University stages double act with West Yorkshire Playhouse

A new theatre partnership between the University and West Yorkshire Playhouse is putting learning centre stage.

l-r: Dr Alice O'Grady, Robin Hawkes (WYP Executive Director), Sir Alan Langlands, James Brining (WYP Artistic Director) and Garry Lyons


The School of Performance and Cultural Industries (PCI) will work closely with the Playhouse on a series of joint theatre projects focused on developing new and emerging talent.

One of the first initiatives sees the partners link the Playhouse’s new writing schemes with the University’s Master’s course, Writing for Performance and Publication, aimed at encouraging new playwrights and playwriting.

The University and the Playhouse have now signed a memorandum of understanding to develop further projects with regional, national and international impact over the next three years.

Dr Alice O’Grady, Head of the School of PCI, which specialises in the performing arts and cultural sector, said: “This is a significant step forward in building a more solid relationship with West Yorkshire Playhouse.  The link will not only benefit current staff and students but will extend into the future as Leeds establishes itself as a city committed to the development of new writing for the theatre.”

Robin Hawkes, Executive Director at West Yorkshire Playhouse, said: "The partnership between the Playhouse and the University has huge potential. We are delighted to be formalising the long-standing relationship between the School of PCI and the Playhouse's talent development work on new writing."

The University and the Playhouse have collaborated on numerous joint activities and projects over many years. The talks were also encouraged by the development of the University’s forthcoming cultural institute, which from next year will provide the point of contact for arts and culture collaborations between academics and the cultural sector.

Professor Frank Finlay, Culture theme leader at the University, is heading up plans for the cultural institute. He said: “This formal partnership with the West Yorkshire Playhouse will build on what is already a strong relationship and complements the University’s existing collaborations with a wide range of organisations – from Opera North and The Hepworth Wakefield to Marks & Spencer, Procter & Gamble and the Met Office.”

Posted in: