Know your theatre:
The home of Opera North, Leeds Grand combines being a self-produ-cing opera house, a main base for Northern Ballet Theatre and a receiving house for big touring shows.
It was opened in 1878, and £32 million was spent bringing it completely up to date in the Naughties without losing the wonderful atmosphere of an ornate, four-tier Victorian theatre. You can still see the railings up in the ‘gods’ where the hoi polloi would take their positions in the standing-only section.
Today the theatre has remarkably good sight lines for a 1,550-seat auditorium on a restricted floorplan, and though the pit isn’t really big enough for a Wagnerian orchestra, Opera North does amazing things by using every square foot of space, with musicians sometimes occupying the stage-side boxes.
And a word to the wise: the front of the Upper Circle can give a better view, often less expensively, than the back of the Dress Circle...
Currently Opera North is about to spend around £18 million to take over shop units next to theatre to provide a new restaurant, bar and separate entrance to the 300-seat Howard Assembly Room, which acts as a second, smaller space to the main house.
Grand Theatre, 46 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NZ
Box office 0844 848 2700. Groups of 10+ call 0113 297 7040. General inquiries 0113 245 6014.
As a mid-Victorian theatre in a city centre, the Grand doesn't major in facilities beyond bars and foyers - hence the plan to add a restaurant and new entrance (see here for current local pre-and post-show dining). A lift can take patrons to most levels of the theatre, but those with poor mobility should check with the box office to avoid steep steps.
Online box office:
Go here and follow the booking route to your show choice