Leeds Playhouse Presents – random

It’s just an ordinary day in the ordinary life of an ordinary family. The alarm clock flickers to 7:37 am. With a rushed breakfast in their stomachs, they join the hectic rush of the world outside. But all it takes is for one random act to flip everything on its head. In a moment, lives are changed forever with a family left astounded by a devastating catastrophe. random is a remarkable play by debbie tucker green vividly details the feelings of grief and bewilderment. 

Kiza Deen (Silent Witness and Hollyoaks) takes on the beautifully poignant one-woman play which focuses on an ordinary family caught up in the whirlwind of grief and heartache. Kiza portrays the roles of four different characters with incredible finesse in this marvellous play, directed by Gbolahan Obisesan.

Director Gbolahan Obisesan

We don’t want to give too much away about this play but we can’t recommend enough how much you need to see it. In fact, random promises highs and lows with Kiza giving everything she has to this demanding role. 

Kiza Deen in rehearsals for random

The rehearsals have been going spectacularly and now we can’t wait to see the final result in the flesh. Make sure you get your tickets now to guarantee your place to see this phenomenal play by an incredible award-winning playwright.

Update: We have some incredible photographs from the first night of random at the Pop-Up theatre and it looks truly brilliant!

So far, audiences have described this stellar production as ‘mesmerising’, ‘truly remarkable’ and ‘beautifully directed’. random will be at Leeds Playhouse’s Pop-Up Theatre from Monday 4th Feb – Sat 16th Feb

You can get your tickets here: https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk/events/random/#tickets

The best places to eat in the city centre for Veganuary

The best places to eat in the city centre for Veganuary

We know that most of you will be wanting to slim down and squeeze back into those old pair of jeans this year. And of course, January is the best time of year to give things a whirl before you inevitably quit by the end of the month (for most, not all). Some people are giving up alcohol for the month, others are quitting smoking and most of us aim on eating healthier.

Fear not! We have compiled a list of the best eateries in Leeds’ bustling city centre for everybody who’s going bold and giving ‘Veganuary’ a go. Let’s get exploring!

East 59th

Let’s start with brunch! Brunch is fast becoming a new way of eating, living and socialising and East 59th have you covered with their ‘Dirty Vegan Brunch’ menu. Located on on the top floor of Victoria Gate, East 59th is fast becoming one of the slickest hotspots in the city centre. And with their vegan brunch menu consisting of 2 courses for £15 or three for £20 with a Detox cocktail, it sounds pretty good to us!


If you’ve finished your brunch, why not wander next door to Issho? Issho is a beautiful Japanese restaurant with an incredibly varied menu for all to try. Don’t believe us? Just check out their vegan menu, they’ve got something for everybody. And it all tastes pretty spectacular.

The Wardrobe

Next on our list of must-go places is The Wardrobe. This popular bar/restaurant is just a stone’s throw away from the Leeds Playhouse and they’re boasting a sophisticated vegan menu this month. Make sure you also check out their Facebook page as they’ll be hosting an array of vegan related events throughout January. Why not check out their Veganuary menu:

from the Leeds Playhouse and they’re boasting a sophisticated vegan menu this month. Make sure you also check out their Facebook page as they’ll be hosting an array of vegan related events throughout January. Why not check out their Veganuary menu:

The Old Red Bus Station

If you’re on the hunt for something different, venture down to The Old Red Bus Station. It prides itself on being Leeds’ first all vegan food outlet and they boast an incredibly varied menu for all who are interested in going. They’ve got an incredible variety of diner style dinners and some great boozy beverages to go with your meals.


If you’re looking for some informal fine dining, why not venture to Crafthouse, located in Trinity Leeds, you can head through or take the glass elevator up from just next to The Botanist. At Crafthouse, you’re guaranteed a luxurious meal in one of Leeds’ most beautiful restaurant settings with a gorgeous view of the city.


One of the most talked about locations in Leeds is Bundobust. The restaurant has continued to thrive since their opening and it’s not hard to see why. Bundobust is the go-to place in Leeds for an excellent vegan dining experience. The vegan restaurant is the place where most meat eaters even enjoy to go for a change of scenery.

We hope these little must-go locations will be perfect for you noble Veganuarians. This well definitely kick you off into the new year with style, who knows, it may even be the start of a whole new you!

Coming to see ‘Kes’

‘Kes’ has been watched and loved by generations of northerners (and the rest of the UK) for years now. It’s a cultural masterpiece and being taught to school children ensures the spirit of this classic is kept alive.

