BEST YORKSHIRE DAYS OUT USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Leeds by bus, train and water!

BEST YORKSHIRE DAYS OUT USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Leeds by bus, train and water!

A lot of families want to explore the best Yorkshire has to offer but without a car… so we thought at Yorkshire Families that we would start to share some of our favourite days out using public transport… beginning with Leeds, West Yorkshire.

I myself (Sophie Mei Lan) have a driver’s licence but no vehicle and I am determined to do what I can using public transport or by walking. Not only can it save money but it is better for the environment too and at times, I have found, it is less stressful than driving a car (YES I have been stuck on Leeds Ring Road a number of times!). So what is there to do in Leeds via public transport?

There are so many but here are some of the recent places we have visited and loved in Leeds City Centre!

Train  

As we live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, we often get the train into Leeds if I have the energy to face the busyness of Leeds Train Station (that said the kids love it and it looks super pretty after its recent makeover). The train station itself is equipped with a few shops and lots of eateries from coffee shops to McDonald’s (the children’s favourite along with Subway), Pret a Manger (great for an affordable filter coffee), Wetherspoons (cheeps and cheerful but not child-friendly), Leon (my absolute favourite) and a Sainsbury’s (perfect if you forget picnics and snacks like I always do).

From Leeds Train Station main entrance you can easily access the city centre shops and Trinity Leeds and it is just a 10 minute walk to Millennium Square where you will find the brilliant Leeds City Museum (such a great free day out for little ones) as well as Leeds Art Gallery. Nearby there is also The Core Shopping Centre where we like to grab a slightly quieter bite to eat, The Merrion Centre and for a treat we love The Light Leeds.

Or if you come out of Leeds Train Station’s South Entrance you can easily access the city’s waterfront (River Aire).

The entrance has two escalators up to the concourse which provides access to either side of the river for passengers to get to Granary Wharf and Little Neville Street, or Holbeck.

Granary Wharf has lots of places to eat but the children’s favourite are Leeds Water Taxis. The boats (called Twee and Drie) ferry passengers from Granary Wharf to Leeds Dock. At Leeds Dock you will find Royal Armouries Museum which is well worth a visit.

Bus 

My favourite way to get to Leeds is via bus although it does take a lot longer this way (approximately one hour on the 110 Arriva bus from where we live in Wakefield to Leeds City Bus Station, which is only 20-30 minutes on the train).

Once arriving in Leeds City Bus station, there are lots of places to visit locally.

The bus station itself is nothing to shout about but at least it is quieter that Leeds Train Station and it has a Greggs and corner shop as well as vending machines.

Leeds City Bus station is literally next door to Leeds Kirkgate Market which has a huge array of fruit and vegetable stalls as well as an accessible food court with lots of independent food and drink vendors (you can get delicious fresh food cooked for you at an affordable price).

The bus station is also across the road from Victoria Leeds which is home to John Lewis and some higher end shops and eateries. It’s great with a pushchair or with older children.

Not only that, Leeds Playhouse theatre is also across the road with a new city facing entrance which makes it even more accessible (previously West Yorkshire Playhouse). We love going to the theatre to see family friendly shows such as The Bear which was on during half-term.

Yorkshire Families review of The Bear at Leeds Playhouse: 

“Charming and captivating! My 5 & 8 year old daughters were so engrossed, they forgot to ask for the sweets I’d brought them. I’m not sure I could give higher praise!?

This production is everything children’s theatre should be: beautifully made, witty, charming and light-hearted.

The Bear is adapted from the picture book by Raymond Briggs, the same writer behind The Snowman. Here, a relatable and enchanting little girl, Tilly is delighted when a polar bear climbs through her bedroom window. Despite the bear making trouble, in every toon in the house, her parents remain blissfully unaware and assume the ‘bear’ Tilly constantly charters about is part of her imagination. Which my girls found hilarious, as the bear is huge!

We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the experience, from the welcome at Leeds playhouse, the wonderful acting on show, the seamless scene changes to the perfect duration and atmosphere for my girls. I’d thoroughly recommend for a family trip!”

Also nearby you have Yorkshire Dance and Northern Ballet who both run classes for children and adults. We recently attended a free family festival at Yorkshire Dance where we did a Bollywood Dance Workshop.

