Hold on tight for a thrilling ride of theatre and dance coming to Yorkshire

3. Taxi Community Chorus - photo3. Taxi Community Chorus - photo
3. Taxi Community Chorus - photo
A high velocity, full-throttle ride of physical theatre, dance and drama is coming to Leeds this week.

TAXI takes to the stage from tonight, Thursday, August 10 to Sunday, August 20 at The Old Woollen, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley.

This brand new co-production comes from Leeds-based Red Ladder Theatre Company, mad dogs dance theatre and Spin Arts, and is written by Andrea Heaton (Smile Club, Football Freddie).

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It is based on an original concept of co-director, Douglas Thorpe (Phoenix Dance, mad dogs dance theatre) from his own experience as a taxi driver, in the city of Leeds.

Set in the dark underbelly of Leeds, Taxi, played by John Rwothomack, sees the streets of the city in all their visceral glory. He meets so many people but knows no-one. A silent observer of the best and worst of humanity, seeing first-hand, the major crossroads and milestones of his passengers – weddings, funerals, and high-speed drives to the maternity ward – yet remains alone. Can anyone save him as he slowly fades into a fantasy world of black and white movies to escape his own ugly reality?

The frenetic journey through the streets of Leeds, seen through the eyes of the taxi driver character has been a fully collaborative piece, from all of the creative team, and has been three-years in the making, from its original creative concept and R&D funding from Leeds Dance Partnership, Leeds 2023 Seed Commission and Eclipse Theatre.

It brings together the co-directing talents of Red Ladder artistic director, Rod Dixon (Mother Courage, The Damned United, The Shed Crew) and Douglas Thorpe. It will also be Rod’s last show as artistic director for Red Ladder as he leaves at the end of the year, following 17 successful years with the company.

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The production features a talented cast of professional dancers, Stefania Pinato, Rose Lewis, John Kendall, John Rwothomack and Gerard Headley, who deliver blistering, physical performances as they inhabit a number of different roles within the piece. The city of Leeds will be played by a community chorus, who, in turn, portray the myriad of customers that drift in and out of the intimate space of a taxi, throughout a busy shift.

Though set in Leeds, TAXI could be any urban centre as Rod Dixon, co-director of taxi and Red Ladder artistic director, explains: “TAXI could be set in any urban landscape in the world. The themes are universal, how we trust or mistrust people, how we are out for ourselves or not. The Taxi driver is almost a philosopher, this is set in a city centre but really it could be anywhere.”

Tonight’s preview show tickets are priced at £13 plus a booking fee, while other performances from August 11 to 20 are £15 plus a booking fee.

The production is suitable for ages of 13 and over. Captioning will be available via The Difference Engine, a tool that enables d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing people to read performance captions on their phone.

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