There aren’t many cities that can lay claim to having England’s only national opera company outside London. Only one can, in fact. You guessed it: it’s Leeds. With Opera North, Leeds is a city firmly on the international map, the ‘national opera company in the North’ joining English National Opera as the UK’s two leading opera companies. A commissioning theatre based within the Grand Theatre & Opera House, Opera North sends productions to The Lowry in Salford and other venues around the UK, as well as receiving touring productions on its own stage. Its seasonal programmes always combine a mix of the tried and tested classics and something new.
Elsewhere, the West Yorkshire Playhouse offers well-curated seasons of contemporary theatre and fringe talent, and runs the annual fringe theatre festival Transform, which brings cutting-edge contemporary theatre and performance to Leeds every spring.
With venues like West Yorkshire Playhouse and Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House on the doorstep, plus the chance to see a healthy number of well-reviewed shows on their way back down from the Edinburgh Fringe, it’s perhaps no surprise that Leeds’ student theatre scene is pretty healthy; there’s a lot to look up to, after all. Especially as Leeds has produced some of the UK’s most well-loved dramatic talent, including actor Malcolm McDowell and playwright Alan Bennett.
So whether you’re looking for a scratch night or fledgling play, or want to catch a major international touring production, there’ll be something for you on Leeds’ theatre scene. If you’re in a theatre group or putting on a play, let us know about your upcoming events at firstname.lastname@example.org.