Yorkshire writers bring new plays to the stage in unique Leeds Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds collaboration

Four Yorkshire-based writers were commissioned to write the new 15-minute radio dramas, themed on migration
Four Yorkshire-based writers were commissioned to write the new 15-minute radio dramas, themed on migration

Writers from across Yorkshire will bring four brand new plays to the stage as part of a new initiative between BBC Radio Leeds and Leeds Playhouse which champions radio drama.

The production, titled Airplays, is to be brought to the stage in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the landing of the Empire Windrush, and will focus on stories of migration.

Chris O'Connor is the writer of Exodus, a play written in response to the current refugee crisis

Chris O'Connor is the writer of Exodus, a play written in response to the current refugee crisis

Plays for radio and stage

Four Yorkshire-based writers were commissioned from an open call out to write the new 15-minute radio dramas, as part of a collaboration from Leeds Playhouse, BBC Radio Leeds and Leeds College of Music.

These plays will be performed live at Leeds College of Music and will also be broadcast across BBC Radio Leeds.

Playwrights Gemma Bedeau, Chris O'Connor, Emma Barnes and Kamal Kaan were selected to write the stories, having been selected by a panel of judges from Leeds Playhouse, BBC Radio Leeds and the Playhouse's Theatre of Sanctuary programme for refugees and asylum seekers.

The plays are set to be performed at Leeds College of Music in October, alongside a specially curated house band from Leeds College of Music.

The performances will also be recorded live for broadcast across BBC Radio Leeds.

Chris O'Connor, writer of Exodus, said: "I wrote Exodus as a response to the current refugee crisis which has seen millions of people displaced by persecution, war and violence.

"The primary aim was to focus on the human story behind some of the headlines and to invert the issue to encourage people to place themselves in the shoes of those who are forced to leave everything behind and start again."

Fellow writer, Emma Barnes, added: "I'm really excited about Airplays.

"As a resident of Leeds, it's so exciting to be doing something with the Playhouse where I've seen so many brilliant plays, and having BBC Radio Leeds and the College of Music involved too is the icing on the cake."

This is the second collaboration between Leeds Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds, building on the ambition and success of Nick Ahad's play Partition in 2017.

When will the plays be performed?

Airplays will be performed from Tuesday 23 to Saturday 27 October at Leeds College of Music.

The four 15 minute plays include:

Soon, by Gemma Bedeau
Exodus, by Chris O'Connor
A Piece of Home, by Emma Barnes
On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, by Kamal Kaan

How to get tickets

Tickets can be booked online at leedsplayhouse.org.uk or by calling the Box Office on 0113 213 7700.