Sweeney Todd at West Yorkshire Playhouse

WYP’s chief executive Sheena Wrigley and artistic director James Brining

WYP’s chief executive Sheena Wrigley and artistic director James Brining, responsible for the new production of Sweeny Todd

Headlining his first season of work as artistic director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse is James Brining’s own production of Stephen Sondheim’s and Hugh Wheeler’s musical Sweeney Todd, presented by WYP and the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester for the Quarry stage (26 September–26 October).

Brining has challenged himself to revisit his TMA Award-winning production of Sweeney Todd that was originally staged in Dundee in 2010. The production also marks the beginning of a creative partnership with the Royal Exchange. Sweeney Todd will transfer there on 1-30 November, setting Brining the directorial challenge of creating a production for two very different spaces.

This first season of work under Brining’s new leadership is described as “marking the beginning of a new chapter in the history of West Yorkshire Playhouse. Brining’s redefinition of the theatre is an organic process that will develop over time. This season is the beginning of that process and signifies a new direction of travel for West Yorkshire Playhouse.

“Brining is redefining the theatre for today as a producing house that makes vital theatre in the heart of Leeds. By seeking out the best companies and theatre artists, locally, nationally and internationally the Playhouse can produce world-class theatre that is pioneering, invigorating and relevant. By opening up the building, exploring the creative development of the work, and introducing a number of new voices into the mix, the artistic director means to transform the relationship the theatre has with its communities, the city and beyond. It is his intention to create and nurture work with national and international ambitions which is locally rooted and has a distinctiveness informed by where it is made. Growing, challenging and sustaining a cultural ecology that stretches beyond the theatre’s physical boundaries, West Yorkshire Playhouse will tell important stories that make a difference, are necessary and are vital for today.”

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