March 2018

  • City centre regeneration project announces landmark partnership with West Yorkshire Playhouse
  • Five-year tie-up will see a Pop-Up Theatre during Playhouse’s £14m redevelopment
  • Collaboration underlines commitment to keeping cultural destination alive during construction works

SOYO, the £300m revamp within Leeds’ cultural quarter Quarry Hill, has pledged a long-term commitment to supporting the West Yorkshire Playhouse by becoming a principal capital partner alongside law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The five-year partnership will include financial support for West Yorkshire Playhouse, which is due to start its redevelopment in June 2018, as well as to support the Playhouse to continue to produce great shows during the construction works. Neighbouring Leeds City College is currently on-site with a £57 million brand-new campus, revolutionising the city’s digital, creative arts and health sciences provision.

The centrepiece of the collaboration is the Playhouse’s Pop-Up Theatre, in association with SOYO, which will temporarily transform a workshop space on the Playhouse site into a 350-seat theatre, presenting a full and varied programme throughout Autumn 2018 to Spring 2019. This innovative, long term partnership creates a unique opportunity to experience the Playhouse as it has never been seen before in an environment changing and growing into SOYO – the cultural quarter of Leeds.

Once the redevelopment of the Playhouse is complete, SOYO will also be a key supporter of the theatre’s relaunch.

SOYO – a £300m regeneration within Quarry Hill – was announced last September. Being delivered by Caddick Group, a Yorkshire-based, family-run construction and property business, SOYO will create hundreds of new homes, restaurants and bars, as well as co-working space, a hotel and new public realm.

Also working with the other existing cultural institutions such as the BBC, Leeds City College, Leeds College of Music, Northern Ballet, Yorkshire Dance, the Wardrobe and Future Sounds, SOYO aims to bring a sense of New York’s East Village and San Francisco’s SoMa districts to Leeds.

Myles Hartley, MD at Caddick Developments, the company behind SOYO, said:

“SOYO is proud to be collaborating with its neighbours to create one of the best places in the UK to live, work, play, learn and be entertained. Since our initial discussions, West Yorkshire Playhouse has been a keen supporter of SOYO and our vision to create a unified voice for Leeds’ most culturally significant area, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Playhouse and especially to our association with the pop up theatre over the next few months.”

Robin Hawkes, Executive Director, West Yorkshire Playhouse, said:

“The Playhouse is delighted to be work with Caddick Group and develop the vision for the SOYO neighbourhood. The Playhouse’s redevelopment will generate a new focus for the city and establish a base to attract artists and creatives from across Yorkshire and the wider North. We are proud to be partnering with a business that shares a passion for Leeds and an ambition to build the future of the cultural quarter.”

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“Across the globe we have seen how culture and collaboration can be two massive drivers for growth and change, and today’s partnership between SOYO and West Yorkshire Playhouse is a welcome example of both.”