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Red Ladder Theatre Company


Leeds Inspired Award for Red Ladder

Red Ladder are delighted to announce that they have received £13,000 funding from Leeds Inspired for the production of a new community play, Leeds Lads, to commemorate the one hundred years since Leeds citizens fought at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The play will look at how the families of four Leeds lads from different backgrounds, white working-class, east-European Jewish, Afro-Caribbean and Asian, were affected by the Battle of the Somme, its aftermath and its legacy – and how their stories have intertwined over the past 100 years.

Red Ladder will again be working with Leeds born writer and journalist Anthony Clavane and Nick Stimson, who both worked with us on our previous community project Promised Land. This will give opportunities for local people to participate in a professionally produced piece of theatre performing over ten days at the Carriageworks Theatre in Millennium Square, Leeds.

The production will feature a community cast of up to 40 people with a live band and we are hoping to hold auditions for Leeds Lads across the city in the New Year.

Please keep an eye on our website for further details.

Save Red Ladder is going live!

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year since we lost its funding last July, but we’re in a good place and looking forward to the future.

The team at Save Red Ladder have already raised a remarkable £26,313, but we also have a long road ahead to reach our target of £80,000.

Part of our plan to get there is a new series of live events with independent partner venues across Leeds – the first of which is in partnership with The Black Swan, Call Lane.

Come and join us on Thursday 23 July from 6.30m for a night of live entertainment, including our new show Rabbitskin, live acoustic set and DJ-ing from Fuzzy Jones.

Tickets are £20, and that includes a three course meal from the Black Swan’s menu championing locally sourced and ethically farmed Yorkshire Pub Food, the show, a £5 donation to Save Red Ladder and the chance to hang out with us after the show (priceless?!).

Reserve your spot!

Don’t want to come, but want to help us out? Donate £5 to Save Red Ladder here.

Want to come, but don’t have £20 spare? The ticket price is just for those who want to eat. If you want to come see the show and have a drink, its donations on the door.

Want to host the next Save Red Ladder Live event? We’re all ears!

Avaes Mohammad in the Guardian

‘I wrote my first poem, for performance, after the Oldham riots in 2001. I was in Manchester being a student, completing my bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and in May I came home from a club one night, late, off my head, and turned on Newsnight to see a man in a suit explaining how there was a serious issue with young Asian men in the north. That was a real huge shock to me. In my somewhat inebriated state, I remember thinking: “There is nobody on that panel speaking for Asian youth, so these men could get away with saying anything.”

Later that summer, I returned to Manchester to start my PhD, 9/11 happened and the whole world, including my whole world, changed. Suddenly everyone wanted to know about Islam. Friends started to question my religion and where I was brought up. Before that, I was just a student like everyone else. I started writing poetry, performing poetry, looking back, as a means of trying to stay sane within myself, with all the lies around me…’

For the full article please click here.

For tickets and further information about Avaes’ upcoming show Hurling Rubble with Red Ladder click here.

Hear from We’re Not Going Back’s cast, writer and musicians in a special ‘behind the scenes’ showing

On 7th March we’re thrilled to bring special ‘behind the scenes’ showings of We’re Not Going Back to the stages of the Headingley Literature Festival and Unity Works, Wakefield. This is a chance for audiences to hear more about the production and chat to the cast and crew. These showings are not full performances but are instead an opportunity to hear the play’s cast, writer and musicians gather to perform extracts, sing songs and discuss the impact of the strike, the play and its audiences up and down the country.

Interspersed with music extracts from We’re Not Going Back, the cast and writer will discuss how the play was conceived and written, the Orgreave truth and justice campaign, how Red Ladder take theatre to non-theatre audiences, plus a load more.

For times and a full list of venues and dates click here

Leeds Rhinos Competition

As part of our association with the Leeds Rhinos we have organised a competition for Rhinos members to be able to meet and greet some of the players ahead of the performance of We’re Not Going Back on Thursday the 19th of February at the City Varieties. All you have to do is answer the following question:


Who did the Rhinos beat in the 2014 Challenge Cup Final?


Please give your answers to for your chance to win!

We also have discounted tickets available for all Leeds Rhinos members to all our shows at the City Varieties:


Leeds Rhinos Members

Discounted rate of £10 for all performances

Can book online, over the phone and in person by using the code ‘RHINO’


Leeds Rhinos Junior Members

£5 tickets for all performances

Can book online, over the phone and in person by using the code ‘YOUNGRHINO’


Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here, in person at Leeds City Varieties or over the phone to the City Varieties Box Office on 0113 243 0808.

Win a family ticket to Nicobobinus!

Enter our competition to win a family ticket at the venue of your choice to see Red Ladder and Dumbwise’s adventurous family musical adaptation of Terry Jones’ much loved children’s tale about the boy ‘who could do anything’ of which one critic has said:


‘Out-rightly one of the most magical pieces of theatre I’ve seen as both a child and an adult. A dazzling Christmas show that will have each and every member of the family utterly dumbstruck with amazement.’


All you need to do is answer one question:


Who is Nicobobinus’ Best Friend?


Email your answer to together with which venue you would like your family ticket for or alternatively tweet your answer to @RedLadderTheatr using #NICOCOMP again stating which venue you would like your family ticket for.

For a full list of the tour dates click here.