 

So whether you’re visiting Leeds by bus, foot, train or even boat… there are so many things to do! Let us know your favourite day out on social media @yorkshirefamilies on instagram/facebook and @yorkshirefams on twitter.

ANDY’S MAN CLUB: Where to find a men’s mental health group + anniversary celebration for all ages in West Yorkshire

ANDY’S MAN CLUB: Where to find a men’s mental health group + anniversary celebration for all ages in West Yorkshire

Andy’s Man Club group who supports men with their mental health, which started here in Yorkshire, has gone nationwide whilst still having lots of clubs across the region for men to access and to open up about their mental health.

Andy’s Man Club was formed in early 2016 by Halifax rugby league player Luke Ambler after his brother-in-law took his own life.

The groups’ aim to raise awareness of mental health issues among men and its branch in Leeds has recently celebrated its 2nd anniversary.

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Lisa Bourne who is a mental health activist in Leeds wrote this for Yorkshire Families on the recent celebration in West Yorkshire which took place for all ages…. 

Happy 2ndBirthday!

The 29thof January 2020 marked the 2ndanniversary of Andy’s Man Club Leeds, an inclusive talking group for men that aims to reduce suicide rates.

They celebrated this anniversary on the 2ndof February with a big party at the Brudenell Social Club Leeds, which saw businesses, bands and volunteers all come together to support Andy’s Man Club Leeds. From W2 barbers based in Roundhay giving free haircuts to Cards or Die providing free games, magicians and face-painting, mental health related activities and a tombola there was plenty of entertainment for all ages.

In-between sets of live music, visitors heard truly inspirational stories from group members who shared their positive experiences of how attending the group had helped them through periods of mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

The feeling in the room was one of immense pride, of a supportive family all there for each other as a listening ear.

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The day after that party, 57 men attended Andy’s Man Club Leeds, their biggest number of attendees to date, with 5 new members! The group is run by 15 facilitators who all have lived experience of mental illness and now volunteer at Andy’s Man Club Leeds after the group helped them.

The club is doing an amazing job, going from strength to strength, and encouraging men to talk openly to promote self-care and positive attitudes towards mental health, tackle stigma and ultimately reduce the high suicide rate of men in Leeds.

They welcome new members – the group meets every Monday 7pm – 9pm at Leeds College of Building on North Street and the best way to see their latest news is via Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Andys-Man-Club-Leeds-335669746930141/

 

Where to attend an Andy’s Man Club Group near you:

 

As well as in Leeds other groups meet at 7pm on a Monday at the following locations:

Bradford: Millside Centre BD1 2HS

Bridgend: Porthcawl Rugby Club CF36 3DA

 

Colllydean Community Centre, Torphins Avenue, Glenrothes, KY7 6UL

Dewsbury: Union House WF13 1AS

 

Dundee Boomerang centre 10 Kemback Street Dundee DD4 6ET

Dunfermline: Erskine Building 4 Pilmuir Street Dunfermline KY12 7AJ

 

Exeter City FC, St James Park Stadium, EX4 6PX

 

Halifax: Shay Stadium HX1 2YS

Hartlepool: Victoria Park TS24 8BZ

 

Hebden Bridge: Town Hall HX7 7BY

Huddersfield: Huddersfield Fire Station, Community Room, Outcote Bank, Huddersfield, HD1 2JT

 

Hull: The Airco Business Lounge HU3 4DL

Leeds: Leeds College of Building North Street Leeds LS2 7QT

 

Manchester The Federation, 2 Federation Street, M4 4BF

Newton Abbot: Coffee #1 46 Courtenay Street Newton Abbot TQ12 2ED

 

North Merchiston Club Watson Crescent Edinburgh EH11 1EP

Oldham: Oasis Academy, Hollins
Road, Oldham, OL8 4JZ

 

Scarborough: Central Library, Vernon Road, Scarborough, YO11 2NN

 

Peterborough: The Focus Centre, Chestnut Ave, Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, PE1 4PE

Plymouth: on course south west Hyde Park House 74 Mutley Plain PL4 6LF

 

Rotherham: The Centre, Brinsworth Lane, Brinsworth, Rotherham, S60 5BU

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Community Rooms 197 Eyre Street Sheffield S1 3FG

 

