Leeds theatre groups join forces to offer live outdoor performances for families

Theatre groups in Leeds have teamed up to offer live outdoor performances for children in the city.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 4:45 pm

Tutti frutti, Wrongsemble, Unlimited Theatre, 154 Collective, Blah Blah Blahs, Alive & Kicking, Interplay, Fidget Theatre and Slung Low joined forces to create Live Little Stories for Leeds.

The initiative saw the companies perform socially-distanced theatre shows for free to pre-invited families and children at six locations in Leeds.

Wendy Harris, artistic director of tutti frutti, which organised the collective effort, said: “When lockdown happened and we cancelled most of our tours, I went back to look at tutti frutti’s key values and asked myself how we can still deliver on these?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Bringing together the new collective, we asked how we could do something extraordinary for the children of Leeds, by making live events safely. It was incredible and very moving to see families and children gathering in a safe way for Live Little Stories for Leeds, seeing them laugh and join in with the stories.”

At Shine in Harehills, tutti frutti productions’ Hue Boy, an adaptation of the Smarties Prize winning book, transported children to a Caribbean village while tutti frutti productions and Wrongsemble told the story of Rapunzel. How I Hacked My Way Into Space saw Unlimited Theatre bringing the Space Shed to Slung Low’s The Holbeck site, with Jon Spooner performing his inspirational one-man show, telling the story of how he accidentally set up a space agency and sent an astronaut to space. The performance was digitally livestreamed across Facebook and YouTube, and is available until August 27.

At Leeds Little Free Libraries in Crossgreen, Middleton and Headingley, children were treated to Molly’s Marvellous Moustache and Bird’s Nest Billy: The Boy with Three Wishes by Fidget Theatre, and Icarus Bly from The Museum Of Untold Stories, Jinny Greenteeth: The Boggart In The Cupboard and Frederick the Fisherman from File by Alive and Kicking.

At Interplay in Armley, The Adventures of Walter Lemon Face by 154 Collective presented children with a magical mix of live animation, music and storytelling, and was accompanied by Mustacha’s Apprentice Storytelling Workshop by Blah Blah Blahs.

Wendy added: “I want theatre to be part of how we can help our children overcome the challenges of COVID-19 - with support, artists and companies can engage with children to help their confidence, wellbeing and be part of their recovery. It’s vital for companies and artists at this time to pull together, think creatively and come up with new ideas to create work opportunities; there was real team work from the partner organisations who delivered Live Little Stories for Leeds.”