A MULTI-CULTURAL FAMILY: A new Yorkshire theatre production explores cross-cultural families

A MULTI-CULTURAL FAMILY: A new Yorkshire theatre production explores cross-cultural families

At Yorkshire Families we want to represent ALL families who live or want to experience the region regardless of background and any barriers whether it cultural or financial etc. Our founder Sophie Mei Lan aka Mama Mei comes from her own unique background which has been/is full of lots of challenges but with a passion for the county! So we’re excited to see that there’s a new theatre production exploring cross-cultural families coming to Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Missing People by Pinter Prize-winning playwright Brad Birch explores the similarities and mistranslations of a Japanese and British family thrown together by a cross-cultural marriage. This is the first co-production between Leeds Playhouse and Kani Public Arts Center Japan, opening in Leeds from 12-21 March, following its Japanese debut at the New National Theatre in Tokyo and at Kani Public Arts Center. 

Missing People is co-directed by Leeds PlayhouseAssociate Artist Mark Rosenblatt and Kani Public Arts Center Associate Director Nobuhiro Nishikawa. The production is the centrepiece of a creative relationship shaped over two decades, sharing working practices for staff and artists across cultures and offering an insight into each other’s sector-leading organisations.

Rehearsal images show British actors Ishia Bennison (Romeo And Juliet, Royal Shakespeare Company) and Simon Darwen (Skellig, Nottingham Playhouse) alongside Japanese actors Susan Hingley, Hiroki Tanaka, Yutaka Oda, Yuri Eikawa and Natsumi Nanase.

This new play focuses on a multi-cultural family who are not as serene as they first appear. Sakiko, a Japanese woman, and her English fiancé Dan have returned to her hometown of Kani, a commuter town near Nagoya, to introduce Dan and his mother Linda to her parents so they can plan their wedding. However, under the calm surface is a family in crisis, struggling with the loss of Sakiko’s brother. As she seeks the truth about her brother, Sakiko is forced to confront her own past, her own ‘disappearance’ to live in the UK, and where her own choices have led her.

The Missing People creative team includes Rumi Matsui, a Tokyo-based set designer and scenographer; Japanese artist Rie Nishihara, who has designed the costumes; lighting designer Elliot Griggs; sound designer Matt Padden; movement by Sachi Kimura; script translator Keiko Tsuneda;and translator in the room Mikiyo Usui.    

The production is part of a series of official public events that make up the Japan Season of Culture, which aims to build public support ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Tokyo 2020 Cultural Olympiad was originally launched in 2017 with a ceremony in the city’s Nihonbashi district featuring performances fusing traditional arts with modern technology.  

Missing People is supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Missing People, Courtyard Theatre, Leeds Playhouse

12 – 21 March, Press Night Mon 16 March, 7.45pm

Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online leedsplayhouse.org.uk

THE BEAR: Half-term family show at Leeds Playhouse for children

THE BEAR: Half-term family show at Leeds Playhouse for children

Ever wondered what it would be like to sit on a polar bear‘s lap? Or ride on its back? Have you ever tried to give a bear a bath?

 

Probably not. But now you can spend some quality time with an enormous snowy white bear at Leeds Playhouse when Raymond Briggs’ magical story The Bear is brought to life on the Courtyard stage.

 

One night when Tilly is fast asleep, a huge bearclimbs into her bedroom. It has a long black tongue and a yawn as big as her head. But, still, she’s not scared.

 

The Bear is a heart-warming, humorous tale from the team that brought young theatregoers the hugely successful Father Christmas. Pins and Needles Productions are delighted to be sharing another of Raymond Briggs’ much-loved storybooks, including dazzling puppetry, unforgettable music, dreamy storytelling, and more laughs than there are penguins in Antarctica (i.e. a lot).

