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Leeds City Varieties


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Hi Guys:


I'll be dropping them an email tomorrow sometime no doubt, but thought I'd try here first.


Anyone know anything about City Varieties in Leeds?


Possible gig in there early next year, and looking for CAD's and Kit Lists if they exist.


Some idea of additional Power Availability would be good too.






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It's just been re-fitted, so worth mentioning that any information pre-dating the last month or two is probably wrong!

What's the gig? I've not been in since the refit, but it's a lovely little venue. Really intimate whilst still putting a fair few bums on seats.

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Many moons ago, I was employed at the City Varieties as a counterweight. ('96-'98)


No, seriously.


Ok, technically I was a flyman. But I only really got the job because I was heavy enough to pull out the main drape without climbing the rope (the guys who really ran the place were both quite slight.)


Lovely auditorium. Shame about the wingspace.

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Hi Guys:


Sorry for the delay getting back to you all... Busy week!


The gig's for a band so wing space not really an issue, and currently still waiting on the Production Manager to put me in contact with the venue.


What I could do with knowing is ---


  • approximate stage width / depth

  • Stage height from Stalls floor

  • Proscenium height

  • And also whether there are counterweights or fixed bars, and how many / where?

  • Follow Spot Positions (and do they have spots in house)

  • What (if any) kit do they have in house?


if anyone happens to know about any of that?





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I'd hazard guesses to the dimensions but I don't really know - it was 15 years ago...


Rough Guess: about 7.5m wide, about 10m deep. Prosc at roughly 8m.*See edit, below* The stage is not large. The stage edge was about 1.5m off the stalls floor if memory serves. (Be prepared for this to be wildy inaccurate...) Visual aid:



There is a followspot booth - just one booth with two spots side by side - in the middle. In the days I worked there they had just bought those Clay Paky "Goldenscan with the head snicked off" ones but who knows if they're still there. I'd imagine they would replace them if they stopped working though.


Main house drape operates from just offstage, not the flyfloor. Loadin is a b**ch - either up lots of nasty stairs or through a slot with a crane from the alleyway below.


In my day it was a hemp house with a couple of winch bars for LX. FOH positions were few and far between.


Who knows what they've upgraded in the meantime.



(In a way, it'd be interesting to get the definative measurements when you get them. It'll show us just how good my memory is these days...)



EDIT: Wow, wildly wrong on depth: http://www.theatrest...-city-varieties

Stage dimensions:

Depth: 4.27m

Width SL: 5.79m SR: 5.79m

Proscenium width: 6.25m

Height to grid: 7.92m



4.27m depth. Bloody hell. Where did we put anything?

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Hi Smiffy,


I too am an ex-Varieties casual (although I was too weak to get anything other than borders moving on the hemp lines), but left a couple of years before the refurb started. One thing to note before the refurb, was that there was NO crossover - enter stage from SL up a couple of steps - watch your head! - I used to make it a habit of starting a round of applause for the monitor engineer who insisted on op'ing from SR, and then hiding behind the lighting desk. The size of the stage can be safely described as 'intimate'.


The chief tech/technical manager is a lovely man called Charles Phillipson, but unfortunately, I don't have the office number anymore. The get-in parking area is a narrow street (Swan Street), and the load in is up a couple of flights to reach the stalls. Make sure you get a parking sticker from the Varieties to keep the traffic wardens at bay. Then, after you've tackled the flights of stairs, there are steep treads (if they're in place - they are removable) up to the stage. The height from stalls to stage was probably around the 5 foot mark, but they may have changed that during the refurb. The stage is also raked.


We used to store everything under the stage - legs, lite-decking and the 'Good Old Days' set. Cloths were kept in the attic, where the amps were - or at least they used to be. The followspots are in a room in the roofspace, and yes, they did indeed have the Goldenscan followspots, fondly nicknamed 'hazey' and 'strobey'. I hope they've been replaced.


Lighting kit was the usual fayre of Par 64s, profiles (strand flavours), minuets and floods. Just as I was leaving, they were testing out some LED pars, but they had no moving heads. Desk was a fatfrog or a bullfrog. There was also a decent DMX install FOH, and probably onstage. Sound kit was a Nexo PA, and there was a decent stock of mics, stands and cable. Sound desk was an analogue soundcraft and I REALLY hope they've replaced that. There was some decent outboard kit too. There were also techpro comms at all positions.


If you're tall, watch your head everywhere in that building, especially backstage. I'm five foot nothing and still had to mind my head everywhere.


It's a really lovely place to stage a concert, and has played host to bands of all different shapes and sizes.

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