A city known for its proud Rugby League heritage, Leeds turned its attention to Rugby Union hosting two matches as part of Rugby Union World Cup 2015, Canada v Italy and USA v Scotland, which took place at Elland Road in September.
Taking its place alongside eleven other host cities, Leeds formed an exciting partnership with Dep Arts, an independent international production company based in the city, to deliver a truly unique culture experience alongside the event. As a Leeds company, celebrating a decade in the arts, this was the first time the team had created a project of this size in their home city, and relished the opportunity.
The cultural programme known as TRY saw experimental theatre producers Slung Low tour eight local Rugby Union clubs with Rugby Songs, written by local screenwriter Lisa Holdsworth – famous for her work on Midsomer Murders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. Featuring just four performers, the production charted the history of Rugby Union and world events through the songs and chants of the sport’s dedicated fans.
In contrast to the, quite literally, grassroots setting of the local Rugby Union clubs, Collective Endeavour, the final of the TRY cultural programme, was played out in Millennium Square with a volunteer cast performers. The large-scale outdoor theatre production was created and produced by London based theatre company Tangled Feet, whose previous work saw them launch the celebrations for the Great North Run’s one millionth runner. The volunteer cast performed a powerful and emotive production highlighting the sense of community, togetherness and justice epitomised by Rugby Union the world over, before culminating the ultimate conversion and spectacular fireworks.