Theatre stage is now accessible to all

We are delighted to announce that our Theatre Stage is now more accessible than it has ever been!  Thanks to financial support from the Theatres Trust Small Grants Programme over the past few months we have been able to purchase our new winch lift and have installed it in our Stage Left wing space.  This is just the start of our journey towards making The Y Theatre as accessible as we can within the boundaries of our Grade II Listed status.


Audiences and Performers will all be able to benefit from this new lift as it will allow us to offer a far more accessible stage for disabled performers and as it is moveable lift we will be able to utilise it elsewhere in the venue to support our audiences to access better sight lines.

For more information about the accessibility of The Y Theatre venue you can visit the venue website and download our Access Pack.

Young People help run the Bizarre Bazaar

Step back into a peculiar past, return to an era of the fancy faire!

Discover the factual and fantastical as we delve into the history of Leicester’s oldest theatre, built in 1900. Join in the celebration with a splendid array of themed shows at The Y Theatre’s Victorian Bazaar.

This event was created by our Y Heritage Project in partnership with Enter Edem Theatre Company as part of Heritage Open Days 2022. Thousands of venues across the UK are opening their doors, so you can visit places you never thought possible.

Please book your FREE place in advance, as last year sold out! Join us at 11am, 2pm or 4.30pm each day.  The 4.30pm session is perfect for families looking for an after school interactive heritage experience.  We suggest an hour to make the most of your visit.

Young People Get Involved!

Josh, a resident at The Y, is Assistant Director of our Bizarre Bazaar, working alongside Enter Edem and other young people to create a Victorian summer fete with characters, games and a few surprises.  As part of the Y Heritage jobs project a marketing and social media post was also created for a young person. Our visitors will see YMCA history through the eyes of a younger generation!

Monday 12th – Thursday 15th September 2022

The Long Evening Charity Song

We are so honored that The Long Evening have created a song to raise money to support The Y Theatre, which is currently closed.

The Long Evening are a singer-songwriter collective based in Leicester who have regularly used The Y Theatre as a place to showcase their talents and perform. 

The song they have made is called Leave The Ghost Light On and is available to listen here!

They have asked if you enjoyed the song to please make a donation here to help support The Y Theatre.

The song is written and produced by Richard Leverton and features Hannah Torrance lead vocals, Rachel Wheeler backing vocals and Steve Archer on bass.  A big thanks to all three for putting their creativity into this!

You can find out more about what The Long Evening are up to on their Facebook page.

Y Theatre receives Cultural Recovery Fund

We’re so excited that The Y Theatre will receive money from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund. It is a Covid specific fund for arts, heritage and culture and is awarded by Arts Council England. The money will help us to get Leicester’s oldest theatre back up and running in the coming months. We are so grateful to the public who have also joined our efforts to save our theatre.

We’re looking forward to welcoming the community back.

Grace Petrie & The Resistance Band – Fundraiser Live Stream

Local songwriter and performer, Grace Petrie is widely known across the alternative, folk, political and comedy scenes for her warm and witty take on politics, love and life. 

On Saturday 5th September 2020, along with The Resistance Band, she is putting on a live-streamed show to raise funds to help keep The Y Theatre open.

Covid-19 has had an astounding impact on theatres and the arts as a wider industry, with some devastating consequences for venues, performers and wider staff. Support is needed to keep theatres going and to get them back up and running. 

With this in mind, we are super excited to have Grace Petrie perform live virtually for us and for all proceeds raised for the live stream to be donated to The Y Theatre. 

To join in on the fun from the comfort of home, you can purchase tickets from, 

Standard tickets cost £11 with options to donate further if you wish. 

To find out more about Grace Petrie you can visit,

A message from The Y Theatre

The Y Theatre has taken the decision to postpone all performances, events and classes until further notice as a result of circumstances surrounding COVID-19 (coronavirus).

We have taken the decision to close until further as we have a duty of care to our young residents, our staff, our community groups and our audiences, and want to encourage and support everyone to remain safe during this time – the wellbeing of everyone who engages with us is our priority.

We are continually assessing which events to cancel and will be in touch with all affected ticket-holders. We are rescheduling events wherever possible, not only for your entertainment, but to continue to support the artists and freelancers we work with. We urge customers not come to the box office in person, we will contact you via telephone or email.