Sby Lt.Johnstone FC, McDiarmid Park, Perth, PH1 2SJ

Stafford: Stafford Rugby Club Blackberry Lane Off Timberfield Road Stafford ST16 2TT

 

Torbay: Preston Sands Hotel, 10-12 Marine Parade, Paignton, TQ3 2NU

Wakefield: 5A Cheapside WF1 2SD

 

Contact Andy’s Man Club

info@andysmanclub.co.uk

You can also contact us on social media in the following ways:

Twitter– @AndysManClubUK

Facebook– /AndysManClub

Instagram– @AndysManClubUK

 

Written By Lisa Bourne who is a Time To Change Champion, founder of Mental Wellbeing Meetups facebook.com/mentalhealthevents, director and trustee of Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis and volunteer for Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service.

 

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

 

FEBRUARY HALF TERM & EASTER HOLIDAYS: What to do in the school holidays in Leeds, West Yorkshire?

FEBRUARY HALF TERM & EASTER HOLIDAYS: What to do in the school holidays in Leeds, West Yorkshire?

Before you know it February half term and the Easter Holidays will be upon us, so what is there to do for the family in Yorkshire? Here Leeds Galleries and Museums share a range of events from free days out to paid for experiences across Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Abbey House Museum

February Half Term

18-21 February

 

During February half term celebrate the Leeds Year of Reading with selection days inspired by family favourites. On 18 February there’s Alice in Wonderland creative crafts and silly science inspired by the wonderful world of Roald Dahl on 19 February. Say ahoy to another classic on Wednesday with Treasure Island themed crafts and murky murder mysteries in the Victorian streets. Round off the week with tropical fun inspired by the Jungle Book on Friday 21 February too!

DJ Workshop

20 February, 12-3pm

Calling all aspiring young DJ’s aged from 11–15. Come along and meet Melodies Music and DJ Academy, take over the decks, cue your track and get spinning in an introductory session to DJing.

Entry is included in museum admission, all equipment is included and no experience needed. Advance booking required via youth.curator@leeds.gov.uk

 

 

Easter Holidays

7-17 April

 

Bounce into Easter with adorable animal crafts in the Victorian streets. On 10 April from 10am–4pm hop along to meet the Easter Bunny. Choose a treat from his basket, pick up a trail and find the golden eggs hidden around the streets. Don’t miss amazing real life animals from Lion Learners each Wednesday too, including creepy crawlies and fluffy Easter bunnies!

 

Leeds Art Gallery

School Holiday Arts and Crafts

Selected dates, 11am-4pm

Between 18 & 20 February come along and make space-shifting sculptures in Artspace. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the Easter school holidays, Leeds Art Gallery will be joined by their artist in residence for painting, drawing, crafting and collage! On 21 February and 17 April check out their family friendly pop-up event looking at art in 3D with the Henry Moore Institute.

Leeds Young Film Festival

7, 8, 9 & 11 April

 

Experience Leeds Young Film Festival at Leeds Art Gallery this Easter for the UK’s largest family film event! It features premieres and special film screenings for the whole family to enjoy and explores the world of film through workshops at pocket-money prices.

For more information visit www.leedsfilm.com  

Leeds City Museum

February Half Term: Clever Clothes & Fabulous Fashions

18-21 February, 10am-12pm & 1-3pm

Reuse and recycle craft materials to design funky fashions for your favourite toy and parade them down the table catwalk. Create a rainbow using plate weaving and take the textile trail around the museum to discover how clothes have been used, recycled and made here in Leeds!

Sensory Room for Families with Additional Needs

20 February & 9 April, 10.30-11.30am

For those who may find a trip to the museum a little overwhelming, Leeds City Museum will be hosting a pop-up sensory room with bubble tube, dark tents and tactile toys for a calmer moment on your museum trip.

Booking essential via Eventbrite

Recycle Runway

15 April, 10.30-11.30pm

Get crafty with activities inspired by the new exhibition, Fast x Slow Fashion. Create a brand new outfit from old clothes and recycled materials and learn all about reusing, recycling and reducing material waste.

Easter Holidays: Patterns & Prints

7-19 April

There’s a whole load of activities on offer during the Easter holidays with workshops and drop-in sessions suitable for visitors of all ages. Create patterns and prints from 14 – 17 April, try your hand at embroidery for children on 7 April and take the daily trail through the museum. Explore patterns through the museum collections from textiles to tiles and animals to Ancient Egyptian jewellery.

