Leeds music hall hunts `rent-a-crowd’

A LITTLE MORE CONVERSATION: Leeds City Varieties, keen to recreate the atmosphere of the 1800s

A LITTLE MORE CONVERSATION: Leeds City Varieties, keen to recreate the atmosphere of the 1800s

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THE HUNT is on for volunteers willing to travel back in time to become an imaginary Victorian music hall audience.

The learning team at Leeds City Varieties wants to enhance their current offer by adding a “soundscape” to tours of the historic building from September this year.

BACK IN THE DAY: A comedy act performs for a Leeds audience in the 1920s

BACK IN THE DAY: A comedy act performs for a Leeds audience in the 1920s

The aim is to record authentic-sounding applause, cheering, booing and even imagined conversations between members of the audience which can then be played as visitors are shown around the auditorium.

However, the venue needs voice talent to help and has invited anyone who would like to be a member of the Victorian audience come along to the old music hall between 4pm and 9pm on Wednesday and join in.

A range of voices are required - both young and old, male and female - although discernible Leeds or Yorkshire accents are preferred to better reflect the sounds of music hall in the 1800s.

There are also a number of roles for characters who will be asked to speak a few lines of dialogue to recreate snippets of conversation, which will be blended into the soundscape to give the listener the impression they are overhearing a conversation.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the innovative project led by the City Varieties Learning Team has already attracted a number of lady volunteers - but spokeswoman Grace Dean says more men are needed.

“A music hall audience would have been dominated by men and been quite rowdy,” she said. “There would be lots of hustle and bustle in the background and audiences back then weren’t worried about heckling or even throwing rotten veg at acts they didn’t like.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a lot of fun, particularly for people who love the building or have come to enjoy shows here in the past.”

Management have assured potentially shy participants that there will be no photography and their identities will remain anonymous. No previous acting experience is required.

More information about the recording is available by calling 07957 193913 or by emailing andy@cosmiccarrot.co.uk

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