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West Yorkshire Playhouse and Irwin Mitchell partner to advocate culture in Leeds

Continuing their advocacy of a rich arts and culture ecology in our city, the Leeds office of law firm Irwin Mitchell last week (7 June) partnered with West Yorkshire Playhouse to host an evening performance of A Bed Among The Lentils, one of Leeds writers Alan Bennett’s much-loved Talking Heads monologues, in their Leeds offices.

Irwin Mitchell, who have been committed partners in West Yorkshire Playhouse’s award-winning access programme since 2009 and who earlier this year became the first Principal Capital Partner in the Playhouse’s redevelopment project, hosted over 60 audience members in their city centre offices celebrating the law firm’s almost decade-long relationship with the Playhouse.

At the event Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake, West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining, West Yorkshire Playhouse Executive Director Robin Hawkes, Irwin Mitchell Partners Paddy Sturman and Rachelle Mahapatra, and Business Development Manager Rob Cowling discussed the importance of culture to the city and a thriving economy.

West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining said: “We’re delighted to have performed such an iconic monologue at Irwin Mitchell’s offices, and were thrilled to contribute to the conversation within the business sector about the importance and vitality of arts and culture in our city.

“With the Playhouse about to undergo such a landmark transformation we are grateful for Irwin Mitchell’s continued support, both looking back at the past ten years and looking forward to our future redevelopment project. Their invaluable sponsorship helps us to continue to open up both our work and our building to the widest possible audiences, in turn supporting the vibrant, open and exciting cultural ecology of Leeds.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake said: “Our reputation as a centre of artistic excellence is certainly second to none, and that’s become a massive attraction for those who want to come to live and work in a city where theatre, dance and music are woven into our cultural DNA.

“The incredible Leeds arts institutions who are so instrumental in creating that reputation exist in tandem with our business community and their support is vital if culture in Leeds is to continue to flourish.”

Irwin Mitchell Banking and Finance Partner Paddy Sturman said: “Our relationship with the Playhouse is something we are incredibly proud of and brings enormous value to our organisation.

“The Playhouse also plays a key role in the region’s economy and in our latest UK Powerhouse report, which is focused on the consumer economy, we highlight the important role that leisure and tourism plays in helping to grow the economy of Leeds City Region. The Playhouse is a big part of this and its redevelopment will provide an important boost to our reputation as a cultural hotspot.

“We are delighted to be a West Yorkshire Playhouse capital partner and to be involved in facilitating its high profile transformation is extremely exciting.”

Celebrating relationships in the city ahead of the upcoming capital redevelopment project, West Yorkshire Playhouse toured Bennett’s Talking Heads to all 29 Leeds postcodes, from a flat in Seacroft to a living room in Boston Spa, from Headingly Stadium to Leeds City College. The performance at Irwin Mitchell’s offices in Leeds marked the LS1 showcase of the tour.

The final stop on the postcodes tour is at West Yorkshire Playhouse in LS2, with Talking Heads playing in the Courtyard Theatre from 14 – 23 June.

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