Leeds Industrial Museum

Mystery Matinees

Every day in school holidays, 2pm

Watch a classic film in one of the UK’s smallest cinemas. The Art Deco Palace Picture House will be screening family favourites and vintage classics every day during the holidays. Grab a family ticket for just £9 which includes entry into the museum and the Leeds to Innovation exhibition.

Build: Code: Create: Innovate with Programmable Lego

18-20 February, 12.30-3pm

 

Come get hands on with the collection! See cogs, wheels and engines up close before building your own innovative creation from Lego. Add a motor, get coding and the make your creation move, bleep, bloop and trigger images! No coding experience is necessary, just come down and learn something new.

Armley Print Fest

21 March, 11am-4pm

Armley Print Fest is back by popular demand! Celebrate a little bit of local Leeds heritage with family fun activities, beginner workshops, a local craft fair and live demonstrations to suit every age, interest and ability!

Necessity

7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16 April, 12.30–3pm

 

“Necessity is the mother of invention” Follow in the footsteps of Leeds innovators and ask what you could design in order to solve a problem that’s been bugging your brain! Get hands on and design and build a model inspired by the Leeds to Innovation exhibition.

See the Mill Engine in Steam

10 & 13 April

 

Did you know that Armley Mills was powered by engines as well as by waterwheels? A marvel of Victorian engineering, the 1887 steam engine is still in working order. Experience the museum’s mill engine in full steam and discover fascinating facts from the expert engineer. Learn about its history and the mechanics behind this ground-breaking machine.

 

Thwaite Watermill

Crafts & Experiments

Tuesdays & Thursdays during the school holidays

During February half term and the Easter holidays, there’s a whole load of family fun with Crafty Tuesdays and Experimental Thursdays in Thwaite House. Show off your scientific side and get messy with paper, glue, stickers and sparkles! Don’t forget to grab an explorers pack from reception during your visit and hit the nature trail by the canal. What wildlife will you spot by the waterfront?

Thwaite Easter Fayre

12 April, 12-4pm

Hop along to the annual Easter event with tea dances, pop-up cake stalls, traditional fete related games and a whole load of springtime fun! This year there’s new farmyard friends so come along and pet some animal pals or take a trip on one of the bright and beautiful canal boats!

Lotherton

Love Birds

15-23 February

 

Love Birds returns to Wildlife World for February Half Term. See the Humboldt penguins being fed at 11am and 3pm daily. Take part in feathery crafts and follow the Love Birds trail to learn more about your feathery friends. Make a nest box for new baby birds on 16, 19 and 23 February too.

Really Wild Spring

4-19 April

 

A wild spring to make your heart sing! Enjoy Easter at Lotherton with zany zoo animals, hidden house creatures and fantastic flowery gardens. Follow the Wildlife trail, take part in crazy animal crafts, try out seed planting and keep an eye out for special family days too!

 

St George’s Weekend

25-26 April

Head to Lotherton for St George’s Weekend with a dragon trail to conquer, dressing up, medieval crafts, mythical beast activities and explosive experiments. Sit back in the formal gardens and enjoy the sounds of a brass band each afternoon.

Temple Newsam

February Half Term Fun

15-23 February

Design, decorate and take home your very own treasure or trinket box fit for a mansion. Follow the trail through the house and discover other weird and wonderful treasures from the past along the way. There’s springtime sunflower planting on 19 February too. Get stuck in and see your tiny creation grow into a bright and beautiful flower!

Potty Pots

21-22 March, 10.30am-4pm

Follow the Mad Hatter’s trail and take inspiration from the unique designs of teapots from the past to make a teatime card for someone special. Become a butler, maid, master or mistress of the house and prepare afternoon tea for important guests.

Easter Holidays & Majestic Eggs

4–19 April

 

Get involved with family fun crafts, take on the majestic Easter egg hunt and visit new born farmyard friends at Home Farm. Head to the Walled Garden on 8 April for some pumpkin sowing. Plant your seeds and come back to carve them in October, just in time for Halloween!

