There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there is a free night at the theatre on offer – no strings attached – as Huddersfield’s only professional theatre venue prepares to launch a new season of shows.
On Thursday, September 8, the Lawrence Batley Theatre is hosting a Season Preview evening with tasters of what’s to come – from folk music and magic tricks to Broadway musical, contemporary dance and panto.
These preview events, held at the beginning of each season, are free and always popular, so if you’d like a ticket then book one now (www.thelbt.org.uk or 01484 430528).
Laura Rodwell, communications and marketing manager for the LBT, says: “It’s a good way for people to sample what we do. It’s quite informal and a lot of fun.”
The season ahead promises a wide variety of live entertainment and includes, for the first time ever, a professional panto, Cinderella.
But in the run-up to Christmas there are plenty of other highlights.
As Laura explained: “One of the new things for the season is that we are part of a project with the English Touring Theatre to bring high quality drama to middle scale venues.”
The first of these performances, in November, is French Without Tears, Terrence Rattigan’s charismatic comedy.
There’s also chance to see Alan Ayckbourn comedies; the much-loved musical Annie Get Your Gun; comedian Jason Byrne; operatic heroine Lesley Garrett and much more.
The LBT has established a reputation for being a contemporary dance venue and this season will see a performance of Snow White by BalletLorent; the Gary Clarke production Coal (featuring music from the Brighouse and Rastrick Band and a community cast of local women); and a new take on Christmas Carol by the Breaking Tradition Dance Company and folk band The Demon Barbers.
For circus skills fans there’s also a return visit by Circus Evolution.
Over the festive season there’s a chance to see Huddersfield Thespians in Pygmalion; Tom Wrigglesworth and Lou Conran in the Christmas Comedy Cellar; a production of Hamlet by the Icarus Theatre Collective; and a three-week run of Cinderella.
To beat off the New Year blues, Huddersfield Light Opera Company brings a second panto, Dick Whittington, to the main stage in January 2017.
In and among, there’s an evening of operatic favourites from Huddersfield Opera Circle, a perfect taster for opera novices; childrens’ shows offering puppetry, Nordic legend, storytelling and a show to get youngsters eating their vegetables; and two performances from the John Godber Company. The theatre’s comedy nights continue, proving that what most of us want most of all is a good laugh. Such is the popularity of the regular comedy slots that a date with Jonathan Pie sold out almost immediately.
Following a successful pilot last year the theatre is once again hosting a series of Pay What You Decide productions by new and emerging artists that include a performance by the LBT’s own community engagement officer Rose Condo, who is a performance poet; and a topical (also comical) work on the founding ideals of the EU. These run from late September through to November.
The theatre’s brochure, out now, has details of all these and more.