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West Yorkshire Playhouse announces five-year partnership with SOYO

West Yorkshire Playhouse announces five-year partnership with SOYO. Image by Page Park

has announced a five-year cultural partnership with as part of the landmark Playhouse redevelopment project.

Confirmed as a Principal Capital Partner, SOYO (part of the ) provides a welcome boost to the Playhouse’s redevelopment and vital support through this period of revitalisation.

SOYO, the £300m redevelopment within ’ cultural quarter Quarry Hill, has pledged a long-term commitment to supporting Playhouse, alongside Moda which is delivering hundreds of new homes for rent at SOYO. They will join Irwin Mitchell as Principal Capital Partners of the Playhouse’s redevelopment.

The £14m redevelopment project, led in partnership with , will be funded by £4.4m from the City Council, alongside a £6.6m Arts Council contribution and £3m from the Playhouse’s own resources (including a fundraising target of £2.3m).

The proposals for the redevelopment which will mark a vital new chapter in the Playhouse’s long history will see the building transformed and modernised to include changes and improved access to the theatre, a new city-facing entrance and the addition of a new studio theatre space in the Bramall Rock Void.

The five-year partnership includes financial support for West Yorkshire Playhouse’s redevelopment, which is due to start in June 2018, as well as support for the Playhouse to continue to produce great shows during the construction works.

The centrepiece of the collaboration is the Playhouse’s Pop Up theatre, in association with SOYO, which will temporarily transform a workshop space on the Playhouse site into a 350-seat theatre, presenting a full and varied programme throughout Autumn 2018 to Spring 2019.

This innovative, long term partnership creates a unique opportunity to experience the Playhouse as it has never been seen before in an environment changing and growing into SOYO – the cultural quarter of Leeds.

West Yorkshire Playhouse executive director Robin Hawkes said: “The Playhouse is delighted to work with Caddick Group and help develop the vision for the SOYO neighbourhood. The Playhouse redevelopment will generate a new focus for the city and establish a base to attract artists and creatives from across Yorkshire and the North. We are proud to be partnering with a business that shares a passion for Leeds and an ambition to build the future of the cultural quarter.”

Myles Hartley, MD at Caddick Developments, the company behind SOYO, said: “SOYO is proud to be collaborating with its neighbours to create one of the best places in the to live, work, play, learn and be entertained.

“Since our initial discussions, West Yorkshire Playhouse has been a keen supporter of SOYO and our vision to create a unified voice for Leeds’ most culturally significant area, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Playhouse and especially to our association with the Pop Up theatre over the coming months.”

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, added: Leeds City Region has a strong cultural heritage which resonates internationally and is a key driver for investment.

“The news of this new partnership between SOYO and West Yorkshire Playhouse is fantastic for both the city and the region, and I look forward to the opening of the Pop Up theatre in Autumn 2018 which will continue the Playhouse’s tradition of great programming during the redevelopment.”

Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “Following our recently launched cultural strategy and £35m programme taking us to Leeds 2023, we will soon announce the ‘Our Spaces’ strategy transforming and developing our public realm and city spaces into cultural venues.

“It’s pleasing therefore to see developers understand the benefits that culture and collaboration can bring in today’s partnership between this landmark development and West Yorkshire Playhouse, which is a welcome example of both and our ambition for the city.”

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