The cast of The Bear includes: 

Abby Wain (Tilly) – All that’s solid Melts into air (Tangled Feet, National Theatre), Alice’s Adventures Underground (Les Enfants Terribles, The Vaults), A Tale of Two Cities (Red Shift Theatre Company, Hong Kong), Fried chicken (Bounce Theatre, Kingston Theatre), Alice in Wonderland (Derby Theatre)

Elena Stephenson (Mum / Puppeteer) – Wendla in Spring Awakening, Hecuba in Trojan Women. Noted portrayals include Hero in Much Ado About Nothing (Trickster Theatre) and Desdemona in Othello (Trickster Theatre), Elaine in Breathing Corpses (Sweet Venues, Edinburgh Fringe), Netflix US, in the role of Claire Morris in Nurses Who Kill and in the upcoming film Redcoat, which will be available to view on Amazon Prime.

John Winchester (Dad / Puppeteer) – Oi Frog & Friends (Kenny Wax Productions/ Pins and Needles Productions); The Scarlet Pimpernel (Pimpernel Productions); Cinderella (Imagine Theatre); A Christmas Carol and Lovers (Cumbernauld Theatre); Dick McWhittington (Perth Theatre), The Demon Headmaster (CBBC); Anna and The Apocalypse (Blazing Griffin Films); A Long Long Crime Ago (CBBC); Grandpa in my Pocket, The Ha Ha Hairies (Adastra Creative/CBeebies).

 

The Bear is a not-to-be-missed experience for the whole family and a perfect introduction to theatre for little people with big imaginations.

So, why not bring your very best bear to Leeds Playhouse and join Tilly and her great big white friend on a wild and magical adventure?

The Bear, Courtyard, Leeds Playhouse

18 – 22 Feb. 

Box office: 0113 213 7700; leedsplayhouse.org.uk

 

OLIVER TWIST AT LEEDS PLAYHOUSE: Casting announced for new adaptation

OLIVER TWIST AT LEEDS PLAYHOUSE: Casting announced for new adaptation

Leeds Playhouse and Ramps on the Moon have announced the full cast for their bold new version of Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.

Directed by Leeds Playhouse’s Associate Director Amy Leach (The Night Before Christmas, Hamlet, Road, Romeo & Juliet) and adapted by award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery, it will starBrooklyn Melvin in the role of Oliver, aided and abetted by a gang of wily pickpockets led the Artful Dodger, played by Nadeem Islam, who’s best known for presenting the BBC’s See Hear series, and Caroline Parker MBE as Fagin (Our Country’s Good, Ramps on the Moon and Nottingham Playhouse UK Tour).

Nancy will be played by Clare-Louise English, making a swift return to Leeds Playhouse after appearing in Graeae/Theatre Royal Plymouth’s One Under commissioned by Ramps on the Moon in the Courtyard in November 2019, with Stephen Collinsstepping into the brutal boots of Bill Sikes (the spelling taken from Charles Dickens’ original text).

The cast will be completed by Katie Erich as Rose, Rebekah Hill as Luna, Georgia Jackson as Fingers, Steph Lacey as Mrs Thingummy, Jack Lord as Mr Brownlow, Craig Painting as Mr Sowerberry, Mitesh Soni as Charley Bates and Benjamin Wilson as Mr Bumble.

Director Amy Leach said: Oliver Twist is a vivid, dark and visceral story and I am really excited to explore how adding artistic layers of creative sign language, audio description and captioning can enhance the storytelling for all audience members. I can’t wait to get started with the amazing OliverTwist company. I feel so lucky to get to create this production with such a wonderfully talented and versatile ensemble of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled actors. I can’t wait to share Bryony’s very special adaptation with audiences around the country.”

Oliver Twist builds on the success of previous Ramps on the Moon productions including Our Country’s Good, The Who’s Tommy and The Government Inspector.

The creative team includes Designer Hayley Grindle, Lighting Designer Joe Fletcher, Sound Designer John Biddle, Composer Oliver Vibrans, Associate Director Hannah Quigley, Puppet Director Rachael Canning, Dramaturg Jenny Sealey, Projection Designer Akhila Krishnan, BSL Consultant Daryl Jackson, Audio Description Consultants Benjamin Wilson and Chloe Clarke, Lead BSL Interpreter Dave Wycherley, Creative Enabler Kirsty Pennycook, Creative Assistant Directors Nicole Joseph and Adam Bassett and Casting Director Kay Magson CDG.

