Yorkshire Theatre Newsletter: What's On This Week (Nov 27-Dec 2)
There Is No Planet B: Climate Change Comes To Lincolnshire
Harmonica Breakdown was choreographed in 1938 by Jane Dudley (1912-2001), a member of Martha Graham’s company who went on to become a director of London Contemporary Dance School. A solo piece set to a riveting harmonica blues score by Sonny Terry, it speaks to the “misery and defiance” of an African-American woman caught up in the devastation of the American Dust Bowl. One of the five pieces presented by Phoenix Dance company to celebrate their 40th anniversary, I was bowled over by how fresh and radical it felt. And the implied ecological message is as relevant as it always was.
Forty Years Of Phoenix had a celebratory feel, and was a great opportunity for the Leeds company to develop the performance skills of its youngest members. For these youngsters, Covid came along at exactly the wrong time, so it was great to see them embracing a selection of repertoire from across the decades in public performance.
And watching the programme at York Theatre Royal in the company of a random subscriber to Yorkshire Theatre Newsletter worked out just fine. I knew it would. You’re an interesting and well-travelled bunch.
What’s On Nov 26-Dec 2
My brother’s girlfriend was recently arrested for glueing herself to the M25 -- much to my brother's fury, since her vague sharing that she was “going on a demo” was misleading about the precise nature of the firestorm that was about to unleash.
Hassun El Zafar’s There Is No Planet B at Theatre Deli in Sheffield is scarcely less urgent. It’s a study of how climate change will impact working class communities and tells of a father and daughter who run a fish and chip shop in a Lincolnshire town that is likely to become part of the sea. Dec 1-3, £12-£14.
There are a couple more stand-outs in a traditionally slow week for theatre. Stage@Leeds has Art Of Believing with the Daniel Martínez Flamenco Company. Dec 2 & 3
And York Theatre Royal has Ghost Stories for Christmas. James Swanton tells three of Charles Dickens’ Christmas ghost stories: not only A Christmas Carol, but the much less well-known The Chimes and The Haunted Man. Dec 2-13, £7-£14
Mike Kenny’s The Railway Children, adapted from E Nesbitt’s novel, opens this week at Hull Truck. The playwright has revisited his original production (the one with a real steam engine) for a toe-tapping musical version. Nov 26-Jan 2, £10-£29.50
Northern Opera Group have been based in Leeds since 2015 and perform a mix of community and professional work, specialising in rare operas. Their latest show is Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors featuring professional soloists, West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra and a chorus of amatuer singers. Morley Town Hall, Dec 5, £7 (two performances, sung in English)
Just a short Newsletter this time. But a panoply of dazzing Christmas shows await next week.