West Yorkshire Playhouse has announced today the six actors playing iconic roles in their new production Talking Heads, by celebrated Leeds writer Alan Bennett. The monologues, directed by Artistic Director James Brining, Associate Director Amy Leach and Director in Residence John R. Wilkinson, will be presented in rep this June ahead of the theatre’s major redevelopment.
Originally written for BBC Television and broadcast between 1988 – 1998 respectively, and made famous by the likes of Thora Hird, Julie Walters and Maggie Smith, the emotionally charged monologues follow the everyday lives of ordinary people.
Returning to the roles of Susan in A Bed among the Lentils, Graham in A Chip in the Sugar and Irene in A Lady of Letters are Cate Hamer (Things I Know to be True, Frantic Assembly/Lyric Hammersmith), Chris Chilton (North by Northwest, Theatre Royal Bath) and Vanessa Rosenthal (Enjoy, West Yorkshire Playhouse), all last seen in the 2014 Talking Heads production at the Playhouse as part of the Alan Bennett season.
Joining the company are Flo Wilson (One Hand Tied Behind Us, Old Vic) as Peggy in A Woman of No Importance, Marlene Sidaway (Mum, BBC, Enjoy, West Yorkshire Playhouse) as Doris in A Cream Cracker Under the Settee, and Tina Gray (Crooked House (Film)) as Muriel in Soldiering On.
Before playing in the Courtyard Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse will tour Talking Heads to all 29 Leeds postcodes, in a celebration of its relationships with communities and organisations across the city. Chosen through an open call out, Talking Heads In Your Living Room gives local Leeds residents the chance to host one of the iconic monologues in their own home.
West Yorkshire Playhouse Associate Director Amy Leach said: “As one of the country’s best loved playwrights, and a famous son of Leeds, it’s an honour to be staging this ambitious project based around six of Bennett’s iconic monologues with a team of brilliant actors and creatives. His monologues celebrate the minutiae of the lives of people living in this city and feel a fitting tribute to close this chapter in the life of our Courtyard Theatre. As an organisation deeply rooted in our local community, I’m also so excited to share them city-wide when they tour to homes and living rooms across all 29 postcodes of Leeds.”
Talking Heads In Your Living Room and at West Yorkshire Playhouse will be designed by Leeds designer Laura Ann Price (The Weather Café, David Shearing), Lighting Design by Prema Mehta (Chicken Soup, Sheffield Theatres) and Sound Design by Alexandra Braithwaite (Acceptance, Hampstead Theatre).