Red Ladder Theatre Company

News

Red Ladder receives 2016 BAC Cataloguing Grant!

We are delighted to have been announced as winners of The Business Archives Council cataloguing grant for business archives related to the Arts, 2016. The Arts grant was launched in 2013 to support an under-represented area of business archives and to complement wider initiatives for archiving the arts by The National Archives and the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives.

The judges were very impressed with the high standard of the applications that were received from across the country, but ultimately decided to present the award to Special Collections, Leeds University Library & Red Ladder Theatre Company for the cataloguing of our company archives.

The grant will fund the cataloguing of our records, dating from 1971 to 2014.  These contain board minutes, tour plans, articles, scripts, set drawings and publicity materials. Currently, the lack of hand or box lists means that the collection is inaccessible and so the project to catalogue it in-depth will make a clear difference.

 ‘The judges recognised that the Archives of Red Ladder Theatre Company could be not only a strong research resource for theatre and performance (a subject strength within special collections at Leeds University Library), but also in the under-represented area of radical theatre. As the company has focused on disadvantaged communities and multiculturalism, and working with living playwrights, it also has the potential to open new avenues of research into the arts and performance in West Yorkshire and beyond. “Red Ladder were and remain absolutely pivotal…, being, now, the longest lasting of all the groups that came out of 1968. Their history is also the history of alternative and community theatre over the past 40 years, and so it offers a unique and irreplaceable perspective.” (Dr Bill McDonnell, Senior Lecturer at Sheffield University).’

After a vigorous recruitment campaign by the University of Leeds we are delighted to announce that Fiona Gell, Special Collections Team Assistant and Coordinator of the Leeds Big Bookend Festival was successful in her application to work on the Red Ladder Archive. 

More Info>>


Wrong ‘Un is Back!

Wrong ‘Un continues its amazing never ending tour with a couple of new bookings in the diary at The Square Chapel in Halifax on Saturday the 26th of November and at The Queen’s Hall in Hexham on Friday 9th of December. It will be part of a double bill, called Convicts and Lunatics, exploring one hundred years of wayward woman with dangerous ideas! As part of the double bill we are delighted to be showcasing a fantastic new piece from Gracefool Collective about what it means to be a woman today.

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Wrong ‘Un

 

Set in February 1918, after several decades of protest and four years of bloody war, Parliament is poised to grant what the suffragettes have demanded and fought for – votes for all women.  Join the brilliantly talented performer Ella Harris as she tells Annie Wilde’s fascinating story through acappella song, words and music.

Part of the ‘clog and shawl’ brigade, Annie is just one of the thousands of unseen working-class women who dedicated themselves to the suffrage movement. As humourous and uplifting as it is thought-provoking, ‘Wrong ‘Un’ explores class, privilege and hope in wartime England and honours the many women who dedicated themselves to transforming the political landscape for the generations who followed.

 

This really is too much

 

Outlandish, theatrical and highly entertaining, ‘This really is too much’ delves into a world of farcical stereotypes and preposterous power struggles. With irreverent physicality, four characters wrestle with restriction, gender and performance of identity, trying desperately to work out which box they fit into.

Amusing and thought provoking in equal measure, this dance theatre performance reveals the downright absurd realities of what it means to be a 3-dimensional, high definition, water-drinking, salad-eating, moisturizing WO-man in modern society.

 

Halifax Tickets>>

Hexham Tickets>>


Leeds Lads Screening Event

Relive Leeds Lads on the big screen at Carriageworks Theatre, Millennium Square, Leeds as we invite you to a cinematic version of the stage show – a kind of Red Ladder Live!

The film screening of our latest production Leeds Lads, will take place at The Carriageworks Theatre on 12 October at 7.30pm.

If you are interested in coming along to this free screening event book online here >>

Thank you to all of the funders and supporters who made Leeds Lads possible including; Leeds InspiredLeeds City CouncilArts Council EnglandThe Carriageworks Theatre and Leeds Civic Arts Guild.


Strategic Tour Funding

Red Ladder Theatre Company has been awarded £186,463 by Arts Council England to deliver a programme of work in clubs and pubs across Yorkshire.

We will work with West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Civic Barnsley and Cast Doncaster to tour eight  exciting, challenging and relevant productions to fifteen non-traditional venues such as pubs, rugby league and sports & social clubs to maintain and develop new audiences across the region over the next two years.

Shows include Rabbitskin, The Life and Soul, Playing The Joker, Wrong ‘Un and We’re Not Going Back together with some brand new work.


Jamie Jones-Buchanan visits Carr Manor School Drama Group

Leeds Rhino’s Jamie Jones-Buchanan recently visited the Carr Manor School Drama Group, who are creating work inspired by our upcoming community project Leeds Lads.

A group of 14 students from Carr Manor Community School have been working on a devising project alongside Leeds Lads and examining the themes of the play. Their 15-minute piece called 104 Questions, will be performed before Leeds Lads on the Carriageworks stage on Monday 20 June at 7pm, press night for the show.

Jamie visited the school to talk to them about the challenges of acting, the character he will be playing and some information about the production. Students were then given the chance to ask Jamie anything they wanted to know about his acting experiences before Jamie himself led them in a warm-up exercise.

