West Yorkshire Playhouse a vision of Vital Theatre

From the beginning it was clear that the new West Yorkshire Playhouse was going to be more than just a performing space.  In the first 6 years of operation the Playhouse produced 93 of its own productions encompassing classics and contemporary British and European drama, modern theatre from around the world and had implemented a vigorous new writing policy.

Ian Brown succeeded Jude Kelly as Artistic Director in 2002 and brought with him a commitment to continue the vital and established role that the Playhouse was playing in the community.  Under his leadership the Playhouse maintained its pioneering community engagement work and  gained a reputation for the quality and mix of its work.

Following Ian’s departure in 2012 he was succeeded by James Brining.  Although Leeds-born, James arrived via Richmond and Dundee.  With new-found vigour the Playhouse continues to develop and expand on the vision of Vital Theatre.

The Playhouse has two theatres, the Quarry with 750 seats and the smaller, more flexible Courtyard with 350 seats.  However its reach goes far beyond those two spaces; over the 2015 autumn season its work will be seen in over 60 venues from village halls (Beryl on tour) to Wales Millennium Centre (Sweeney Todd). In recent years plays have been taken out into the local community with Little Sure Shot and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads being presented in community centres around the city.

51 years on from Doreen Newlyn’s notice to the Arts Council and 25 years on from the opening of the new building, the Playhouse remains as strong as ever, producing great theatre for, and by, its communities in the heart of the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire and the UK.


Displace Yourself Theatre UK

Displace Yourself Theatre is a company that combines precise physicality, an engaging and highly accessible performance style and a developed political consciousness. This ambitious young devising performers use the power of movement to shine light on the shadows of society. The socio-political work is reflected in Displace Yourself's distinctive form using projection, live performers, minimal props and precise energetic scores that disobey tradition theatre conventions.

At the heart of their productions lies a throughout and intimate process of devising, working closely with the people their productions are about, providing a platform for under-represented communities using theatre as a way to have their voice heard. Including the audience at all stages of the show's development through live events, discussions and workshops is as important to Displace Yourself as the show itself.

Creative together is a monthly training for adults to try out and develop new skills in a range of creative and art activities. The sessions are open to everyone and suitable for people who have never taken part in arts and drama before as well as those with more experience. Creating together provides the opportunity to meet new people in your community, to improve communication and learn how to express yourself through body and voice and to release inner tensions and anxiety. 


Working in Theatre: Stage Management

Stage management is the practise of organising and coordinating a theatrical production. It encompasses a variety of activities, including organising the production and coordinating communication between various people such as director and backstage crew, or actors and production management.

Stage management is a sub-discipline of stage craft. A stage manager is one who has overall responsibility for stage management and the smooth execution of a production. Stage management may be perform by one individual in small productions, while larger productions typically employ a stage management team consisting of a head stage manager and one or more assistants.

The responsibilities and duties vary depending on the setting of a production (rehearsal or performance) and the type of production (theatre, dance, music). Most broadly, it is the stage manager responsibility to ensure that the director's artistic choices are realised in actual performance.

As the lighting, sound and set change, cues are developed and the stage manager records the timing of each as it relates to the script. He or she maintains a prompt book which contains all cues, technical notes, blocking and other information pertinent to the show.

During rehearsals, the stage manager serves as an adjunct to the director by recording the blocking and ensuring that cast members stay on script, have the requisite props, and follow the blocking. Stage manager are also responsible for helping establish a show's rehearsal schedule and ensuring that rehearsals run on time. He or she documents each rehearsal in a rehearsal report.

Christmas Pantomimes in London

The Pantomime or Panto is a kind of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is performed throughout the United Kingdom, generally during the Christmas and New Year season. 

Modern pantomimes include songs, gags, slapstick comedy and dancing, employ gender-crossing actors, and combine topical humour and a story loosely based on a well-known fairy-tale, fable or folk-tale. it is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain part of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.

Pantomime has a long theatrical history in the Western culture dating back to classical theatre, and it developed partly from the 16th-century Italian tradition of commedia dell'arte, as well as others European and British stage traditions such as 17th-century masques and music hall.

A contemporary pantomime stage tradition is the celebrity guest star. Many modern pantomime use popular artists to promote the show, and the play is often adapted to allow the star to showcase their well-known act, even when such a spot has little relation to the main plot!

The Magic Circle Performances

The magic circle is the premier magical society in the fascinating world of magic and illusion. With an international membership of around 1500, all dedicating in promoting and advancing the art of magic, an entertainment as popular today as when the famous club was formed in 1905.

The magic circle realised a long held ambition in 1998 when they opened they own purpose built headquarter in the heart of Euston, close to London's West End. Here in addition to their superb theatre, they have a library, a splendid museum, and on display their vast collection of posters and memorabilia relating to the history of mystery. 

In this unique setting they present shows and special events where the audience can experience the atmosphere of their home of magic, which has become an award winning venue for corporate functions and conferences. 

Book your seats and enjoy an evening of magical performances and wonder featuring some of the best magicians in the world. You'll learn about the history of magic, and get to witness amazing close-up conjuring and a magical stage show as part of this highly entertaining evening.


