[img]http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.20.3/61849?ns=guardian&pageName=Letters%3A+Lenny%27s+Othello+was+made+in+Yorkshire%3AArticle%3A1314926&ch=Stage&c3=Guardian&c4=Theatre%2CWest+End%2CStage&c6=&c7=09-Dec-05&c8=1314926&c9=Article&c10=Letter&c11=Stage&c13=&c25=&c30=content&h2=GU%2FStage%2FTheatre[/img]Some of the narrative is missing in your celebration of current British theatre (Is this a golden age for theatre?, G2, 2 December). Much of its buoyancy is supported by our regional theatres, which simultaneously feed the West End, while taking risks on new writers, on a young company or a production labelled experimental.
At West Yorkshire Playhouse in the last thee years alone, we have generated 14 new writing commissions – from small scratch performances by new northern writers such as Tom Wells and Tajinder Hayer, to much larger-scale productions by established writers such as Steve Waters, Colin Teevan, Oladipo Agboluaje, and Joel Horwood. Regional theatres remain vital to the creation and development of work by some of the most innovative touring companies, such as Kneehigh, Improbable, Peepolykus, Eclipse, and Told by an Idiot. Often overlooked by London-centric commentators is the dynamic relationship many regional theatres enjoy with their local communities, which manifests itself in a host of exemplary participatory and education programmes.
In recent years we have transferred 10 productions to the West End. Routinely it is regional producers who take the initial risk and the commercial producers who enjoy the final credit. Indeed your article, bemoaning the moribund state of theatre outside London, was illustrated by a picture of Lenny Henry in the West End hit Othello. This show originated at WYP, in a coproduction with Northern Broadsides. For those featured in your article we say congratulations: theatre is a vibrant and exciting industry. But it is because of the smaller cogs in the machine that the big wheels keep on turning – let's not forget that.
Ian Brown Artistic director
Sheena Wrigley General director
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
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Guardian: Letters: Lenny's Othello was made in Yorkshire
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