Speaking about preparations for the play Jones-Buchanan said: “Rehearsals for Leeds Lads are fantastic. Each cast member moves through the rehearsal with a real focus, like playing rugby, there’s a physical projection in acting and the communication is every bit as important as in a big game.  Every member works hard as an individual for the purpose of serving the team as a whole. The Director, Rod Dixon, like my coach Brian McDermott, has a huge amount of emotional awareness and knows how to produce an environment in which we can thrive as a group…  I am fortunate to be working with an extremely talented and diverse group of men and women.”


Leeds Lads Open Rehearsal at Central Library, Leeds

We recently did an open rehearsal at the Leeds Big Bookend Festival 2016 for our upcoming production, Leeds Lads. The rehearsal finished with a Q&A with our artistic director Rod Dixon and co-writer Anthony Clavane and gave people an opportunity to find out more about the show and the inspiration behind the play.

Breathing life into the characters of Leeds’s past, this vibrant production transports you from the turmoil and tensions of war, to the rich and multi-cultural city we know today. Leeds Lads is a new play about the people of Leeds past and present – their fears, their love and their friendships, performed by the people of Leeds today for the people of Leeds.

A community cast of 40 local performers and musicians will be joined by Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain international Rugby League player Jamie Jones-Buchanan for his debut appearance on stage.

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Wanted! Musicians for Leeds Lads

As part of our new community production Leeds Lads we are looking for the below musicians to take part.

Line up tbc but probably:

  • a guitar player
  • bass player (electric/acoustic)
  • drummer/percussionist
  • trumpet player
  • (instrumentation is fairly open/undecided at the moment so all instrumentalists welcome to apply)

Show: Leeds Lads 

Theatre: Carriageworks, Leeds

Dates required (with some flexibility):

  • Three band calls throughout May
  • Two all-day Sunday rehearsals (in May/June)
  • 14th, 16th June for technical/dress rehearsal
  • Shows run from Friday 17th June to Saturday 25th June

Information on show:
It’s 2016. Tara stands on the steps of Leeds Town Hall on the day the city commemorates the Leeds Pals at the Battle of the Somme. She holds in her hand her great grandfather’s medal for bravery. Why should Tara care about the past when the present seems so bleak?

Celebrate Tara’s story as she discovers the sacrifice of her forefathers and how these have moulded the community that surrounds her today. Breathing life into the characters of Leeds’s past, this vibrant production transports you from the turmoil and tensions of war, to the rich and multi-cultural city we know today.

Leeds Lads is a new play about the people of Leeds past and present – their fears, their love and their friendships, performed by the people of Leeds today for the people of Leeds. A community cast of 40 local performers and musicians will be joined by Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain international Rugby League player Jamie Jones-Buchanan for his debut appearance on stage.

Money:
This is a community project so, as such, this is not a paid engagement but generous porterage and instrument packages are available by arrangement. It is a tremendous opportunity to work with an experienced and talented creative team and be part of a vibrant and exciting project.

Apply / Contact:
If interested please send your CV/portfolio with a video/recording of you playing to producer Chris Lloyd (chris@redladder.co.uk) and musical director Sam Sommerfeld (berkosbigband@gmail.com).

The deadline is 5pm on Friday 13th May.


Jamie Jones-Buchanan talks Leeds Lads

Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan has taken on a distinctly new challenge recently as he begins rehearsals for Leeds Lads, our new community production commemorating one hundred years since the Battle of the Somme. Here’s what Jamie’s had to say about the process so far:

‘Rehearsals for the Leeds lads has been fantastic.   I’m definitely out of my comfort zone but that’s where I like to be because that’s the only place I will grow.

They say time flies when your having fun and each days work has gone off in a shot.  Rod and the rest of the company have been really welcoming and extremely helpful in something that is completely new to me.  In many ways, the skills and disciplines aren’t too dissimilar to what I go through as a rugby player, some of which are even transferable.

Each member moves through the day with a real focus, like playing rugby, there’s a physical projection in acting and the communication is every bit as important as in a big game.  Every member works hard as an individual for the purpose of serving the team as a whole.  Rod, like my coach Brian Mcdermott, has a huge amount of emotional awareness and knows how to produce an environment in which we can thrive as a group…  I am fortunate to be working with an extremely talented and diverse group of men and women,  and I very much look forward to learning everything I can from them in the next 10 weeks.’

Leeds Lads is on at the Carriageworks Theatre from 17th to the 25th of June. More information available here>>


Leeds Lads Finds Local Talent

Thanks to everyone who auditioned for Leeds Lads, we had a brilliant turn out and have now fully cast the show.  Below are a few short videos to give a taster of how we will be working behind the scenes with Director Rod Dixon, Musical Director Sam Sommerfeld and Natasha Harrison, our Movement Director.

 


The Damned United – The reviews are in!

The Damned United is receiving incredible feedback from audiences and critics in Derby, after selling out to full houses at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

“…as a piece of theatre it really hits the back of the net.”
British Theatre Guide

 “You don’t need to be a football fan to get fired up by the show” 
★★★★ The Times

 “If you haven’t got a ticket already put it on to your to-do list for today.”
Arts Beat Blog

“The play is ingeniously staged by Rod Dixon,” 
The Guardian

The show is on until 16 April, don’t miss out on your last opportunity to catch us at Derby Theatre this week.

 

Andrew Lancel & Tony Bell outside Derby Country F.C Pride Park Stadium

Andrew Lancel and Tony Bell outside Derby Country F.C Pride Park Stadium, in front of the Brian Clough and Peter Taylor statue