Ken Loach’s acclaimed British film focuses on 14-year-old Billy Casper. Kes is a heartwarming tale about a boy trying to find himself in the world. Billy is a troubled working-class lad living in Barnsley. He’s subjected to abuse at school as well as in his home life. After finding a kestrel on a nearby farm, Billy begins to take an interest in falconry and he his life starts to change.

“It’s fierce, an it’s wild, an’ it’s not bothered about anybody, not even about me right. And that’s why it’s great.” 

The critically acclaimed film is an adaption of Barry Hines’ book ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ which was written in 1968 but is still as poignant today as it was when it was first published. Ken Loach then released the film just two years later where it became an instant hit. 

Kes at Leeds Playhouse

The stage adaption of Kes has been brilliantly portrayed by the two-man cast at Leeds Playhouse. Lucas Button portrays the role of the young Billy Casper and he puts in a stellar performance of the troubled young boy. Jack Lord plays the role of ‘Man’. Jack brilliantly portrays all the other major characters in Billy’s life. Everybody from the man who runs the evil headmaster, the brutish PE teacher, his troubled mother, Jud the bullying older brother and the teacher who encourages Billy to follow his passion in falconry.

Barry Hines’ stellar novel has been adapted for stage and opens at Leeds Playhouse on 25th January, running until 16th February.

If you’re coming from out of town and you want to get the full ‘Yorkshire’ experience before heading to the theatre, why not check out some of Leeds’ best-loved boozers and traditional eateries. 

Whitelock’s Ale House

Whitelock’s Ale House is the oldest pub in Leeds. It was first founded in 1715 as The Turk’s Head before being taken over by the Whitelock family in the 1880’s. 

This gorgeous traditional pub also extended into the row of Georgian working men’s cottages where it was described as ‘the very heart of Leeds’ by English poet and broadcaster John Betjeman. The bar still features significant traditional 19th-century furnishings, from rich mahogany woodwork to low beamed ceilings and original beer mirrors.  Food critic Jay Rayner said that the people of Islington would sell their granny for the copper bar tops!

The Pack Horse

Records suggest that there was a pub on the site of The Pack Horse as far back as 1615! Despite closing and opening several times its has retained a very rich history over the decades. Royalists were entertained during the English Civil War; it has been home to a dancing school, and even spent some time as a theatre bar. Not only does it fit the traditional ‘pub’ aesthetic, you can sup a pint while enjoying one of their delicious Pieminister pies with mash and gravy. It doesn’t get much more traditional than this!  

The Adelphi

Another popular pub filled with history. Built in 1897, The Adelphi is filled with Victorian charm. Located just by The Tetley, this building actually became a Tetley Heritage pub in 1978 and later became a Grade II listed in 1994. Etched glass, tiled floors and mahogany fittings really sends you back in time as you venture into this beloved Leeds pub. We’d recommend one of the great craft beers with your Cherry Orchard Sausage and Mash. And if beer isn’t your thing, fear not, The Adelphi also boasts and extensive wine list and a curated G&T menu. 

We hope these will get you in the spirit for this fantastic production. It’s not a show to miss so make sure you grab your tickets fast! https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk/events/kes/#tickets

“He called the Kestrel ‘Kes’… as he would a friend.” 


This article was first published on the Leeds Arts University website

An exciting new project managed by Leeds Arts University, Leeds City Council and Rachel Reeves MP is seeking to commission a public sculpture to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in Leeds.

The project, conceived by Rachel Reeves MP, is now looking to coammission an artist to create an iconic public sculpture to represent the accomplishments of multiple women in the city, creating a more balanced gender representation of public sculpture in Leeds.

It is proposed the artwork will be located at the heart of the new development of Gateway Court at Quarry Hill, home to BBC Yorkshire, Leeds College of Music and Northern Ballet, and sited prominently at the top of a green landscaped, tiered public space visible from Eastgate and The Headrow.

The public will be given the opportunity to see the shortlisted artworks in an exhibition held in the new gallery at Leeds Arts University in May 2019. The selected artist will be paid a fee of £10,000 for the piece, which is expected to cost approximately £40,000 to be produced.

The project is seeking applications from artists ideally based in the UK, with experience of delivering public projects on a similar scale. The deadline to submit is 21 September 2018 and any interested artists can find out more at HERE

Rachel Reeves, MP Leeds West, said:

“It’s incredibly exciting that after many months of planning with Leeds Arts University and Leeds City Council, we are another step closer to creating a city centre sculpture that truly celebrates the women of Leeds.

