News.

Raucous gig theatre show shares a different kind of Christmas story at Leeds Playhouse

17th November 2023

‘Please sir, can I have the night off?’ 

Raucous new gig theatre show, Santa Must Die!, is gifting audiences a night of anarchy, fun and move-your-feet music at Leeds Playhouse from 12-16 December. 

Presented by archipelago arts collective, it explores the darker side of Christmas; when the festive season is all work and no play, with zero hours contracts, no time off and no money. 

The show, written by Rosie MacPherson and directed by Matt Powell (with original direction by Beth Knight and Laurence Young), introduces audiences to Nadia and Abed, who’ve started the North’s greatest band and, for one night only, are playing their local. But it’s Christmas Eve and Santa is a bad boss. 

Beth Knight, from archipelago arts collective, said: “We made the play in conversation with people who have experience of working zero-hour contracts at Christmas time, whose work and stories often go unacknowledged at this time of year. The characters of Santa Must Die! are the real-life elves who toil behind the scenes, with their own families to support and forgotten festivities to be had, to ensure everyone else’s yuletide season runs smoothly. We know that Christmas isn’t ‘the most wonderful time’ for lots of people in these jobs and wanted to tell a story that still gives us all the warm Christmas feeling, while still acknowledging it’s not all sparkly lights and festive jumpers.” 

Sean Ryan, of archipelago arts collective, who composed the music, and also wrote the lyrics with Laurence Young and Robin Ravi, added: “Santa Must Die! is the perfect antidote to panto and other Christmas theatre staples because it takes the stress we all feel at this time of year and channels it into some anarchic fun. The gig set up also allows us to riff on some of your favourite Christmas tunes as well including original songs that are sure to make it onto your Christmas party playlists.’ 

Santa Must Die! was originally commissioned by Alphabetti Theatre and supported by Bradford Producing Hub and Arts Council England. 

Listings information 

Archipelago arts collective presents 

Santa Must Die! 

Bramall Rock Void, Leeds Playhouse 

12-16 December 

Age guidance: 14+ 

Box office: 0113 213 7700 

Book online: leedsplayhouse.org.uk 

Please note this is a standing event. If you require a seat, contact box office or email [email protected]