Anything Could Happen

8 April, 1.30-2.30pm

Join in with giggles in the gallery! The most unpredictable kids performance is returning to Temple Newsam after a series of hit shows. This improvised children’s performance is suitable for anyone over the age of 5 with a wild imagination and a wicked sense of humour!

Kirkstall Abbey

Make a bird feeder and bird crafts

20 February, 2-3pm

Make a natural bird feeder to help out our feathered friends who might be struggling at this time of year. Be prepared to get messy with creative fun for the whole family to enjoy!

Easter Holidays Bunny Fun

7-19 April

 

The Tuesday under 5s session will be getting a fluffy makeover with lots of creative Easter themed fun. Fancy bagging yourself a sweet treat during your visit? The bunnies have gone hopping mad and hidden all over the abbey! Hunt them down and earn yourself an Easter treat!

Kirkstall Abbey Markets

28–29 March, 25–26 April

Don’t miss out on the fantastic monthly markets and be sure to stock-up on treats from local suppliers. With over 40 stalls, it’s the perfect place to find quality Yorkshire produce, handmade crafts, collectables and grab freshly cooked food from around the globe.

Leeds Discovery Centre

Behind the Scenes Tour

Every Thursday, 11am & 2pm

A Leeds hidden gem, the artefact store is filled with over one million objects from across the world and millennia. Join knowledgeable guides for a free tour to see everything from fabulous costume to vacuum cleaners, African masks and taxidermy. Don’t forget to look up and see the giant squid hanging from the ceiling as you enter!

Minibeasts & Crawly Critters

19 February, 10am-12pm

Explore the huge collection of insects and creepy crawlies, with some critter themed crafts and a tour of the amazing store which is crammed full of beastly bugs and other weird and wonderful findings!

Booking required. Call 0113 378 2100 or email discovery.centre@leeds.gov.uk

 

Easter Holidays

8 & 15 April, 10am-12pm

 

On 8 April bring along your tired old t-shirt for a tie dye refresh! This activity ‘ties’ in with the new exhibition Fast x Slow Fashion at LeedsCity Museum. On 18 April come along and take inspiration from the ceramic collections to create your own masterpiece in a messy play session for creative kids of all ages!

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.

 

LEEDS CITY MUSEUM AND LEEDS ART GALLERY: A cultural day out in Leeds City Centre for all the family – Review

LEEDS CITY MUSEUM AND LEEDS ART GALLERY: A cultural day out in Leeds City Centre for all the family – Review

We rushed around early Saturday morning to purchase the last item on our shopping list before the crowds flocked to Leeds City Centre, we then felt smug with shopping bag in hand as we made our way in to Leeds Art Gallery for a bit of respite before heading on to Leeds City Museum. 

Leeds Art Gallery

I’m ashamed to say that despite growing up in Yorkshire, I had never looked around the gallery which is based on The Headrow, just a 10 minute walk from Leeds Train Station.

As soon as we entered the hustle and bustle of the City Centre was behind us and we spotted the stunning Tile Hall Cafe which is on the left as you enter. 

I clocked it as the aim of finishing off a busy morning. The next striking feature of the entrance hall was the stunning stair case with a colourful wall. 

leeds art gallery galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families

Enter the light filled entrance hall and take in the bright and beautiful work of Lothar Götz.

The entrance hall is home to important works from the collection including Alexander Calder and Antony Gormley.

Götz’s stunning wall painting Xanadu links the lower and upper galleries, leading up to the light-filled space above. Both colourful and contemporary it is juxtaposed against the Victorian architecture of the gallery.

 

Ironically (after a busy morning shopping), the current exhibition is entitled Slow Painting as it includes works of art from artists “who take their time” and the gallery encourages visitors to do the same. 

art space at leeds art gallery exhibition galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families

It was fascinating looking around the different themed galleries and I loved the break out Artspace where families can play, draw and create. It was a decent sized space catered for all ages to stop and get creative. 

A world of art in the heart of the city.

Leeds Art Gallery presents a dynamic exhibition programme and holds a significant collection of modern and contemporary British art.

leeds art gallery exhibition galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families

I then headed up the staircase to see the Upper Galleries. The most striking gallery was the Central Court which was commissioned as part of Yorkshire Sculpture International. You can walk under the structure in the light airy space or you can sit and look at it. 

