The world premiere of There Are No Beginnings, written by Charley Miles, is set to stage in the new Bramall Rock Void at Leeds Playhouse. The production will be directed by Amy Leach, one of my favourite directors, whose work includes Romeo & Juliet at Leeds Playhouse.
The show follows the lives of four women living in Leeds across the five years when Peter Sutcliffe dominated news headlines. The play shines a light on solidarity and activism born from the time, particularly the Reclaim the Night movement.
Now the cast has been announced – and it’s a cracking line-up of stars.
The role of June will be played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, who is best known for playing Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street. She’s joined by local lass Tessa Parr as Sharon, wh has previously wowed audiences with her performance as Juliet and Hamlet. Huddersfield born Natalie Gavin joins the cast, fresh from roles on Channel 4 in Ackley Bridge. I last saw her in My Fair Lady at the Playhouse, which I didn’t love, but thought she was very good so I’m excited to see her in a new role. Newcomer Jesse Jones completes the cast as Fiona following her 2018 graduation from East 15 Acting School.
Leeds Playhouse Associate Director Amy Leach said “Opening the Bramall Rock Void with There Are No Beginnings is a thrilling celebration of local talent. Charley Miles’ relationship began with us a number of years ago through our Furnace programme including being our Channel 4 Writer in Residence in 2017, during which she was inspired to write about what it was like to be a woman in Leeds at the time of so-called Yorkshire Ripper. She interviewed participants from our Older People’s programme and many of their stories have fed in to the narrative, creating an important and empowering story. It’s amazing to be starting the season with a production that is so rooted in the city, highlighting incredible female resilience and solidarity. The production lends itself beautifully to the Bramall Rock Void and I am honoured to be directing it with this stellar cast.”
There Are No Beginnings will be supported by a programme of work exploring the real-life impact of the stories explored in the play, including a series of post-show discussions to celebrate and amplify the work happening to support women in the city.
Integrated audio description will feature as part of every performance. Leeds Playhouse will also host its first ever Parent & Baby Performance, allowing parents to enjoy a relaxed version of the play alongside their infants (under a year old). I’m all for that as a concept, but I wonder if the play’s subject matter is a little dark for a day out with your toddler…
That aside, the show is bound to be incredibly powerful. Supported by a fantastic cast, I can really see this being one of Leeds Playhouse’s most powerful pieces.
Catch the show at Leeds Playhouse from Friday 11th October to Saturday 2nd November.