Enjoy a free evening at the theatre later this month as Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley Theatre launches its new season of shows with a preview night on Thursday, August 31.
The event is a chance to find out more about what’s on offer over the next six months – from new drama and panto to comedy nights, circus skills and dance.
There’s certainly plenty to see. We’ve picked out some season highlights to watch out for, but for a full programme visit thelbt.org.uk Tickets for the preview are free but need to be booked (on the website or 01484 430528).
As well as regular monthly Comedy Cellar nights, the LBT hosts a line-up of big names on the comedy circuit – for which ticket sales are brisk. So book up now to see comics such as Danny Bhoy (Thursday, October 19), Jason Byrne (Thursday, October 26) or Dave Spikey (Thursday, November 2). “We had a lot of sell outs last season, “ says LBT marketing manager Laura Rodwell.
There’s new drama in store with The Ruck (Friday, September 15, and Saturday, September 16), a play co-produced by the theatre and Creative Scene (an arts project in North Kirklees) inspired by Batley Bulldogs Girls rugby team; and classic drama with Rita, Sue and Bob Too (Wednesday, January 31, to Saturday, February 3), the semi-autobiographical play written by Andrea Dunbar in 1982 about two friends who begin an affair with a married man. The theatre also has visits from The English Touring Theatre with Olivier Best New Play award-winner The Weir, and the ever-popular Northern Broadsides theatre company with comedy For Love Or Money.
Following the success of its first-ever home-produced professional panto last year, the LBT presents Jack & The Beanstalk (Friday, December 8, to Saturday, January 6). It’s by the same creative team, including director Joyce Branagh from the famous directing family, and writer Andrew Pollard. Last year’s show was a virtual sell-out, so it’s probably not too early to be booking seats.
The popularity of circus skills has been growing in recent years and attracts younger audiences to the theatre. This season there’s Lost in Translation Circus with The Hogwallops (Tuesday, October 3), a show about a family who can turn the most mundane of activities, such as brushing teeth, into high-octane excitement.
There are five shows dedicated to youngsters, in addition to the panto. From puppet show The Adventures of Pom (Saturday, September 23), returning after sell-out performances this spring, to festive theatre The Abominable Snowman (Saturday, January 20). Some shows are aimed at pre-schoolers, with meet-the-cast sessions afterwards.
Huddersfield’s many amateur companies promise everything from Ibsen’s classic Ghosts (from Tuesday, October 3) to drag queen extravaganza Priscilla Queen of the Desert (from Tuesday, November 7) as well as Huddersfield Light Opera Company’s annual panto Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (Saturday, January 13, until Saturday, January 20). There’s also a New Year offering from Dick & Lottie with the Ayckbourn classic Bedroom Farce (from Tuesday, January 23).
There’s jazz, folk, and contemporary music at the theatre, starting on Friday, September 22, with SK2 Jazz Orchestra and a repertoire of big band music from arranger and leader Stan Kenton. Then on Sunday, November 26, the theatre hosts folk artist Sam Amidon as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
The Halloween Happening (Saturday, October 28) is an annual extravaganza featuring interactive plays, special effects make-up, film and live music, not to mention Sweeney Todd’s pie and pea supper. It’s a celebration for 18s and over. Look out also for an unusual and vibrant dance and theatre performance by the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company from Kerala, South India, on Wednesday, November 1.