Leeds Library to mark 250th anniversary with specially commissioned play honouring its legacy

The Leeds Library will join forces with Leeds Playhouse to mark it 250th anniversary
The Leeds Library will join forces with Leeds Playhouse to mark it 250th anniversary

In celebration of its 250 year history, The Leeds Library is joining forces with Leeds Playhouse to produce a brand new play to mark its anniversary.

Titled The Things We Wouldn't Otherwise Find, the specially commissioned play honours the people who visit libraries every day, and explores the relevance of the library within contemporary society.

The brand new play will be performed inside The Leeds Library this November

The brand new play will be performed inside The Leeds Library this November

A historic institution

Two actors will create ten extraordinary characters in this funny and playfully provocative play, considering the purpose of libraries amid the age of the internet search engine.

Penned by West Yorkshire writer, Emma Adams, the tale serves as a reminder to celebrate libraries and the written word.

Speaking of the play, Adams said: "I wanted to write this play because The Leeds Library's 250th anniversary gives a wonderful reason to stop and celebrate people and books.

"I wanted to write about the things that threaten libraries; to acknowledge that these amazing spaces are at a turning point.

"As the internet brings in new ways of capturing knowledge, and spending cuts dig deeper and deeper, libraries have a question mark over their heads.

"The play asks about whether we're happy that these secular cathedrals are becoming endangered species."

Love of the written word

Founded in 1768, The Leeds Library is the oldest surviving subscription library of its kind.

Inside its doors the library houses a huge array of texts, from historical collections and popular novels, to children's books and Civil War pamphlets, as well as more contemporary audio and visual items.

With this special commission, Adams hopes to capture the vast array of stories which line its historic walls, in a funny and heartfelt production.

"I wanted to write something that was fun, an adventure, rude, funny, sad, heartfelt and most important, moving," she explains.

"There is no one way to look at libraries, so I wanted to write something that captures their multifaceted nature both within the beautiful walls of the awesome reading rooms of the Leeds Library, and also within public library spaces."

Director Tess Seddon, added: "Libraries are the perfect place for huge discoveries, new encounters and rethinking everything you ever thought about the world.

"Emma's wickedly surprising, heart-warming play is a powerful celebration of this amazing space and its visitors - I can't wait to help bring it alive in the magical settings of real libraries."

When will it be performed?

The production will be performed at The Leeds Library from Tuesday 6 to Saturday 17 November, ahead of a tour of libraries throughout the city.

Tickets are priced from £10 per person, plus a £2.50 online booking fee.

Tickets can be purchased on the website leedsplayhouse.org.uk, or by calling the Box Office on 0113 213 7700.