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Red Ladder Theatre Company


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.”

Terry Jones Nicobobinus video!

Good old Terry Jones has let us make a little video of him reading from the book, Nicobobinus – to give everyone out there a little taste of what to expect from the show! Enjoy!



Red Ladder supporters organise film screening

Supporters who worked with Red Ladder in the 70s and 80s have reunited to host screenings of two films featuring the company, to raise money for Save Red Ladder.

The films are ‘Taking Our Time,’ an Arena documentary (1978) which follows Red Ladder through the process of making the show of the same name, about the 1842 plug riots in the Calder Valley, and ‘Fringe Benefits’ – a BBC film (1979) featuring Red Ladder alongside other political companies of the time – The Sadista Sisters, Belt and Braces and The Albany Combination.

The screenings will take place at the Void Theatre, Sheffield Hallam University, from 3pm – 7pm on Saturday 15 November, and will be followed by a Q&A hosted by Kate Housden, who worked with the company from 1975 – 1979, and Red Ladder Artistic Director, Rod Dixon. Several of the actors featured in the films will be in attendance, alongside other Red Ladder members from the 70s and 80s.

This is a free ticketed event, with donations to Save Red Ladder on the door.

For tickets click here.

Read more about Red Ladder’s history, and ‘Taking Our Time.’



David Peace donates theatrical rights to ‘The Damned United’ to Save Red Ladder

The Damned United author David Peace today announces that he has donated the stage rights to his book to Save Red Ladder. Or rather, Red Ladder has bought them from Faber & Faber for £3.68 – to represent the 368 pages in the book.

The play will become the focus of the Save Red Ladder campaign – i.e – the campaign’s £80,000 target will now pay for the book to be adapted and the play to be produced.

Localgiving, the local charity network and online giving platform supporting Save Red Ladder’s fundraising campaign, has today launched its annual ‘Grow Your Tenner’ match fund. The initiative matches the first £10 of donations made through, meaning that a £10 donation made to Save Red Ladder today will be worth £21.55* to the company, including Gift Aid. Red Ladder will be able to claim up to £2,000 of match funding from one-time donations – plus up to another £10,000 for monthly donations received as direct debits through the scheme.

Save Red Ladder is offering ‘a piece of the play’ to every person who sets up a direct debit (minimum of £5 for six months) from today (14 October) to the end of the Grow Your Tenner campaign. The company is yet to decide what this might be – a page of the script, a physical piece of the set – all suggestions welcome on our facebook page or via! There will certainly be an invite to a party with David Peace, Red Ladder and the cast, which is likely to include a ‘name.’

David Peace comments:

“For me, after all the inspiration and support I got from Red Ladder, particularly with the Red Writers Group while I was back in the UK from 2009 and 2011, and all the enthusiasm and interest Rod Dixon and Chris Lloyd have shown in my work – they were so helpful and inspiring when I was writing ‘Red or Dead’ – offering the theatrical rights for ‘The Damned United’ for the minimum amount possible was THE VERY LEAST I COULD DO to try, even in a such a small way, to help ‘Save Red Ladder.”

The campaign’s current total stands at £12,600 towards its £80,000 target.

To help the cause follow @saveredladder, use the #GisATenner hashtag, visit donate directly

Terry Jones to ‘Save Red Ladder’!

Monty Python Terry Jones, director of classic films ‘The Life of Brian’ and ‘Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life’, lends his support to the ‘Save Red Ladder’ campaign, getting behind the Red Megaphone to help save the theatre company earlier this week.

Red Ladder is currently co-producing the first ever stage adaptation of Jones’ book, Nicobobinus, which will play at LOST Theatre, Stockwell, London, before touring nationally next spring.

The campaign’s current total stands at £12,373.33 –enough, for example, to commission one and a half full length plays, to pay a cast of four actors for seven weeks, or to build two complete touring sets. It aims to raise £80,000, enough for one full length tour, by March 2015.

Save Red Ladder is working with online fundraising platform, who launch their annual match funding initiative Grow Your Tenner, on 14 October 2014. All donations up to £10 made after this date will be match funded, equating to £20 for Red Ladder.

To help the cause follow @saveredladder, use the #GisATenner hashtag, visit or donate directly

Red Ladder’s show We’re Not Going Back is on UK tour now. For tickets visit

Nicobobinus will open at Lost Theatre, Vauxhall on 11 December. For tickets visit or call 0207 720 6897.

