I do like to be beside the Seacroft
‘Oh I do like to be beside the Seacroft’ was wrote and co-directed by Boff Whalley, musical director and former member of Chumbawamba, alongside actor and director Jane Morlan. It followed on from the 2015 sell-out performance ‘Gipton the Musical’, taking inspiration from the communities of East Leeds. The lively musical show was set in the ginnels and parks of Seacroft and was performed at West Yorkshire Playhouse on the 15th July 2017 to a sell-out audience.
Stories and histories collected from the community of Seacroft were incorporated within a mythical and fantastical narrative that included a live band, dancers, mermaids and sea creatures, bringing East Leeds to life. The show tells the story of a small-town boy on an epic journey. It draws heavily on the area’s history and is made from local myths and local geography, with some truth interwoven alongside fairy-tale. The use of local stories within the narrative gives local people time to develop confidence, skills and self-esteem to participate with parity of status alongside professionals and volunteers and contribute to the artistic process.
Emma Tregidden, Creative Director of Space2, said:
““We are inviting local people to come along, tell us their stories of Seacroft - what has happened in the past, as well as what they would like to happen in the future.”
“We are also working with the LS14 Trust and drawing on its amazing collection of local stories.”
“The map, and any stories gathered, will then contribute to a collection of ideas for a new performance, written especially for the community of Seacroft, by the community.”
Alongside their contributions to the narrative, residents were offered opportunities to sing, dance, make costumes, build sets, design the lighting and even help write the script. Space2 ran workshops to help residents train as performers, designers, writers and technicians. Through local residents being involved within the creative process, this accessible and exciting spectre exemplified Space2’s participatory arts approach and collaborative principles, creating community cohesion and resilience and building the skills, confidence, aspirations and self-esteem of local people.
The project was funded by the People’s Health Trust, The Health Lottery, Leeds City Council and organised in association with the LS14 Trust.
LS14 Trust is a not-for-profit community organisation set up by residents in Seacroft, to help people get the best out of life in the area. For further information visit http://www.ls14trust.org/
A full recording of the play can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDYNHRvfTDs