West Yorkshire Playhouse - An interview with the assistant producer about Leeds Pride & More!
Yesterday, we caught up with the assistant producer, Wesley Pearce, over at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, to find out about why they are marching in Leeds Pride this year and what is means to them. We also wanted to find out some more information about what is happening at the theatre, and why it is so important for the West Yorkshire Playhouse to give back to the whole community of Leeds.
Here is what Wesley had to say:
Why do you think Pride is important for the community?
We feel like it's an important event and we like to think we serve the whole community of Leeds, including the LGBT+ people.
Also, we have a lot of staff that identify as LGBT+ so we want to be making sure we are representing them in the best way possible.
What are views on Leeds Pride for the community?
We think it's a great thing, Pride is an important thing and hope it brings everyone together, and a lot of fun. We're hoping to have fun on the day with our staff and engage as much as we can!
What are you guys most looking forward to?
Seeing all 50 of our staff wearing the t-shirts we've had made, as we've turned the West Yorkshire Playhouse logo into a rainbow to go along with the huge flag on top of our building! (Which is the first time we've branded ourselves that way) - Looking forward to seeing everyone in unity that way.
West Yorkshire Playhouse & the community
"Our work with LGBT+ artist and audience members happens throughout the year, and in particular following pride this year, our furnace festival we've got two stand-out pieces of work that are being led by LGBT+ artists.
"The furnace festival is our new work festival that we do every year. It has everything from new pieces of work right through to fully pieces of finished work. Build a temporary studio space in their rehearsal room over the course of 2 weeks. They represent a lot of artists across the Leeds and Yorkshire area and developed".
Kate O'donnell - Is an amazing trans performer who runs a company called Trans Creative, which is the first trans led theatre company and bringing a show called 'Youve Changed' on Tuesday 19th September".
"To close the festival on the final night which is Saturday 23rd September, the Manchester based queer performance company called Mothers Ruin are doing a queer cabaret night called "Hot Queer Smithy". They're curating loads of queer artists to come and have a riotous night of the festival".
"It's not just about marching in pride its embedded in our whole programme through the year so it's really exciting!"
"WYP want to hear the voices and stories of every single person in Leeds and LGBT+ form part of that, it's about making sure every single person feels welcome in the theatre, and our program is diverse".
"We're involved in the city and we reflect the city and that's something we really try to do across all parts of our work. Our work isn't just what we put on our stages, it's the work we do with our community and the furnace artist development work".
Furnace Festival - Full Listings
Scratch (11 Sept): An informal showcase of raw and untested performance ideas whereby artists at all stages in their careers are given a platform to explore and interrogate new projects.
Rachel Mars, Joke Translation Service (12 Sept): Performance maker and writer Rachel Mars presents this full-length work in progress sharing, in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Theatre of Sanctuary.
LUNG, Trojan Horse (13 Sept): This full length work in progress sharing questions the consequences of pushing our country’s values of liberalism and tolerance to breaking point.
Olivia Hirst, The Annex (14 Sept): A full length reading of the smart, searing and funny new play by Pontefract-based writer and founding member of the award-winning Lost Watch Theatre Company.
Jim Cartwright, Northern Soul (15 Sept): A full length reading of renowned playwright Jim Cartwright’s (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Road) new work.
Daniel Bye, Instructions for Border Crossing (15 – 16 Sept): Leeds artist Daniel Bye returns to the Playhouse blending his trademark storytelling with a series of live interventions from the audience, the show itself being as unstable as the world it describes.
Transcreative, You’ve Changed (19 Sept): Written by award-winning transgender artist Kate O’Donnell and created with Lea Anderson (MBE), You’ve Changed shines a light on the ins and outs and ups and downs of transitioning through song, dance, hard-won wisdom and hilarity.
Nic Green, Cock and Bull (20 Sept): Presented in partnership with our neighbours Live Art Bistro, the Total Theatre Award winning Cock and Bull is a transforming choreography of words and a passionate speech of the body, underpinned with the real-time energy of political dissatisfaction and Tory tongue-speak.
LittleMighty, WOKE (20 – 22 Sept): Beatboxing, spoken word, storytelling and hip-hop classics as you’ve never heard them before, WOKE sees World Record holding beatboxer and rapper Testament unpick his own prejudices.
Rash Dash, Two Man Show (21 – 22 Sept): Winning a Fringe First 2016 Award and the Stage Award for Acting Excellence, Two Man Show is Rash Dash’s loud and raucous exploration of masculinity and patriarchy.
Mother’s Ruin, Hot Queer Smithy (23 Sept): A Mother’s Ruin and West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production, Manchester queer performance outfit Mother's Ruin curate a kaleidoscopic cabaret of new work and debate on the final night of Furnace Festival.
The final night of Furnace Festival will see How We Tell Our Story (23 Sept), a launch evening reinvigorating the Playhouse’s Creative Engagement and Artist Development work. Offering one of the most comprehensive programmes in the country, the event will redefine how we define our work in these areas, presenting a vital new strategy for the next phase in the Playhouse's journey. How We Tell Our Story is hosted by Artistic Director James Brining, Director of Creative Engagement Alex Ferris and Associate Director Amy Leach.