Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
9:49 AM 11th September 2020

Leeds Playhouse And Opera North Join Forces In Restart

This October, some six months since live theatre was locked down, Leeds Playhouse will reopen with a season of work partnering with the wider arts industry to find new and innovative ways of reintroducing audiences to live theatre, in a safe and secure environment, contributing to the life and vibrancy of the Leeds City Region. 

Khadijah Ibrahiim. Photo credit Leeds Playhouse
Khadijah Ibrahiim. Photo credit Leeds Playhouse
Staged over three weekends will be Connecting Voices in co-production with Opera North which will take place across the various stages within the Playhouse.
Bringing together artists and audiences safely, this series of new and classic work will examine the power and expression of the solo voice and engage people in communal creative activity, whilst interrogating the relationship between the audience and the performer.

Orpheus in the Record Store, a newly commissioned piece by Leeds based beatboxer Testament and director Aletta Collins, will fuse spoken word and beatboxing with players from the Orchestra of Opera North, in an exciting new collaboration that gives the Greek myth of Orpheus a contemporary Yorkshire twist.

Niall Buggy in Krapp's Last Tape. Photo credit Robert Workman
Niall Buggy in Krapp's Last Tape. Photo credit Robert Workman
Playing alongside this will be two seminal pieces which both premiered in 1958 and present characters isolated from others and struggling to connect again through technology. The first is Samuel Beckett’s extraordinary monologue Krapp’s Last Tape with acclaimed actor Niall Buggy performing in the Bramall Rock Void and directed by multiple award-winning director Dominic Hill.

This will be counterpointed by Francis Poulenc’s short opera La Voix Humaine performed by Opera North soprano Gillene Butterfield (Rose Maurrant, Street Scene; Julie Jordan, Carousel) in the Barber Studio, directed by Leeds Playhouse RTYDS Director Sameena Hussain.

Testament in WOKE. Photo Credit Anthony Robling
Testament in WOKE. Photo Credit Anthony Robling
In the Courtyard Theatre, each of the three weekends will see a different and newly devised piece of work from Leeds-based spoken word artist Khadijah Ibrahiim (Another Crossing), and two pieces by freelance director Matthew Eberhardt (Street Scene, Opera North), who will work with singers, actors, young people and musicians including classically-trained singer Keertan Kaur Rehal, Amy J Payne and actor Robert Pickavance to create contemporary responses to the themes of remembrance, collaboration and the act of storytelling.

Connecting Voices is devised and developed by freelance directors Aletta Collins and Matthew Eberhardt in association with Leeds Playhouse and Opera North.

In line with current government guidelines, audiences will be of limited capacity with social distancing and temperature checking will also be in place. Tickets are on sale to Leeds Playhouse’s Supporters’ Club, Playhouse Pass holders and Opera North Patrons from Monday 14 September, with tickets on general sale from 12noon on Tuesday 15 September. 

Connecting Voices, Leeds Playhouse
2 – 17 October
Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online