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Where did all the good theatre go? Opportunities not to be missed.

Belt-Up TheatreWhat happens to the hurricane of creativity that is the Edinburgh Festival throughout the remainder of the year? It does not orbit the planet, a big ball of histrionic chaos (though that’s what I sometimes like to think). Equally, it does not simply come to a halt and cease to exist until the time is August and the place is Edinburgh. For Festival highlights, the time is now and the place is Yorkshire.

Anyone who made an appearance at this year’s festival and didn’t hear the name, ‘Belt Up Theatre’ must have been walking around with tartan earmuffs on (to be fair, if you paid your visit in the final week, I wouldn’t have blamed you). The York-based company are returning home after their 5* sell-out success in C-venues ‘Squat’ with productions The Trial and The Tartuffe. Their astonishingly meticulous attention to detail and absolute innovative manipulation of space catalyses a series of questions as to the potential of the medium of theatre. Don’t be afraid of investing in the company and seeing both: after seeing one you will wonder how they could possibly top it with something else as good, but whichever you see first, you won’t be disappointed by its successor.

Tartuffe: 1st-2nd October
The Trial: 6th-9th October
Tickets are £5 for cons.
Box Office:01904623568

Heroin(e) for Breakfast by Wakefield-based ‘Horizon Arts’ is a very different theatrical animal. I was, I must admit, a little dubious about the ground that was to be covered. The topic of drugs, even for those productions that have an Irvine Welsh script behind them, is tough. The problem seems to lie in the transportation of the audience to the perspective of the addict. I used to think the slow-mo, smoke accompanied dance sequence that always features was a cringeworthy mistake, but it now seems that the mistake is relying on that sequence. In fact, if you are already there with the victim then it can actually be a moment of extremely powerful irony, as Philip Stokes’ script and direction demonstrates. This is the exploitation of theatrical techniques (breaking of the fourth wall and object personification) at its most comical and poignant. Sex, Drugs, Marilyn Monroe. It is on at Wakefield Arts Centre 22nd-24th September.

For something a little more light-hearted, I point you to Ellis James, a little welsh comedian who has spent the year supporting Rhod Gilbert. He had both his own show at the Five Pound Fringe (“I didn’t think the show was worth a tenner, but free, well it’s not that bad”) and a comedian supergroup, Superclump, at the festival this year. He will be well worth a see when he visits Leeds this October at The Library Pub.

Expect more tour dates of theatre fresh off the Edinburgh stage to come. In particular, look out for Grid Iron’s Barflies and Frisky and Mannish’s School of Pop.

Finally, closer to home, it was great to see familiar faces of the Workshop Theatre, ‘The Dog-Eared Collective’ and Chris Thorpe (Unlimited Theatre) deliver suitably outrageous and wittily engaging pieces respectively. Their current plans aren’t published, but Dog-Eared Collective have made Workshop Theatre appearances in recent years and Chris Thorpe is, well, everywhere. Radio, TV, theatre, pub. If you look hard enough you’ll always find him.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the WT’s heavy schedule this semester during the temporary transfer of work from the Leeds Met Studio Theatre. Also on the schedule will be Grace Wright’s anticipated production of The Trial. All will be advertised in the WT and School of English.