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Counterpoints Arts

West Yorkshire Playhouse – Theatre of Sanctuary
In 2014 West Yorkshire Playhouse became the first ever Theatre of Sanctuary, a public statement and recognition of our commitment to being a place of safety, hospitality and support for refugees and asylum seekers. We work closely with refugee organisations and with volunteers from the refugee and asylum seeker community in Leeds to offer a range of creative and practical projects, and we extend a warm welcome to the Playhouse community.
One of the flagship projects under our Theatre of Sanctuary banner is Asmarina Voices, a women’s choir founded on the power of the arts to bring people together and enhance lives. The women share friendship and refreshments, work with a professional musician to learn a range of songs and occasionally perform at the Playhouse or elsewhere at special events. A play area is provided for pre-school children, so they are happily entertained while their mum’s have fun singing, and we are able to cover bus fares so that women can attend.*
“When I walk through the door to sing with Asmarina Voices, I leave all my troubles behind and just sing my heart out. I love it and I couldn’t believe it when people actually clapped me. It made me feel so proud.”
“Asmarina Voices is a very wonderful project, I have formed a family by singing with lovely people I meet and it made me forget my stress and put laughter on my face.”
Asmarina Voices takes place at West Yorkshire Playhouse’s First Floor every Friday, 1pm – 2.30pm.

The Hearts Programme takes place weekly at the Playhouse for young asylum seekers and refugees aged 13 – 19 years, in partnership with The Children’s Society. These sessions are a fantastic opportunity for young people to socialise and make new friends, helping to embed them into life in Leeds and develop as young people through an arts focussed programme. These sessions take place on a Wednesday, 4.30pm – 6.30pm.*
The Playhouse actively supports grass roots organisations throughout the city, providing meeting space and networking opportunities. The Playhouse offers free theatre tickets to Playhouse productions and regularly works with refugees and asylum seekers to develop confidence, self-efficacy and self-esteem through Presentation Skills Workshops.
*Asmarina Voices and the Wednesday HEARTS group are currently supported by discrete grant funding.
For further information contact Ruth Hannant, Creative Engagement Manager, West Yorkshire Playhouse, 0113 213 7295, ruth.hannant@wyp.org.uk