West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds to undergo £14 million modernisation

An artist impression of the new entrance to West Yorkshire Playghouse Art work: Page Park

An artist impression of the new entrance to West Yorkshire Playghouse Art work: Page Park - Credit: Archant

Multi-million pound theatre project will help emerging Yorkshire talent

An artist impression of the new foyer planned for West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds Artwork: Page Pa

An artist impression of the new foyer planned for West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds Artwork: Page Park - Credit: Archant

Ambitious plans to redevelop one of Yorkshire’s leading theatres have been given the go ahead by planners. Construction work will begin this summer to transform West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. The £14million project, led by Leeds City Council, is funded by £4.4million from the city council and £3million from the Playhouse’s own resources including ongoing fundraising, plus £6.6million from Arts Council England.

The plans include full modernisation of the building, significantly improved access across the theatre and a brand new city-facing entrance. The plans also include the new Bramall Rock Void studio theatre space, part funded with a substantial donation from the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation.

‘This is the culmination of nearly five years of hard work by so many people both at the Playhouse and at the council, and means we can go into the new year planning positively for a new era for our theatre,’ said Robin Hawkes, executive director at the Playhouse.

‘We are very grateful to partners at Arts Council England for putting their trust in us to deliver this brilliant project as well as for their ongoing input, guidance and support, and we look forward to giving Leeds the 21st century theatre it deserves.’

The theatre’s artistic director James Brining said he relished the opportunity to make the Playhouse more welcoming for the hundreds of thousands of people who use it every year. He added: ‘We take the responsibility of refashioning the Playhouse extremely seriously and look forward to many more years of fantastic theatre here in Leeds when we open the doors of the new Playhouse in 2019.’

The leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake said she believed plans for the Playhouse were a giant leap towards enhancing the city’s world class cultural offering for future generations. ‘Working alongside our partners at West Yorkshire Playhouse for the past few years, our shared vision has been to reshape the venue into a modern, state-of-the-art theatre which is the focal point of a new cultural hub for the whole city to enjoy,’ she said.

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And a large donation from The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation has enabled the Playhouse go ahead with plans to create a new studio space within the theatre, called The Bramall Rock Void. The new performance space will be built into a rock void underneath the theatre’s box office and become a flexible and intimate new third auditorium dedicated to new works.

‘The new Bramall Rock Void space will help us to develop the Playhouse’s reputation as an innovative and nurturing organisation that works hard to retain Yorkshire-born and based talent in the region,’ said Mr Brining

Liz and Terry Bramall said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to be able to support the creation of a new and exciting theatre space as part of the Playhouse redevelopment and to lend it our name. The Bramall Rock Void will be a unique space for new work and a wonderful platform for Yorkshire based artists and creatives.

‘Our Foundation has supported James, Robin and the Playhouse team for many years now, and we are very proud of the work the theatre delivers and the support it offers young people and the wider Leeds and Yorkshire communities. The Playhouse is a huge asset for our region and we are delighted to be able to help to secure its long term future.’

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