The achievements of women have been under-represented in local art and culture for too long but the Artist’s Brief, which invites artists to submit their ideas for a sculpture commemorating women’s achievements, is a fantastic opportunity to develop the city’s cultural offering.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the ideas put forward for this project and would encourage as many artists as possible to get involved in this historic piece of work”

Professor Simone Wonnacott, Vice-Chancellor, Leeds Arts University, said:

“It has been a pleasure to be involved in this project, particularly since some of the world’s most significant sculptors are alumni of Leeds Arts University, including Barbara Hepworth. The project will offer a new opportunity for established, and up-and-coming, artists to propose how we can celebrate women’s contribution to Leeds with an innovative and thought-provoking new sculpture.

We are looking for work that will stimulate debate and inspire the next generation of women to be bold and confident in what they can achieve.”

We love Leeds’ Light Night

Silent discos, fire breathing dragons and giant humanoids on the high street – that’s what happens when Light Night Leeds 2018 takes over the city!

Leeds shone this year as Light Night took over town. Dazzling lights in many shapes, forms and sizes across each zone, the city saw thousands take to the streets over two evenings to enjoy the spectacle. Even the drizzle couldn’t keep people away!

Light Night is organised by Leeds City Council, who with the support of various sponsors, operate different light installations across multiple city centre zones and with art installation contributors from all over the world. SOYO Leeds were excited to be a part of it this year sponsoring the SOYO Zone!

Kicking off with an illuminated parade down the Headrow, the city was filled with people admiring the awe inspiring multi-arts and light displays. Families were out in force to see the best of the best with crowds congregating in the Station Zone outside Queens Hotel to see ‘Forgotten’, a piece by Create Studio from Belgium, who brought to life a fire breathing dragon, awakened and seeking vengeance from it’s entrapment (so legend has it) – a clever blend of projection and pyrotechnics.

Another highlight was the Millennium Square Zone based ‘CHAOS’, projected onto Civic Hall, created by Hotara Visual Guerrilla from Spain and inspired by University of Leeds research to explore chaos through light, sound and movement.

Moving toward SOYO Zone, the Tom Dale Company from the UK brought their mesmerising work ‘I Infinite’ to the Northern Ballet. This fully immersive piece of part dance and part video installation explored the organic and digital worlds. St Peter’s Place was transformed into a disco dance floor and guests were equipped with LED headphones (and the occasional spandex) for a vibrant silent disco by Buffet, from the UK, followed by an equally illuminating after party hosted by The Wardrobe.

The Leeds College of Music outside performance space was home to the ‘Mirror Stage’, a large scale installation by Gillian Hobson from the UK and local restaurant Aagrah cooked up street food wraps and offered a selection of gin cocktails. Over at Leeds Minster, on display was the ‘There but not there’ installation, representing the men of Leeds who went to war but never returned, .

Light Night Leeds upped the ante this year with close to 60 installations spread across the city centre zones. Plans are in place next year to host the event across three evenings to include even more, so keep your diaries free for 2019.


Leeds Playhouse is one of the largest producing theatres in the north. Founded in 1970, relocated in 1990 and relaunched this year with a new name, plan for refurbishment and a vision clearer than ever.

As well as their stellar tours and homegrown performances, Leeds Playhouse offers a thrilling programme of creative engagement – participatory activity that opens up possibilities for people regardless of their age, circumstance or background, and an innovative creative crucible for thrilling, reflective, resonant work that speaks to the city.


John Lewis and Partners is at the heart of Victoria Gate – a modern extension to the iconic Victorian arcades, collectively known as Victoria Leeds.

As well as housing some of their best products and services under one roof, John Lewis and Partners focus on sustainability and the importance of keeping local brands alive. Their loved&found department champions independent designers and provides a platform for unknown or up and coming artists to promote their work to the masses.


The Wardrobe is all things for all people. Upstairs, a multi functioning bar and kitchen serves up some of the best eats and drinks in the city. Downstairs, the basement venue hosts amateur comedy acts and unsigned musicians alongside some of the biggest names in the business.

As one of the city’s oldest and most loved venues, The Wardrobe have a very carefully curated series of events running, with something to enjoy on most nights of the week.

