During the sixties, a public appeal was launched to establish a second theatre in the city. The Leeds Playhouse opened in 1970 on premises loaned to the theatre's trust by the University of Leeds
Entrance to Leeds Playhouse © Jim Stephenson
As part of a large-scale regeneration effort, the theatre relocated to the Quarry Hill area of the city and was reborn as the West Yorkshire Playhouse. The first major rethinking of the building since it opened in 1990 addresses the city via a new extension. The quarry hill on which the building sits has provided many challenges for people moving through the building and improved access is provided by introducing a new mid-level foyer and reconfigured auditoria.
Leeds Playhouse Courtyard Theatre © Jim Stephenson
“The Playhouse is undoubtedly beginning to show its age. We want to be able to welcome people from our region, our country and from across the world to a home of which we are proud”
James Brining, Artistic Director 2016
© Jim Stephenson
Leeds Playhouse Quarry Theatre © Jim Stephenson
The essential character of the auditoria has not changed but both the Quarry and Courtyard theatres have been adapted for increased capacity and a wider range of wheelchair positions. New seating offers greater comfort and improved legroom. Failing dimmer systems have been replaced in the Courtyard with enhancements also to the audio-visual systems. Energy savings and operational efficiencies are driving these improvements.
The Bramall Rock Void studio, an unused space under the existing box office, has been fitted out as a new flexible performance space for shorter runs of plays, workshops and educational projects alongside the programme of events hosted in the Barber Studio. The studio seats around 100 in end-stage, thrust stage or in-the-round formats.
Leeds City Council (building owner) and Leeds Playhouse (user)
Page / Park
£16.8m (project cost)