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28 Apr - 14 May 2016

A world premiere: Rising star composer Mark Simpson makes his operatic debut with this tragedy, set in a gay nightclub.

Please note: all Leeds and London dates are now sold out.


Val (Lesley Garrett) works the toilets in “Pleasure”, a hedonistic gay club in the north of England. For years, she’s been a shoulder to cry on and a confidante. She is much-loved but viewed as an enigma. Why is she still there? Why does she never leave? When a young man, both beautiful and unpredictable, arrives from the city and leaves a gift for Val, it marks the beginning of a passionate and violent night…


Born in Liverpool in 1988, composer Mark Simpson won BBC Young Musician of the Year as a clarinettist in 2006 and also, that same year, received the accolade of BBC Young Composer of the year – the only individual to have won both competitions. In 2010 he won the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award. With a growing catalogue of works to his credit, his orchestral scores A Mirror-Fragment and Threads (both 2008) as well as sparks (2012) have all been well received.

Pleasure sees Simpson turn to opera for the first time, collaborating once again with librettist Melanie Challenger. Highly sought after, and admired by peers, critics and audiences alike, Challenger’s works includes a stunning selection of poetry and prose including the award-winning non-fiction book On Extinction. The duo recently received critical praise for their contribution to the Manchester International Festival, The Immortal, which was performed by the BBC Philharmonic.

Pleasure marks the third collaborative project by Opera North, Aldeburgh Music and Royal Opera House, giving opportunities to emerging opera writers.​


  • Val Lesley Garrett
  • Matthew Nick Pritchard
  • Nathan Timothy Nelson
  • Anna Fewmore Steven Page
  • Ensemble Psappha
Creative Team
  • Composer Mark Simpson
  • Librettist Melanie Challenger
  • Conductor Nicholas Kok
  • Director Tim Albery
  • Set and Costume Designer Leslie Travers

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Important Information

Please note the time listed on your ticket/webpage is the start time for the performance. Leeds Grand Theatre is open from 1 hour beforehand for ticket collection etc. and doors to the Howard Assembly Room itself open approximately 30 minutes beforehand. Where there is a support act, this will also be stated on the website/ticket. We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes before show time as latecomers will only be admitted during a suitable break in the performance.

The Howard Assembly Room is located inside Leeds Grand Theatre

Leeds Grand Theatre is situated on New Briggate in the heart of Leeds City Centre.

The theatre is easily accessible by public transport. It is approximately 10 minutes walk from the main bus station and 15 minutes walk from the train station with many buses stopping in the immediate vicinity. For the most up to date information on local bus and train times, please check WYMetro. There is also a taxi rank outside the theatre although we recommend booking a taxi in advance, particularly on a Friday or Saturday evening.

Parking is available at various nearby car parks, including Edward Street/Templar Street and the St John's and Merrion Centre shopping malls. A limited amount of on street parking is available near the theatre is free after 6pm but this does tend to fill up very quickly.



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