You may not be aware that we are part of The Y, a local homeless charity housing 102 young people across the city. Therefore our buildings are not able to close but from today we will not be accepting any public on site. The charity has been preparing an operating strategy in the face of the outbreak, including providing support should they need to self-isolate, as they do not have their families around them.

As an independent organisation these will be challenging times that we share with venues and creatives across the whole arts sector, and with other independent and small businesses. Wherever possible, if you are able to support us and others, whether that be by donating ticket monies, or by choosing to spend locally when buying over the next few months, you will be helping your community.

Thank you!

The Y Theatre team

One Year On

It’s been one year since the arrival of the current Theatre Manager and Programming Officer, we decided to get their thoughts on what they’ve achieved and their highlights since arriving.

Michael:  I returned to work for The Y Theatre after 7 years with another venue, having previously been the Community Arts Administrator here.  It was like putting on your favourite outfit as the majority of the team were people I’d stayed in touch with over the years, though it was obviously somewhat more daunting to now be in charge of the place!

Hannah:  I’ve worked in a few arts venues around the city before joining The Y Theatre and I was excited to be part of the team as it’s a venue I have always loved.  Getting to put my passion to good use is always a bonus!

Michael:  The big area of focus for me outside the daily/weekly tasks expected of a theatre manager has been attempting to improve the customer experience.  We’ve introduced lots of new features (with plenty more still to come, exciting partnership announcements soon!) with a particular focus on our web sales.  I’m particularly pleased with the view from a seat as it shows off the lovely interior of our theatre.

Hannah:  My main challenge has been to take a look at the programme and see what it is missing, trying out new things I think our audience will like and seeing what people come to.  I’m also a huge champion for new work and local artists so have been exploring ways we can support people through our programming.

Michael:  My favourite part of working here is the strong cultural scene that we are contributing to.  We are so fortunate to work both with and alongside so many independent promoters and venues on projects like Handmade Festival and of course the Leicester Comedy Festival.

Hannah:  I agree, Leicester is a real cultural hub, there’s always something to go and see and it is great to be a part of making that happen.  It’s cheesy to say but I think my favourite part has to be the team; we all chip in and work hard while always having a laugh, and love a good GIF.

Michael:  Highlights for me have to be Grace Petrie’s sell out hometown show in October; Gay Comedy Night as part of LCF; and the Radio 4 New Comedy Awards heat last month.

Hannah:  A personal highlight has to be the amazing response to Rough Draft, the new works night I’ve helped put together with some fellow Leicester creatives.  We’ve got such a variety of artists submitting and a good regular crowd that is growing, it’s really lovely to see the support and creativity of our city.

Sitting down with…Dave Johns

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Dave Johns, I’ve been a comedian for three decades, from stand-up to improv.  You might recognise me from Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, the feel-good comedy Fisherman’s Friends, as well as Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC), 8 Out of Ten Cats (Channel 4), Alan Davies As Yet Untitled (Dave) and The Footballs On (BT Sport).

What are you bringing to The Y Theatre?
I’m bringing my hit one-man stand-up show From Byker to BAFTAs.  It sold out in Edinburgh and at Soho Theatre so seems to be a bit good.

If you could be on stage with anyone, who would it be and why?
YOU!  The person reading this!  Or Elvis

What are you watching?
I’m watching my iPad as i type this, but if your asking about tv I’m watching the box set of Peaky Blinders the last season.

Name one thing you can’t live without and why
Oxygen. Also HOPE and I hope you come to see my show as I promise you will have some laughs

Name one thing you really hate and why
I hate roundabouts with traffic lights on them.  Pointless!  Comedian Phil Nicol hates them too, that’s why we are the best of friends

Describe your show with one GIF —->

Why should people come and see your show?
I guarantee that you will piss yourself laughing. thousands of people have seen it already. And that’s what happens when they leave the theatre you can see wee on their pants and dresses….
It’s just a good fun 80 minute show. Come along we will have great fun. What better thing can one do than laugh in a room full of people, it makes you feel good. Don’t believe, watch me make 10,000 people do just that, follow this link at Newcastle Arena

See Dave Johns at The Y Theatre with Byker to BAFTAs on Friday 6 September.

