There are big plans ahead for the Leeds Cultural Quarter. A collaboration between Leeds Playhouse and Leeds City College is set to ensure this up-and-coming area of the city becomes a skills hub for the creative arts.
Leeds City College is currently finalising a new £60m campus, which will be the new School of Creative Arts. Of course, Leeds Playhouse is right next door and also going through significant redevelopment work. The two organisations have signed an agreement to ensure they work closely together to underpin the skills and cultural offering in the area.
The organisations will collaborate on several projects, including training initiatives, work experience and building shared experience. The college’s new 200 seat theatre will be kitted out with similar lighting, audio and technical equipment to its larger neighbour, promoting cross-working practices and training opportunities.
In addition, the college’s second school due to relocate to Quarry Hill – the School of Social Science – will work closely with Leeds Playhouse to allow its students to learn workplace skills for courses such as childcare and public services.
The Cultural Quarter is definitely set to become a cultural destination for Leeds – and, of course, those in education will desperately want to get involved and study in the area. Just imagine the opportunities the students would have! I think it will revolutionise the way young people will view education. Instead of viewing a college as a second best option, I think it will fast become the place to be.
Robin Hawkes, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive at Leeds Playhouse, said:“Working alongside Leeds City College, and welcoming them as our newest neighbours, provides fantastic opportunities for both organisations. Creating opportunities for young people to engage with the arts and develop their skills has always been a key part of the Playhouse’s mission, and working so closely with the college is an obvious area where we can share resources and expertise, helping to nurture the next generation for Leeds’ future. This agreement between ourselves and the college further builds on our existing relationship and will help make the arts even more accessible, especially to young people.”
Richard Lee, Head of Media & Performance at Leeds City College, said: “There is a clear and immediate need to develop skills within the creative industries to help fuel the demand of the Cultural Quarter in Leeds. The neighbours we’ll be joining, such as Leeds Playhouse, Northern Ballet, the BBC and Phoenix Dance, were a crucial element to our decision to move to Quarry Hill.”
Up to 3,000 students are due to move into the Quarry Hill Campus from the start of the 2019/2020 academic year, the first completed project of a wider regeneration of Quarry Hill which includes Caddick’s SOYO and Moda developments. The redevelopment of Leeds Playhouse re-opening in Autumn 2019 will include: improved access into and throughout the building; the opening of the Bramall Rock Void, a new third performance space within the foundations of the theatre; enhanced financial and environmental sustainability; and a striking new city-facing entrance.
This is all incredibly exciting, and a great step forward for the city and the region in general. I’m excited to see what’s coming up next for Leeds Playhouse and the College!