Yorkshire Theatre Newsletter: Bumper Summer Edition: What's On Jul 30-Sep 2: Part II
Operation Crucible returns to Sheffield this Autumn. Plus, UFO Sightings Over Leeds as Wrongsemble launch a digital adventure.
Let’s dive straight in. Last week I put out a bumper edition which covered shows from Jul 30-Aug 12. This week, Part II, deals with the remaining three weeks of the year’s sleepiest theatre month. Then I’ll have a rest, returning in early September with all sorts of new ideas for taking this Newsletter forward.
What’s On Aug 13-Sep 2
By week three, we’re into Deep August. The wasps are turning nasty, the bosses are away and — with any luck — there’ll be nothing on the news except Silly Season stories.
From a Yorkshire perspective, this week’s creative excitement has to be the launch of Wrongsemble’s Stargazer. It’s an online digital adventure for families involving a UFO sighting over Leeds. Sign up for access to five films and an interactive Fact File with 14 artefacts sent directly to your home. Star Choice. From Aug 13, £8.
And director Juliet Forster’s circus-inspired adaptation of Jules Verne’s adventure yarn Around The World In 80 Days continues its perambulations around York’s outdoor spaces until Aug 21, and then moves indoors at York Theatre Royal, Aug 25-28, £15 & £20.
Also in York is Scarbados. Sam Milnes’s popular comedy-drama for the Northern Edge Theatre Company follows the lives of six characters who frequent the same seaside bar. It’s a semi-professional production with broad humour and a gritty Yorkshire setting. Joseph Rowntree Theatre, Aug 15, £8 (limited availability)
If you can escape to the seaside, Home, I’m Darling, Laura Wade’s acidulous skit on 1950s home-making runs at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until Aug 14 (£10-£28). Or, you can watch it online. Aug 9-29, £12 & £15
And Willy Russell’s one-woman comedy-drama Shirley Valentine, starring Ashley Hope Allan, is on at Esk Valley Theatre, Glaisdale, near Whitby, until Aug 28, £15 & £16.
Meanwhile, summer in the city sees Heathers The Musical visit Leeds Grand. Originally I assumed this to be a worthy National Theatre Of Scotland-Traverse-type effort. But no! It’s got nothing to do with Scotland. It’s based on a cult 1980s teen movie set in Ohio in which high school students start murdering each other. So — my bad, and it’s on till Aug 14,£29-£48.
There’s more pitch-dark humour across town at The Carriageworks. Police Cops: Badass Be Thy Name is a “gritty kitchen sink drama [which] turns into a vampire-slaying horror epic”. It has a ’90s rave soundtrack and, if you need any further encouragement, it won an Amused Moose Comedy Award in 2018. Aug 13, £14.
And the UK touring production of the irrepressible comedy-musical Hairspray arrives at Sheffield Theatres mid-month, starring Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle and Norman Pace as Wilbur Turnblad. Aug 16-21, Bradford Alhambra Sep 13-18
Finally, if the weather holds up (and my app predicts sunshine through the showers), there are outdoor touring productions aplenty. Here’s a selection:
Chapterhouse are at Burnby Hall Gardens and Museum, Pocklington, with Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Aug 13, £11 & £18
The Pantaloons are at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens with The Wind In The Willows, Aug 15, £10.50 & £13.50
Immersion Theatre romp through a swash-buckling adaptation of The Three Musketeers at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens, Aug 18, £11 & £13, then go emo with an edgily styled version of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet at the Town Hall Courtyard in Middlesbrough, Aug 19, £16
And Illyria Theatre “do what they do best” — Shakespearean comedy — with Much Ado About Nothing beneath the Priory Ruins at the breathtaking Bolton Abbey, Skipton, Aug 19, £11 & £16
Made “by the town and for the town,” local writer Rachael Halliwell and director Amie Burns Walker bring Our Gate to the streets of Harrogate in the final week of August. It’s a promenade production moving between outdoor and indoor locations as it explores the power of community action. The designs are by award-winning Caitlin Mawhinney. Aug 24-29, £18 & £20.
Skipton Little Theatre has an amateur production of Neil Simon’s comedy The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers by the Skipton Players. Oh, it’s so good to see the small venues coming back to life again! Aug 24-28, £5 & £10
Theatre Royal Wakefield presents an in-house production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical Oklahoma! Directed by Louise Denison, this show has been rescheduled from last year with the original tickets still valid. Aug 25-Sep 4, £18.50-£28
If you enjoy a classic theatre thriller, then Looking Good Dead at Sheffield Theatres is for you. The nationally touring production is an adaptation of Peter James’s bestselling book, part of the Roy Grace series, and stars Eastenders’ Adam Woodyatt as a man who discovers evidence of a vicious murder on a discarded memory stick. Aug 23-28, £15-£45.50, and the Grand Theatre, Leeds, Sep 6-11, £29-£41.
Then, in date order, here are some more outdoor touring productions:
Immersion Theatre present an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book at Newham Grange Farm, Middlesbrough, Aug 24, £14
Illyria Theatre present The Further Adventures of Dr Dolittle at Woolley Village Recreation Ground, Wakefield, in support of Wakefield Hospice, Aug 24, £9 & £15
Three Inch Fools present a musical version of Robin Hood at Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham, Aug 24, £10 & £16
And an honourable mention to Fables At The Kitchen Table, one of those quirky little Arts Council-funded children’s shows that can so easily get lost in the throng. Stute Theatre (actually, storyteller Sophia Hatfield) recounts some Aesop Fables with the help of songs and creative puppetry at Rural Arts in Thirsk. Aug 26, £4-£6. see here for more Yorkshire dates.
Aug 29-Sep 2
And here we are. Summer’s almost over and the Autumn programmes are beginning to spark into life. There’s some interesting stuff on:
LS6 Theatre, a graduate company, present Life Below at the Cluntergate Centre, Horbury, near Wakefield. My young adulthood was adversely dominated by the bitterly political 1980s Miners’ Strike. So for me, this mining drama still feels too soon. But for the next generation, it’s not painful ‘lived experience’, it’s history. And I’m glad they’re taking over the baton — trying to make sense of it all — in the way my own beaten generation really couldn’t. Aug 28, £5
There’s more history as the distinguished Gary Clarke Company presents Chronicles, a dance-storytelling performance in a site-specific performance that is both located at, and inspired by, Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley Theatre. Sep 1-5, £16
Choreographed by David Nixon OBE, and set to Vivaldi’sThe Four Seasons, Northern Ballet’s ravishing but cruel Dangerous Liaisons is at Leeds Playhouse. Sep 2-11, £15-£45
And finally, there’s Operation Crucible at Sheffield Theatres. Returning to the Studio after a sellout run in 2016, Kieran Knowles’s iconic drama tells the true story of four Sheffield steelworkers trapped together beneath the rubble of the Marples Hotel after the ferocious Luftwaffe bombing raid of Dec 12, 1940. Sep 2-25, £18 & £20.
That’s it until September, folks! But I won’t be idle — I’m planning a marketing campaign, a survey and lots of other interesting stuff.
Have a great rest of the summer! And please don’t forget to like, comment and share… It’s really helpful when you do. Thanks!