Labour MEP donates £5,000 to ‘Save Red Ladder’

Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East, has donated £5,000 to the ‘Save Red Ladder’ cause. This takes the current total to £12,373.33 –enough, for example, to commission one and a half full length plays, or to pay a cast of four actors for seven weeks, or to build two complete touring sets.

Jude comments:

“I came across Red Ladder at their show, We’re Not Going Back at Durham Miner’s Gala in July, and was just so blown away by their work that I wanted to make a donation that would ensure their future, or at the very least their next project.”

Chris Lloyd, Red Ladder’s producer comments:

“We’re really overwhelmed by Jude’s generous donation and by the momentum of the campaign in general. There is still a long way to go, but I feel confident that we will get there. The groundswell of support has made us more determined to keep on making relevant, accessible work and take it to non traditional spaces as well as theatres and studios”

Save Red Ladder is working with online fundraising platform, who launch their annual match funding initiative Grow Your Tenner, on 14 October 2014.

All donations up to £10 made after this date will be match funded, equating to £20 for Red Ladder.

To help the cause follow @saveredladder, use the #GisATenner hashtag, visit or donate directly via


Red Ladder’s show We’re Not Going Back is on UK tour from September. For tickets visit


Red Ladder also announced earlier this week plans to make the UK’s first adaptation of Terry Jones’ children’s book, Nicobobinus, which will open at Lost Theatre, Vauxhall on 11 December.

Red Ladder supporters start #GisATenner

On Tuesday it was announced that Leeds-based theatre company, Red Ladder was to receive a 100% cut to its Arts Council funding.

Well, that was Tuesday.

Today an independent campaign has been set up to save the UK’s leading radical theatre company. Tweeting from @saveredladder a team of supporters has launched an online fundraising campaign in association with online giving platform to raise back the £160,000 required to cover the full production budget for two UK tours.

The #GisATenner campaign is based on the fact that if each of Red Ladder’s Twitter followers gave £10 that would be £80,000. That’s one show covered.

The campaign is working with online fundraising platform, which is offering its support to the cause. provides a place for small and local charitable organisations to raise funds online, benefit from automated Gift Aid and access match funding opportunities. Its annual match fund campaign, Grow Your Tenner, will be launching later this year, matching online donations pound-for-pound up to £10 and enabling Red Ladder supporters to maximise the value of their giving.




GISATENNER – Click here to donate

Bernard Atha CBE to step down as chair of Red Ladder’s board

We are very sad to announce that our Chair Bernard Atha CBE, who has been with us for over thirty years, has declared his impending retirement. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Bernard for the incredible hard work and dedication that he has provided to Red Ladder and were it not for people like him we would not be where we are today.

We are now actively seeking out an outstanding individual who can help us in this new and exciting phase for Red Ladder as we embark on what looks set to be an interesting and exciting period for the company. Anyone interested please contact

RLTC Chair Job Description

100% funding cut for Red Ladder

Red Ladder is to receive a 100% cut to its Arts Council funding, it has been announced today. The cut will be effective from April 2015, and in real terms represents a reduction in funding from £162,000 in financial year 2014/2015 to zero. The company’s only other current source of core grant in aid is £5000 per annum from Leeds City Council.

Red Ladder’s Artistic Director Rod Dixon comments:

We are bitterly, bitterly disappointed – but this is not the end for Red Ladder. We put in what we believed was a hugely exciting programme of work to 2018, and it is disappointing to know that those plans will not now come to fruition, at least not in the form we envisaged. What we do know is that we cannot and will not see this decision as a vote of no confidence, and that we will find a way to continue through our own passion and dedication to making theatre that represents the dispossessed, tells stories of the injustices of our world and changes lives. We have an army of twitter followers, friends, supporters and fans and we will survive this.”

Playing The Joker review

Playing The Joker is on tour and the Rugby League audiences are loving it!!

They have said something like: Clavane’s text is lively and varied – unpredictable even – but its strength lies mainly in the character of Eddie Waring as played by Dicken Ashworth with dignity and conviction, avoiding too close an attempt at impersonation. The opposing point of view is undermined by having as its proponent a manic young man clearly unhinged by the death of his father whom he feels was betrayed by Waring. William Fox’s energetic performance brings out the character’s instability rather unrelentingly. In contrast is David Kendra’s droll solidity as the hotel doorman.

Here you can find the whole review:

WhatsOnStage review