Why beds with elderly people in them will be appearing on Leeds streets
It's the piece of theatre that promises to evoke curiosity and concern from passers-by.
Four large beds are to be placed across Leeds city centre last this month, each with an elderly person under its covers.
The performers are all from the city and when approached by passers-by the stories they tell reveal the often-hidden life experiences of the isolated old.
It will be in Leeds from Friday, October 11, to Sunday October 13, and has been brought to the city for the first time by Beeston-based older artist Alan Lyddiard.
Alan is the artistic director of The Performance Ensemble, a theatre company involving Leeds people aged 60+.
Formed in 2014, as Alan approached 65 himself, The Performance Ensemble now has 70 members from all backgrounds and walks of life. It exists to give older people a voice, to deliver their stories and to highlight social concerns such as loneliness.
The company is now looking for more performers for its new large-scale project Bus Pass involving 1,000 older people.
In August 2023, sixteen double-decker buses will travel across Leeds to five different sites where audiences will witness spectacular performance events – by the canal, in an underpass, on a suburban green, in a bus depot. On the buses, ticket holders will sit next to an older performer who will guide them across the city through intimate storytelling.
Allan said: “These will be the stories of Leeds. They will be stories of lives lived now; from Seacroft to Hawksworth Wood, from Holbeck to Chapel Allerton, from Chapeltown to Beeston and everywhere in between.
"It will be performed by an ensemble of 1,000 older people will ask the world to consider what it means to age in the 21st century.”