Competition closes at 4pm on Friday 13 February 2015.



Casting Call for Hurling Rubble

Red Ladder are currently auditioning for the below roles for Hurling Rubble, two new plays tackling extremism within the British Asian and white working class communities.

Dean: Dean Walsh. White. 40s. Old-school football hooligan with Manchester United, Dean has always wanted to be somebody significant. King or Knave not possible and Bishop not of interest, Dean’s a warrior, a knight in denim. Football hooliganism was everything for him but its demise has left him without a purpose. He’s old enough and wise enough to know better than to expect anything from England. [Ideal Casting:Mark Rylance/Christopher Ecclestone]

Skef: Real name is Seth Walsh. White. 18 -21 yrs. Born in a Lancashire town. A Lost Boy who’s resentful of his father’s neglect and more than anything – more than wealth or career – he just wants the security of a family, his own family. He’s bitter against the neglect in his life.

T: Real name is Taufeeq. Pakistani. 18 – 21 yrs. He’s tall with boyish good looks. A Lost Boy at heart, all he’s ever wanted was attention from his father. His life is a tug of war between his need to find his own path and being moulded into his mother’s path. He represents the poverty of opportunity suffered by our young asians.

Mrs Malik: Real name is Tubassum Sheikh Malik. Pakistani. Early 50s. She’s a bitter woman governed by her sense of innate entitlement. Her main drive in life since her father died has been to honour her him. She feels entitled to the honour of the community. She’s a tough work-horse.

Gerbil: Real Name is Mary Hawthornthwaite. White. 16 – 18 yrs. Gerbil is today’s England, open and as comfortable in an Asian home eating pilau as she is listening to reggae music during a carnival. Not knowing her own father, she’s a shape-shifter.

Major: Real Name is Mehjabin. Pakistani. 16 – 18yrs. She is sassy, believing in God though not in Muslims, she has an ability to see through people. Major is an untameable, independent freespirit.

Mary Brennan: White 52 years old. Chatty, warm, ‘salt of the earth’ Londoner woman who lives for her family. Born and raised around Kilburn, she genuinely loves meeting new people and raising new conversations. Finding people interesting, London is perfect for her favourite past-time.


Red Ladder back in Yorkshire in February!

Red Ladder are back in our rightful home this February in God’s Own County after recently touring the length and breadth of the country. What’s more we have not one but two fantastic shows touring simultaneously which offer something for all the family!

We’re Not Going Back, our hard hitting musical comedy about three sisters during the miner’s strike, which  is showing at the Trades and Labour Club, Sheffield 18 Feb and also the City Varieties, Leeds 19 Feb 2015 – 21 FebClick here for tickets.

And also Nicobobinus, our adventurous family musical adaptation of Terry Jones’ much loved children’s tale about the boy ‘who could do anything’, which tours to:

 CAST, Doncaster 19 Feb 2015

Square Chapel, Halifax 20 Feb 2015

Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds 27 Feb 2015 – 28 Feb 2015

The Civic, Barnsley 08 Mar 2015 – 09 Mar 2015

Bradford Playhouse, 05 Mar 2015 – 06 Mar 2015 

For tickets and more info click here.

So, quick, come see us whilst you have chance!

Not in Yorkshire? Then click here for a full list of tour dates for both shows.

Terry Jones Book Signing this Saturday!

Monty Python’s Terry Jones will be at LOST Theatre, London, doing a book signing this Saturday 20 December at 4.30pm, following the matinee showing of Nicobobinus.

Come along for this once in a life time chance to meet the director of The Life of Brian and Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Free entry with a ticket to see the show.

For further information or to book a place please contact Jane on 07854 759480.

Tessa Gordziejko takes over from Bernard Atha as Red Ladder Chair

Red Ladder Theatre Company is delighted to announce that Tessa Gordziejko takes over from Bernard Atha CBE as the chair of its board, as Bernard’s retires from the post, after more than 30 years at the helm.

Tessa is Creative Director at Imove Arts, also a freelance producer, consultant and writer. She was Creative Programmer for London 2012’s Cultural Olympiad programme in Yorkshire and a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme 2005-7. Tessa’s early career in theatre included working with companies producing radical work such as Monstrous Regiment and the Half Moon Theatre (London). She also worked for Red Ladder in 1986, as Company Manager for the tour of Back to the Walls.

Tessa comments:

I’m inspired and honoured to take on the role of Chair of Red Ladder in this time of change, and also of great opportunity for the company. My career has thrived on challenges, and I look forward to working with Rod and Chris and the Board to build a strong future for the company outside the Arts Council’s National Portfolio.  I share the company’s passion for taking radical performance about big, important issues to new audiences.  Never has Red Ladder been more needed in the UK than now and I intend to play a part in ensuring the company not only survives, but thrives.

Rod Dixon, Artistic Director of Red Ladder comments:

“We are very sad to see Bernard go. Not just Red Ladder, but Leeds’ cultural and artistic landscape owes so much to this man.  But it’s onto a new era – and as we transition out of NPO funding, with the highest profile and strongest body of work we’ve had under my eight years as Artistic Director, this is set to be a new and exciting phase for the company. Tessa is a perfect match for us in many ways, and her dedication and enthusiasm is truly inspiring and the skills she is able to bring to the board are very welcome at this point in our development.”