THIS October, some six months since live theatre was locked down, Leeds Playhouse will reopen with a season of work partnering with the wider arts industry to find new and innovative ways of reintroducing audiences to live theatre, in a safe and secure environment, contributing to the life and vibrancy of the Leeds City Region.

Staged over three weekends (October 2-17) will be Connecting Voices in co-production with Opera North which will take place across the various stages within the Playhouse. Bringing together artists and audiences safely, this series of new and classic work will examine the power and expression of the solo voice and engage people in communal creative activity, whilst interrogating the relationship between the audience and the performer.

Orpheus in the Record Store, a newly commissioned piece by Leeds based beatboxer Testament and director Aletta Collins, will fuse spoken word and beatboxing with players from the Orchestra of Opera North, in an exciting new collaboration that gives the Greek myth of Orpheus a contemporary Yorkshire twist.

Playing alongside this will be two seminal pieces which both premiered in 1958 and present characters isolated from others and struggling to connect again through technology. The first is Samuel Beckett’s extraordinary monologue Krapp’s Last Tape with acclaimed actor Niall Buggy performing in the Bramall Rock Void and directed by multiple award-winning director Dominic Hill. This will be counterpointed by Francis Poulenc’s short opera La Voix Humaine performed by Opera North soprano Gillene Butterfield (Rose Maurrant, Street Scene; Julie Jordan, Carousel) in the Barber Studio, directed by Leeds Playhouse RTYDS Director Sameena Hussain.

In the Courtyard Theatre, each of the three weekends will see a different and newly devised piece of work from Leeds-based spoken word artist Khadijah Ibrahiim (Another Crossing), and two pieces by freelance director Matthew Eberhardt (Street Scene, Opera North), who will work with singers, actors, young people and musicians including classically-trained singer Keertan Kaur Rehal, Amy J Payne and actor Robert Pickavance to create contemporary responses to the themes of remembrance, collaboration and the act of storytelling.

Connecting Voices is devised and developed by freelance directors Aletta Collins and Matthew Eberhardt in association with Leeds Playhouse and Opera North.

James Brining, Artistic Director, Leeds Playhouse said: “Re-opening the Playhouse after 6 months of enforced closure and being separated from each other has made us value even more than before the act of live performance and what that means. Our beautifully refurbished building provides us with many opportunities to safely welcome audiences and artists back into the Playhouse. Connecting Voices is a carefully curated programme exploring isolation and connection, resilience and reflection as well as the relationship between performer and audience member in a shared space. We’re delighted to be working once again with Opera North, pooling our resources to help the city of Leeds to get back on its feet and bring joyous and powerful communal shared experiences back to the lives of its citizens.”

Tickets are on sale to Leeds Playhouse’s Supporters’ Club, Playhouse Pass holders and Opera North Patrons from Monday 14 September, with tickets on general sale from noon on Tuesday 15 September.

Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online