We’re partnering with Leeds Playhouse

Leeds Playhouse has announced a five-year cultural partnership with SOYO as part of the landmark Playhouse redevelopment project. Confirmed as a Principal Capital Partner, SOYO (part of the Yorkshire-based Caddick Group) provides a welcome boost to the Playhouse’s redevelopment and vital financial support through this period of revitalisation.

SOYO, the £300m redevelopment within Leeds’ cultural quarter, has pledged a long-term commitment to supporting West Yorkshire Playhouse, alongside Moda which is delivering hundreds of new homes for rent at SOYO. They will join Irwin Mitchell as Principal Capital Partners of the Playhouse’s redevelopment

The £14m redevelopment project, led in partnership with Leeds City Council, will be funded by £4.4m from the City Council, alongside a £6.6m Arts Council England contribution and £3m from the Playhouse’s own resources (including a fundraising target of £2.3m). The proposals for the redevelopment which will mark a vital new chapter in the Playhouse’s long history will see the building transformed and modernised to include changes and improved access to the theatre, a new city-facing entrance and the addition of a new studio theatre space in the Bramall Rock Void.

The five-year partnership includes financial support for Leeds Playhouse’s redevelopment, which is due to start in June 2018, as well as support for the Playhouse to continue to produce great shows during the construction works. The centrepiece of the collaboration is the Playhouse’s Pop Up theatre, in association with SOYO, which will temporarily transform a workshop space on the Playhouse site into a 350-seat theatre, presenting a full and varied programme throughout Autumn 2018 to Spring 2019.

This innovative, long term partnership creates a unique opportunity to experience the Playhouse as it has never been seen before in an environment changing and growing into SOYO  at the heart of the cultural quarter of Leeds.

Leeds Playhouse Executive Director Robin Hawkes said“The Playhouse is delighted to work with Caddick Group and help develop the vision for the SOYO neighbourhood. The Playhouse redevelopment will generate a new focus for the city and establish a base to attract artists and creatives from across Yorkshire and the North. We are proud to be partnering with a business that shares a passion for Leeds and an ambition to build the future of the cultural quarter.”

Myles Hartley, MD at Caddick Developments, the company behind SOYO, said: “SOYO is proud to be collaborating with its neighbours to create one of the best places in the UK to live, work, play, learn and be entertained. Since our initial discussions, West Yorkshire Playhouse has been a keen supporter of SOYO and our vision to create a heart & home in Leeds’ most culturally significant area, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Playhouse and especially to our association with the Pop Up theatre over the coming months.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, added: “Leeds City Region has a strong cultural heritage which resonates internationally and is a key driver for investment. The news of this new partnership between SOYO and West Yorkshire Playhouse is fantastic for both the city and the region, and I look forward to the opening of the Pop Up theatre in Autumn 2018 which will continue the Playhouse’s tradition of great programming during the redevelopment.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “Following our recently launched cultural strategy and £35m programme taking us to Leeds 2023, we will soon announce the ‘Our Spaces’ strategy transforming and developing our public realm and city spaces into cultural venues. It’s pleasing therefore to see developers understand the benefits that culture and collaboration can bring in today’s partnership between this landmark development and West Yorkshire Playhouse, which is a welcome example of both and our ambition for the city.”

This story was originally published at https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk 

Moda to be first on site at SoYo

Moda, next generation neighbourhoods for rent are going to be the first on site. They’re famous for creating places to live, spaces to work, people to play. Providing inclusive, connected, convenience to enjoy your city on your terms.

Due to break ground early 2019, New York Square will feature 515 one, two and three bedroom apartments. Creating a genuine step change to the rental market in Leeds, residents will have access to a whole host of onsite amenities and services including a cycle café, pet parlour, shared lounges, roof terraces, co-working, fitness and wellbeing studios.

Moda life

Moda are anything but expected. They create their own finishes. They thrive on bicycles and great coffee. Dogs keep them running. They believe that living well is a necessity and spend their lives curating what we simply call Moda.

The best of all worlds

When you’re part of the Moda family, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of exclusive partnerships with companies like Hero.

Moda are here to make your life easier. That means an apartment ready with superfast fibre, TV and all the latest appliances from the second you move in. And an Uber ready and waiting outside.

A new way of living

They’re so much more than a home. You can make the most of exclusive residents’ lounges, private roof garden, cinema room, gym and yoga space.

And their events mean you’ll never be bored for a second. They host regular BBQs, movie nights and supper clubs for all our residents.

As you can imagine, we’re thrilled to welcome them to the neighbourhood.