Drum roll please, as we announce a landmark partnership, pledging our long-term commitment to supporting West Yorkshire Playhouse as Principal Capital Partners, alongside Moda, who will be delivering hundreds of new homes to rent within SOYO, and solicitors Irwin Mitchell.
The Playhouse will begin redevelopment towards the end of June 2018 to undergo a £14m facelift that will include the new city facing entrance and studio theatre.
Central to our commitment is supporting a pop-up theatre which will temporarily transform a workshop space on the Playhouse site into a 350-seat theatre, presenting a full and varied programme throughout the refurbishment period from Autumn 2018 to Spring 2019.
We are very keen to help keep the vibrant neighbourhood alive during all construction work, the first phase of which will take place from June this year. This innovative, long term partnership creates a unique opportunity to experience the Playhouse like never before, in an environment changing and growing into SOYO Leeds. Once the redevelopment of the Playhouse is complete, we will also be a key supporter of the theatre’s relaunch.
With the aim of creating a unique voice for the neighbourhood, we’ve also been working with the other existing cultural institutions, such as the BBC, Leeds City College, Leeds College of Music, Northern Ballet and the Wardrobe. Now is a truly exciting time for the area – Leeds City College are on site, with a £57 million brand-new campus, revolutionising the city’s digital, creative arts and health sciences provision.
We asked some of the people involved for their thoughts…
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 unified voice for 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 next few months.”
Robin Hawkes, Executive Director, West Yorkshire Playhouse, said:
“The Playhouse is delighted to be work with Caddick Group and develop the vision for the SOYO neighbourhood. The Playhouse’s redevelopment will generate a new focus for the city and establish a base to attract artists and creatives from across Yorkshire and the wider 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.”
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 the West Yorkshire Playhouse is fantastic news 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.”