1/5/2020 0 Comments
I have walked past the Lawrence Batley Theatre a few times whilst exploring Huddersfield Town Centre which is home to arts, theatre, comedies and music shows. The clean and stunning courtyard is impressive and so is the building itself which is a former chapel bulit in 1819 which was the largest Methodist Chapel in Europe and could seat 1862 people.
The Methodist Chapel moved out of the building due to a decline in numbers and in 1975 the building became grade 11 listed.
Then in 1992 the venueâs conversion into a theatre begins before being opened by famous Huddersfield actor Sir Patrick Stewart OBE.
Then the theatre produced itâs first pantomime in 2016 and today they are into their third year running of Pantomimes with a production of Sleeping Beauty, which we went along to see!
SLEEPING BEAUTY: âAll the fun you could wish for this Christmas, as Lawrence Batley Theatre presents its magical family pantomime.â
The Official Lowdown:
Produced by Lawrence Batley Theatre; Director: Joyce Branagh; Writer: Andrew Pollard.
In a castle high above Huddersfield, a wicked fairy has cursed Princess Aurora to sleep for 100 years. With the Princess watched over by her nursemaid, a kind fairy sets out to find a hero who can break the spell, but who will be the one to rescue our Princess?
Spun together by director Joyce Branagh and playwright Andrew Pollard the creative team behind the hugely successful Aladdin, Jack & the Beanstalk and Cinderella, expect thigh slapping, toe tapping, rib cracking fun from this yearâs family show. Bursting with spectacular costumes, hit songs, audience participation (and in true panto tradition) itâs shaping up to be Huddersfieldâs biggest pantomime yet. (Oh, yes it is!)
Henry Filloux-Bennett, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the LBT, said: âHaving seen last yearâs panto I am incredibly excited about SLEEPING BEAUTY â itâs my first pantomime since joining the Lawrence Batley Theatre and I am really looking forward to seeing packed houses full of families enjoying a fabulous, festive show full of magic and fun, throughout the run.â
âWe are delighted to welcome back Joyce and Andrew, the creative force behind some of the best pantomimes across the UK and we are very excited to see what magic they have created, together with our talented cast, for Sleeping Beauty. Iâve heard so much about our
audiencesâ fantastic reaction to previous productions and this production looks set to build and excel upon their previous triumphs.â
SLEEPING BEAUTY brings together faces old and new for this fantastic production. Robin Simpson (Aladdin, Jack & The Beanstalk) makes a welcome return as Nanny Fanny. Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), will be played by talented local actor and LBT favourite, Alyce Liburd (Aladdin and Unsung). She will be wooed by handsome Sebastian Prince, ably portrayed by Thomas Cotran (Aladdin, Jack & The Beanstalk). Also making a welcome return is Nicola Jayne Ingram (Aladdin, A Tigerâs Tale) as Hester the Jester and Richard Hand (Aladdin, The Ruck, Cinderella) returns in the role of King Herbert the Hesitant. Gamely stepping in at the last minute, LBT is thrilled to welcome Esther-Grace Button as the fabulous Fairy Falalala -la-la-la-la-la, (The Sand House, Beauty & The Beast, Jack & The Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty for CAST). Making her LBT debut is Hayley Russell (Vampires Rock (UK Theatre and Arena Tour)); and The Meat Loaf Story (UK Tour) as Belladonna Bile. Hayley is also a professional singer and has worked all over the world on cruise ships for over 17 years, supporting artists such as Billy Ocean and Gareth Gates and even had the pleasure of performing for Oasis front man Liam Gallagher. The professional cast are supported by a company of talented young performers, aged between 9 â 17 years old, from across Kirklees.
Director, Joyce Branagh, says: âWeâre very excited about Sleeping Beauty and audiences can expect to be wowed by the cast, gorgeous sets, and amazing choreography bringing to life Andrewâs cracking, comical script. Expect rousing songs, outrageous outfits and hilarious antics from the team.
âItâs a privilege to work with such a talented bunch and weâve brought back some audience favourites as well as some new faces to the exceptional cast! We have something special on order for families to enjoy and we can guarantee a great Christmas outing at LBT.â
Blog Up Northâs Review of Sleeping Beauty at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield:
The stunning venue steeped in history is home to a dynamic and modern theatre space which seats 477 people. The space feels intimate yet spacious. We were seated upstairs at the back and could watch the whole production with a perfect view.
On arrival to the theatre we werenât sure what to expect, but the space is beautifully kept and has a nice Courtyard bar/cafe with huge windows overlooking the actual Court Yard. Everyone is warm and friendly as we entered and the usher gave us a really warm Yorkshire welcome, which was a great introduction to this very Yorkshire production.
As soon as the show starts we are introduced to the fabulously funny Fairy Falalala -la-la-la-la-la who knits this version of Sleeping Beauty together with laugh out loud humour and brilliant skill at engaging the grown ups and children alike. She manages to keep the pace going of the modern version of this production which is on a stage with a stunning and elaborate stage set which gives the production a high-end feel.
The cast show the best of Yorkshire with a very family-friendly production which is fun and upbeat with a quirky and hilariously funny Nanny Fanny Dame.
It was great how the whole audience is involved with water pistols being squirted by characters coming upstairs into the seating area too.
We loved all the local references and Yorkshire humour which made this show the perfect and warm end to a busy festive period.
Most of the storyline happens in the first half and then the second half is full of lots of fun, music and dancing to finish off our panto season perfectlyâ¦
This theatre is soon to be a regular of ours with its handy location in between Huddersfield Train Station and Bus Station, itâs cosy setting and stunning surroundings. It really is a hidden gem, so next time youâre in the area make sure you pop into this little sanctuary.
âRead Yorkshire Families review here.
For more information on the theatre, go to: https://www.thelbt.org
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