical or a serious play, there’s certainly something for everyone.