What’s what with Arts Socs

Leeds University Union has a wide variety of societies, each one different, interesting and inclusive. Whether you want to try out something new, or hone a new talent and skill you never thought you would master, you will surely find your place here at Leeds. With over 30 different societies aimed particularly at the arts, there is no shortage of what you can do and here is but a few:

Theatre Group

Leeds University Union Theatre Group is one of the University’s longest established societies, formed in 1919. This society is for those who are interested in all aspects of theatre, be it directing, producing, acting, lighting/sound design or just watching. We offer members the opportunity to participate in eight shows across both semesters and the chance to perform at the Edinburgh fringe every year. They produce all kinds of theatre; specialising in scripted plays both by contemporary and classic playwrights. Last year’s continuous sell out performances included classics ‘A Doll’s House’ and ‘The Trial’, alongside pieces such as ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’.

In semester one they have four shows for you to watch and be a part of: Medea, Constellations, Birdsong and Macbeth.

Stage Musicals Society

 LUU Stage Musicals Society (SMS) organise, direct, choreograph and perform spectacular shows from Broadway and the West End every semester. The society is over 70 years old and still puts on shows chosen by and completely staged by their members. As a member of SMS, you will enjoy being a part of a wholly inclusive, welcoming and fun society full of other outgoing people who share your love of performing.

Spoken Word

Spoken Word Society is here for all of you poets, rappers, singers and writers who are searching for a space to share your scribbles on stage as well as anyone looking to take up a new challenge and express their creativity. Leeds has an awesome poetic heritage that the new generation of student poets can continue. Look out for Spoken Word’s open-mics, competitive slams and writing workshops.

Open Theatre

Open Theatre are LUU’s alternative theatre society. They facilitate your ideas and help you to create innovative performances around campus and the city. Open Theatre encourage members to create shows which push the boundaries of theatre, welcoming both new writing pieces and original takes on well-loved classics. As a collective, they help member’s stage at least five shows every year. They can also help you to gain access to a huge range of both traditional and non-traditional performance spaces and offer workshops lead by current industry professionals.

Semester One shows:

Sick by Bekah Brunstetter, directed by Maya Wilson and Connie Dimsdale: Alec Clegg Studio, 12 October – 14 October

A Safe Place to Hide, written and directed by Louise Johns: Banham Theatre, 31 October – 2 November

Nightlight, written and directed by Jess Williams: Pyramid Stage, 30 November – 2 December

Mojo by Jez Butterworth, directed by Luke Haywood: Stage One, 7 December – 9 December

Musical Theatre

MT boasts a history of professional standard, high-quality shows with intimate casts of up to 25 performers. They produce two musicals every semester – one large scale production in LUU’s Riley Smith Theatre and another more intimate show in a different studio space. They put on classics of musical theatre as well as newer, fresher shows. All members are given the opportunity to reach their dramatic potential, regardless of ability and experience and they can help anyone improve.


LUU Comedy Society is a group of like-minded students who love writing, performing and watching all kinds of comedy. Whether you want to join as an experienced performer, an untested writer or as someone who just loves comedy, membership gives you discounted entry to comedy events around the city, as well as making you the first to find out about gigs, opportunities and keeping you in contact with like-minded comedians.


PantSoc is a wonderfully welcoming society with a diverse group of members from departments across the University and all walks of life. They welcome new members from any kind of performing background or none at all. They like to invite anyone who is fun, animated and doesn’t take themselves too seriously to audition for any of their raucous, hilarious shows. Pasts shows have included Robin Hood and Peter Pan.

Opera Soc

Leeds University Union Opera society is a student run society for all levels of ability and exposure to opera. We put on two shows every year – one in each semester and make full use of LUU’s free rehearsal and theatre spaces. Our shows often have impressive casts of over thirty performers and a full orchestra. Auditions are also informal and take the form of relaxed group workshops so there’s no barrier to entry.


LUU Backstage society are a group of set designers, lighting operators, sound engineers, riggers and stage managers who arrange all of the off-stage requirements for all of LUU’s performance societies running shows in the Union. Their members have a huge range of different interests in the artistic, design and technical disciplines that go into putting on a successful show.

Costume Soc

 A brand new society as of 2016/17. They are mainly a collaborative society and aim to provide the costumes for the performance societies in their various shows throughout the year. This involves buying, renting and making costumes. They are also involved in hair and makeup for shows when a show requires this. 

So if you have an interest in costuming, makeup, designing or hair then you should look to join as they would love to have you, no sewing skills needed!

Film Making

LUU Film Society exists for everyone who’s dreamed of working with Martin Scorsese, Ken Loach, or the Coen Brothers. The society gives everyone the opportunity to participate in scriptwriting, directing, and shooting in a variety of techniques from classical to avant-guarde and everything in between. Members also meet regularly to critique each other’s work and offer friendly advice to ensure everyone is making the best films possible.

Leeds Student Radio

LSR is one of the biggest student radio stations in the UK and boasts alumni at every level of the radio industry. They broadcast from 9am til late, and welcome anyone to pitch a show, regardless of experience or subject matter. You can also join a variety of teams and contribute to their core shows to help define the sound of Leeds this year. You will have access to their brand new broadcast studio, giving you the unique opportunity to use industry standard equipment. 

Beyond radio, they are constantly putting on live music events, gigs and conferences throughout the year. They offer regular DJ training sessions, the chance to help put on and record a live session with local bands, interviews with bands, politicians and more, reviews of the best events in Leeds and, most importantly, the chance to join the LSR family. 

While that may only be a taste of the arts societies you can join at LUU, more information can be found on their website.

Becca Tombs

(Image courtesy of Leeds List)