This thrilling production will open at Leeds Playhouse in February ahead of visiting Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Theatre Royal Stratford East, who are all part of the Ramps on the Moon consortium alongside Graeae, the UK’s leading disabled-led theatre company.

Every performance of Oliver Twist will feature integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning. The production plays in Leeds Playhouse’s Quarry Theatre from 28 February – 21 March 2020 ahead of a UK tour.

Oliver Twist, Quarry Theatre, Leeds Playhouse

Fri 28 Feb – Sat 21 March 2020.

Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online: leedsplayhouse.org.uk

 

Full tour information

28 Feb – 21 March 2020
Leeds Playhouse
0113 213 7700
www.leedsplayhouse.org.uk

For Leeds Playhouse Oliver Twist is sponsored by Access Partner, Irwin Mitchell.

25 March – 4 April 2020
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
01473 295900
www.wolseytheatre.co.uk

16 – 25 April 2020
Nottingham Playhouse
011594 19419
www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

29 April – 9 May 2020
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
0121 236 4455
www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

13 – 23 May 2020
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
0114 249 6000
www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

28 May – 6 June 2020
Theatre Royal Stratford East
020 8534 0310
www.stratfordeast.com

Writer Bryony Lavery was born in Wakefield and is one of the UK’s most well respected and prolific playwrights. She is best known for her award-winning play Frozen which recently played in the West End featuring Suranne Jones. Bryony’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol played at Leeds Playhouse in 2010. She has had a long and varied career, including writing plays for the National Theatre and Frantic Assembly.


Director Amy Leach
joined Leeds Playhouse as Associate Director in 2017. She directed Hamlet, A Christmas Carol and Road during the theatre’s acclaimed Pop-Up Season. She previously directedTalking Heads, Queen of Chapeltown, Romeo & Juliet, Kes, The Night Before Christmas and Little Sure Shot.

Amy is committed to placing accessibility and inclusion at the centre of her work. During the Pop-Up Season, her production of Road included integrated live audio description, her production ofHamlet was the first Leeds Playhouse production to trial the National Theatre’s groundbreaking caption glasses, and she was instrumental in forming the Playhouse’s partnership with Mind the Gap’s Staging Change initiative which encourages professional opportunities for learning disabled actors and creatives. In autumn 2019, Amy directedThere Are No Beginnings by Yorkshire writerCharley Miles, the first production in Leeds Playhouse’s new studio theatre the Bramall Rock Void. This production featured creative audio description at every performance. For Christmas 2019, Amy directed The Night Before Christmaswith every performance D/deaf friendly using integrated creative sign language.


Ramps On The Moon is a consortium of seven major theatre companies
committed to putting Deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work; to accelerate positive change, explore opportunities and stimulate awareness of disability issues within arts and culture. The project is supported by public funding through the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring programme – the largest award of its kind. The consortium venues are New Wolsey Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, Nottingham Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Graeae Theatre Company.


Leeds Playhouse is celebrating its 50thanniversary in 2020.
It is a cultural hub, a place where people gather to share stories and to engage in world class theatre.

The Playhouse makes work that is pioneering and relevant, seeking out the best companies and artists to create inspirational theatre in the heart of Yorkshire. From large scale spectacles to intimate performances, the Playhouse develops and makes work for the stage, found spaces, tours, schools and community venues.

A dedicated collaborator, Leeds Playhouse works with distinctive, original voices from across the UK. Its Artistic Development programme, Furnace, discovers, nurtures and supports new voices, while developing work with established practitioners. It provides a creative space for writers, directors, companies and individual theatre-makers to refine their practice at all stages of their career.

The Playhouse’s sector-leading Creative Engagement team works with more than 12,000 people aged 0–95 every year. It runs a range of weekly workshops and exciting creative projects using theatre to reach out to refugee communities, young people, students, older people and people with learning disabilities.

Leeds Playhouse now has a building to match its wide-ranging, far-reaching ambitions. As a result of a £15.8m transformation in 2019, it now offers improved access to and around the theatre, a city-facing entrance and a new studio space, the Bramall Rock Void.