Sitting down with…Rough Draft

Who are you and what do you do?Rough Draft logo
We’re a group of local creatives who love new stuff.  From gut-wrenching theatre to side-splitting comedy, melodic music to punch poetry, and all those arty bits in between, we love seeing all the new and exciting things that fall out of those creative brains.  But more than anything we love helping people get this new stuff made.

What are you bringing to The Y Theatre?
Rough Draft is a monthly night for performers, comedians, writers, theatremakers and more to try out new ideas, get feedback and find collaborators, right here in Leicester. Our very first night coming up in June has theatre, poetry, music and some improv, a great mix!

If you could be on stage with anyone, who would it be and why?
That’s the fun thing about Rough Draft, we are on stage with new and awesome people every month! But also Beyonce.

What are you watching?
All sorts. We love a bit of BBC Drama (bring on Killing Eve season 2!), excited for the new comedy awards too. We love going to local nights like Find The Right Words and open mics. Hayley is also really into Task Master.

Name one thing you can’t live without and why
Definitely our laptops. We use them for writing, listening to music, watching videos, editing, you name it. I always have mine with me. It’s a creative hub in my pocket. And by pocket I of course mean bag…

Name one thing you really hate and why
That you usually need experience or contacts or a butt-tonne of money before you can even take the first step. It is not that hard to just help people.

Describe your show with one GIF —->

Why should people come and see your show?
Because you’ll be the first to see brand new work by exciting local artists. You get to give feedback and help shape their projects as they develop. You never know, you might even find the next person you work with!

Rough Draft is a regular new work night at The Y Theatre 

Scoring Silver: Our Social Impact score and goals for improving

In February a team from the University of Leicester visited the Theatre and undertook a Social Impact Audit as part of their Innovation for Good Programme.  The goal: to identify ways we can improve our commitment to sustainability and the environment.  We were assessed in 8 different areas, given a score, and then a set of recommendations to continue to improve.A pie chart listing 8 categories: Travel, Water, Community, Procurement, Waste, Biodiversity, Energy and Catering

Overall we were thrilled to receive a silver rating, with gold in Community and Water categories.  Never one to back down from a challenge, we’ve already been looking at ways we can improve, building on the brilliant feedback from the team.


What we’ve done:

  • Bike racks – As well as the public bike rack in front of the building we have a secure sheltered bike rack. If you would like to use this on your next visit, just speak to a member of our team, they will happily show you where to go.
  • Encourage use of public transport – We’re lucky, being right across from the train station we’ve got brilliant transport links! On our website we’ve made a point of telling you all the ways you can get to us that don’t involve driving.  But if you do drive, we’ve got tips on that as well.
  • Reduce single-use plastics – Standing gigs are a huge part of our programme and one of our safety measures for a long time has been for only plastic cups to be used at these events. This did mean we were getting through a lot of plastic cups, something we weren’t particularly comfortable with.  So we’ve invested in reusable, dishwasher safe cups made from recycled plastic, and we’re pretty chuffed with them.
  • Reduce electricity consumption – our corridors and bathrooms all have movement-sensitive, LED lighting so we are only using the energy we need. We also encourage staff to turn off their computers and lights when they leave the office.  These small changes have already made a big difference.
  • Reducing food waste – No matter how well you plan, there’s always food left over at the end of an event. Thankfully our residents are more than happy to help.


On our to-do list:

  • Reduce water usage further – We may have scored gold in this area but we can do better. We’re looking at fitting taps with flow restricting mechanisms to help go that little bit further.Copies of The Y Theatre brochure
  • Eco-friendly procurement – Whenever we choose a new supplier we take the social an environmental impact very seriously. This is why we use local brewery Everards in our bar, use local catering companies La Baguette and Jaspers for our events, and use local designers and printers for our marketing materials.  We want to go a step further and support more local and independent companies.
  • Further reduce reliance on print – Brochures, flyers, posters: print material is everywhere in any theatre, it’s impossible to get away from. We’ve been working hard on encouraging customers to join our email list and receive our brochure electronically, so much so that we’ve been able to reduce the number of brochures we are printing by a quarter over the last two years.  But that’s still not enough for us.  Our next step is to start encouraging artists not to send us flyers and instead use that money on digital advertising.  Our dream is to get rid of our flyer racks altogether.