Little Angel Angel in London

Little Angel Theatre is one of the only three building-based puppet theatres in England. Established in 1961, the Islington-based theatre is the centre of artistic creation. The 100 seat theatre stands side by side with the workshop where all new productions and puppets are developed, carved and constructed. They are dedicated to the celebration and development of puppetry and live animation in all its diverse forms.

For over fifty years Little Angel Theatre have provided high quality puppet theatre aimed at family audiences and is continuing to extend their work for adults and young children. Not only do they produce they own shows which play in-house and tour nationally and internationally, but they also welcome puppetry companies from around the UK and overseas to perform on their stage.

Little Angel Theatre has a lively and imaginative educational program working with schools, youth and community groups, particularly in islington and the neighbouring  boroughs. They also run participation activities, such as the Saturday Puppet Club, Crafty Kid Club and Youth Theatre, and regular kids fun days and Holiday clubs.

Finally, through various courses throughout the year they provide training opportunities for puppeteers and puppet makers, maintaining this rare art form in the UK. They continually seek founding for this work and have recently received support for Esme Fairbaim Foundation towards a program of training activities.


Discover London Theatres: The Finborough, Jewel of the London Fringe

Probably the most influential fringe theatre in the world, artistic director Neil McPherson has guided the tiny Finborough to success via very specific artistic criteria: revivals much have been written after 1800, but not seen in London for 25 years; new work must avoid numerous cliches, including 'paedophilia', 'Oscar Wilde', and plays about urban, middle-class 'twenty/thirtysomethings' preoccupied with relationships or emotional problems.

The programme takes in three-week-runs, with a main play running Tuesday to Saturday nights, and a secondary play running Sunday and Monday. Inevitably there are as many misses as hits, but the calibre of actors and creatives is way beyond what you'd normally expect from the fringe.

You won't get much change out of £20 for a ticket, though that's kind of par for course across the fringe these days. Though an archetypal pub theatre, the Finborough have outlasted any number of businesses in its downstairs, from pubs to a wine bar. Currently it's the Finborough Arms, a welcoming pub with a wide range of beers.

Performing Arts at the Roundhouse Theatre London

Roundhouse Poetry Collective

The Roundhouse poetry collective is a group of young writers and performers who meet weekly to create, experiment and develop their work under guidance of established and celebrated poets.

To join, young people only need an interest in writing and the will to commit to a year of development. By the end of the project, participants will have developed skills in a large range of poetry writing and performance styles, learnt how to create work together and been introduced to exercises and techniques to improve their craft.

The program helps students develop confidence as writers and performers by offering detailed feedback and guidance, as well as creating a close network of likeminded potential collaborators. Joining the poetry collective offers the opportunity to be invited to perform at the Roundhouse as well as at a number of high-profile  festival and events.

Devising Theatre: Real Life Stories

This workshop is a chance for anyone interested in theatre to learn more about verbatim techniques and explore how they can be used to make innovative new work. Making Verbatim theatre means using exactly the same words that were used originally by someone else. This could be by a politician, a celebrity, your sister or even Twitter.

To join this project no previous experience in acting is necessary. All information http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/young-creatives/list








Regent Street Cinema London for Actors, Film Students & Fans

Build in 1848 and housed within the Polytechnic Institution on London's Regent Street, the cinema was the first in the UK to show moving pictures. In 1896, the cinema showcased the Lumber Brothers' Cinématographe to a paying audience and, as the curtain fell, British cinema was born.

After being used a student lecture hall by the university since 1980, it was restored into a working cinema featuring a state-of-the art auditorium as well as inclusive space for learning, cultural exchange and exhibitions. It is a truly landmark venue for the British film industry in the heart of London's West End.

The cinema is one of the few in the country to show 16mm and 35mm films, as well as the latest in 4K digital films. It offers premieres, repertory screenings, retrospectives, documentaries, animation and experimental cinema. You can also experience double-bills showcasing the best of home-grown British talent, world cinema and classic movies in a classic environment.

The university of Westminster has always been at the centre of innovation in film production and cinematography. Many of the university's alumni occupy prominent roles within the industry. The Regent Street cinema will provide a platform for film students and professionals to come together and showcase their outstanding work.

The cinema will also play a key role at the center of our community: school programs, hands-on learning, debates and discussions will connect what we do with those around us. For all information https://www.regentstreetcinema.com

Amateur Theatre Company in London

The Tower Theatre Company is a performing non-professional acting group in the city of London. They present about 18 productions each year in London, either at their base theatre, or at other small venues in the London area. During the summer months, they also perform touring productions, with regular appearances at the outdoor Théâtre de Verdure in Paris.

The Tower Theatre Company has been entertaining audiences for over 80 years. All their actors, directors and technical crews get involved for the sheer love of drama. The only full-time, non-professional company in central London, the Tower produces shows that compete with the best of the professional London fringe. 

They stage productions from Beckett to Butterworth, from Shakespeare to Sondheim. They seek to tackle new theatrical territory as well as to recreate stage classics, but most of all they aim to inspire audiences with their unique combination of creativity, passion and collaboration.

To get involve, please check their website http://www.towertheatre.org.uk/index.htm

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