Biography

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Since opening in 1990, West Yorkshire Playhouse has established a national and international reputation.

We provide both a thriving focal point for the communities of West Yorkshire and theatre of the highest standard for audiences throughout the region and beyond.

The Playhouse has two theatres, the Quarry with 750 seats and the smaller, more flexible Courtyard with 350 seats. Alongside its work on stage, the Playhouse continues to lead the theatre industry in the ambition and scope of its education and community work.

The Playhouse is a producing theatre, building and rehearsing our own shows in our home in the city of Leeds. We regularly collaborate with other major regional producing theatres and companies and a full list of shows from 1990 can be found in our online archive. We tour our shows nationally and have seen many shows transfer to theWest End. Our most recent West EndTransfer was Othello (2009) to Trafalgar Studios featuring Lenny Henry, a co-production with Northern Broadsides.

West Yorkshire Playhouse is a significant employer in the region, with over 200 staff. Jobs vary from technicians, carpenters and metalworkers, lighting and sound designers and operators, wardrobe and wigs, to front of house customer service and communication, production administration and arts development.

The Playhouse provides one of the country's most comprehensive arts education programmes, including a range of initiatives for adults and community groups and works with schools and young people of all ages.  First Floor was opened in January 2009 and is a dedicated space for young people, providing arts activities and projects all year round. West Yorkshire Playhouse Touring Company takes productions into local Schools, combining high quality performance with often provocative issues.

West Yorkshire Playhouse is currently funded by Arts Council England, National Lottery and Leeds City Council. The other half of the theatres income is made up of ticket sales, fundraising and donations and other earned income.

In 2010 West Yorkshire Playhouse was awarded National Lottery funds as part of an Action Research initiative by the Arts Council to explore the most effective ways of supporting organisational development. Through Action Research, West Yorkshire Playhouse will explore ideas that will inform a new business model for the theatre. New initiatives, internal evaluations, pilot studies and creative projects will form an essential part of the research process. The project aims to open up creative opportunities and open out the building's talent and resources.

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