 Unveiled during the restoration project of 2016, the Central Court forms a large light filled space in the upper galleries.

Ayse Erkmen’s Three of Four (2019) was commissioned as part of Yorkshire Sculpture International in response to the historical architecture of the gallery. This is the first time a work has been specifically created for the space, responding to its hidden history and architectural changes throughout the life of the building.

leeds art gallery exhibition galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families sculpture ysi

It’s a brilliant space to stop, think, ponder and be mindful. 

After exploring the other galleries, we were then keen to head back down to try the Tiled Hall Cafe. 

It felt as if we were in a movie setting with the stunning blue and green tiles adourning the walls with marble columns and even a grand piano. We opted for a quick coffee and drink and enjoyed basking in the atmosphere the large cafe creates as we sat on a comfortable leather sofa. 

tile hall cafe at leeds art gallery

Once replenished, we made our way on to Leeds City Museum which is a real family-friendly treat.  

Leeds City Museum

Six galleries and a programme of family friendly exhibitions in the heart of Leeds

Leeds City Museum is based at Millenium Square in Leeds so just a short 5 minute walk from Leeds Art Gallery. 

Again, we hadn’t visited Leeds City Museum, which is also free to enter, before.  

They have a range of events on from Etsy Craft Markets to regular art sessions… it’s a stunning versatile venue which has much more to it than I had realised. 

leeds city museum galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families hall venue hire

We didn’t have long so first off we headed into the Voices of Asia exhibition. This is a rich colourful exhibition celebrating dance, music and culture from across Asia and Leeds’ connection to the continent.

leeds city museum galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families voices of asia

On the same floor there is also The Collector’s Cabinet which is home to a huge Moa skeleton (one of the world’s largest birds). 

Upstairs is The Leeds Story and then on the third floor is Ancient Worlds 

Discover the fascinating history of Leeds including our surprising inventions, sporting accolades and incredible textile heritage.

From the first archaeological finds to changing displays reflecting people’s lives in the city today, Leeds is a city of stories. Find out how Leeds has shaped, and been shaped by, its landscape and people.

Find out how the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks lived their lives and paved the way for the world as we know it in the Ancient Worlds gallery.

Visit the final resting place of Nesyamun, the 3000 year old Leeds Mummy, and the only known mummy known to hail from the 20th Dynasty. Discover clues to the past in art and architecture, objects in the earth, ancient writing and burials.

Also on the third floor is a City and It’s Welcome…

Many people have come to Leeds to start a new life, including those escaping famine in Ireland in the 1800s, those seeking work opportunities, and today’s refugees arriving in our City of Sanctuary.

A City & its Welcome tells the stories and experiences of those who have made a home in Leeds over the past three centuries and how they have helped shape the city that we recognise today. Come on a journey with us to see the differences between their hopes and expectations and the realities of life in a new place, plus treasured objects brought from afar.

We then ventured to Life on Earth exhibition… 

The story of how the natural world is more astonishing than you ever thought.

Life on Earth is home to some of the most remarkable specimens in Leeds’s collection of 800,000 animals, vegetables and minerals. From fearsome tigers to prehistoric beasts, rainbow-feathered birds and fascinating fossils, there’s so much to discover.

We could have spent a good hour in here or more as the open plan exhibition is a feast for the senses. There’s so much for the whole family to interact with from children’s dressing up to exploring fossils and animals. This alone is worth a visit and it is right next to the cafe if you need refreshments. 

leeds city museum galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families millennium square

Cafe and play area at Leeds City Museum

The Corner Cafe at Leeds City Museum is lovely and light with windows overlooking Millennium Square. There is also a small play area which is perfect for little ones as well as space for buggies. 

There’s a range of hot and cold food and drinks on offer as well as sweet treats. 

 

Verdict: Leeds City Museum and Leeds Art Gallery

Both Leeds City Museum and Leeds Art Gallery warrant a day out to Leeds in their own right. We’d say Leeds Art Gallery is perfect for families with older children or for adults and Leeds City Museum is perfect for little ones. But they are both so different and we would recommend seeing both places in one day. They are right in the heart of the city centre too so can act as good places to have some respite. They’re free to enter and have a range of free crafts and family events. 

For more information, go to: https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk