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My Yorkshire: Mike Kenny

Playwright Mike Kenny was born on the Welsh border and moved to Yorkshire in the 1970s to work with the theatre in education company at Leeds Playhouse. He has lived here ever since, and his three sons were all born in the county.

What's your first memory of being outdoors?

Although I was born in a beautiful part of the country, my first memory of outdoors is watching the sun on the wall of our backyard in the railway cottages.

What's your favourite part of the county and why?

The North York Moors right over to the coast. My favourite place in the

world is Staithes.

What's your idea of a perfect weekend/day out in Yorkshire?

When the children were young, a walk somewhere round Bolton Abbey and lunch at the Buffers at Storiths.

Now, a long hot day (we do get them) on the beach at Runswick Bay with friends, ending with a barbie on the beach.

Do you have a favourite walk, or view?

Walk: from Staithes to Whitby, that coast- line is spectacular. View: Hole of Horcum.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star (past or present) would you like to take for lunch?

Charles Laughton from Scarborough. Talented, troubled and, one assumes, liked his food.

If you had to name your Yorkshire hidden gem, what would it be?

Bombay Stores in Bradford and Ilkley Lido.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

Its diversity, the range of landscape, cities and people. It's almost a country in itself.

Do you follow sport in the county, and if so what?

I'm pretty rubbish at most sports but I follow the fortunes of York Vikings and my son Theo's basketball team.

What about Yorkshire's cultural life?

I work a lot with Yorkshire theatre companies. There are few areas

outside London with such energy and variety. It's fantastically fertile. Talent keeps popping up here. One of the great things is that there is a theatre community and that each company is so individual.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?

City Screen in York. It's not really a restaurant but this place combines so many things I like: food, wine, coffee, films, comedy, music, views of the river and I can get there easily on my bike.

Do you have a favourite food shop?

The Beer and Wine Shop in York.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed in the time you've known it?

When I first came to Leeds, the only place you could get a decent coffee was Pollards and the tea melted your spoon. It was "grim up North" and everyone laughed at the thought that Bradford might become a tourist destination. Either it's changed or I have. You can certainly get a decent coffee now and all the time I meet people who wished they lived here. I can't imagine leaving.

Are those changes for the better?

Yes. The character of Yorkshire is pretty much unchanged, but I feel the place is more accepting and celebratory of the wide range of people contained within the county these days.

Who is the Yorkshire man or woman you most admire?

Henry Moore.

How has Yorkshire influenced your work?

This makes me feel a bit like a goldfish trying to describe water. I think Yorkshire has toughened me up and taught me not to waste words.

Name your favourite Yorkshire book/author/artist/CD/performer

Arctic Monkeys for CD. John Shuttleworth (Graham Fellows) for performer

and writer.

Mike Kenny's adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairytale, The Snow Queen, runs at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds from December 5 – January 10.

 
 
 

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