Built in 1865, this much loved venue, hidden in the heart of Leeds city centre, has survived virtually unchanged across three centuries while most other Victorian Music Halls have passed into history. Many of the world’s greatest entertainers have trodden the boards here including, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harry Houdini, Lilly Langtry, Harry Lauder and Mickey Rooney. It has played a key role in the careers of the likes of Frankie Vaughan, Ken Dodd, Ray Alan (and Lord Charles!), The Chuckle Brothers, Roy Hudd and Barry Cryer. For thirty years, the Varieties was also the home of BBC TV’s record breaking The Good Old Days which began broadcasting in 1953 and was screened around the world. More recently, the Varieties has welcome film and TV crews from feature films Ghost Stories, Testament of Youth and BBC TV drama The ABC Murders, set to debut on BBC One
Following our closure in early 2009, the Varieties has undergone an amazing amount of work including a complete demolition and then reconstruction of the backstage areas, painstaking ceiling and plasterwork repairs, new carpeting and seating throughout the auditorium and major excavations to re-establish the ancient cellar network.
Over the last 20 years, City Varieties has established an unrivalled reputation for presenting the very best in live music, variety and comedy as well as hugely popular annual pantomimes which have entertained Leeds’ families for generations.