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9 WAYS TO EXPERIENCE TRANSFORM 21-22

Quartiers Libres, Nadia Buegre. Photo: Yi Chun Wu

The final wave of Transform 21-22 is approaching! Transform is inviting audiences from across Leeds and beyond to rediscover and explore the city and to connect with bold, brave, vivid and socially conscious performance by powerful artists from across the globe. 

Here are Transform’s top 9 recommended ways to experience Transform 21-22, specially put together with the bold and the curious in mind!

1. JOIN THE MEXA WATCH PARTY – WED 9 MARCH

We met the extraordinary MEXA in São Paulo back in March 2020 just before the world completely changed. We knew we had to introduce this mesmerising activist collective to Transform audiences as soon as possible. We recommend getting the snacks in at home to watch their online performance ‘The more you rehearse, the worse it gets’ at 7pm on Wed 9 March. Wherever you are in the world, you’ll be able to watch two distinctive but interconnected films, whilst connecting online with this amazing collective as you watch.

The more you rehearse the worse it gets, MEXA. Photo: MEXA

2. GRAB A COCKTAIL, CONVERSATION & DOCUMENTARY PERFORMANCE – THU 10 MARCH

Head over to our absolute favourite haunt, Outlaws Yacht Club, for a craft beer or cocktail from 3pm. You’ll join Transform 21-22 artists and team for an informal conversation about the future of festivals and get an insight into festival projects. The conversation will be wrapped up by 5pm, so there’s enough time to grab a bite to eat before the show. We’d recommend the fantastic Eat Your Greens (fresh organic dishes) Safran (traditional Iranian grills) or Albaba (delicious and quick Lebanese food) which are all a stroll from Outlaws. Afterwards, take a short walk to Leeds Playhouse and catch the opening performance of ‘The History of Korean Western Theatre’ by Jaha Koo. This documentary performance weaves together personal stories with political perspective and is visually stunning. 

The History of Korean-Western Theatre, Jaha Koo. Photo: Leontien Allemeersch

3. ESCAPE INTO A SOUNDSCAPE & REFLECT ON THOSE WE’VE LOST – WED 16 MARCH

Artist Lua Bairstow has been working on the ‘The Sound Grief Project’ in the lead-up to Transform 21-22. Join Lua for an informal listening party at the Bramall Rock Void at Leeds Playhouse at 7pm on Wed 16 March. Sharing the impact on the body and brain of the sudden impact of grief, this early sharing will stimulate reflection and discussion. Either before or after, you might also like to wonder over to CLAY: Centre for Live Art Yorkshire to see ‘The Ofrenda’ an installation that features stories and photographs of lost loved ones, contributed by people across the city and beyond. Alternatively, you can visit ‘The Ofrenda’ at its home on regent street, any time between now and 19 March. 

The Ofrenda, The Grief Series & Zion Studio. Photo: JMA Photography

4. EXPERIENCE A RAW & ENERGETIC SOLO PERFORMANCE, THEN JOIN A WTF DANCE PARTY – FRI 18 MARCH

Your Friday 18 March is sorted with two extraordinary high energy performances. First head over to Northern Ballet for ‘Quartiers Libres’ by Nadia Beugré.  You’ll be surrounded by breathless and startling energy as you move with the performer and the action unfolds around you. After the show, head directly to CLAY: Centre for Live Art Yorkshirewhere you’ll also be able to catch ‘JUMBIE’ by Jamal Gerald. Resurrecting a dance rooted in the culture of Montserrat, this sensual and stimulating experience will be part performance, party dance party, and anything could happen. If you prefer to take more of a breather between shows, you can also see these performances on different nights.   

Quartiers Libres, Nadia Buegre. Photo: Yi Chun Wu

5. VISIT A POWERFUL, DURATIONAL INSTALLATION – THU 31 MARCH

‘FORGE’ explores who memorials are for, and what happens to places where traumatic events take place. At Testbed in Leeds, artist Rachel Mars will be welding a steel replica of the ‘welcome’ gate from the Dachau concentration camp. Accompanied by a soundscape by Dinah Mullen, you will be able to enter Tested and witness Rachel welding the gate. Each day of the installation, a short walk away at The Tetley Rachel and her collaborators will gather together artists, thinkers and speakers to discuss themes of memorial, grief and social responsibility. Each discussion will focus on a different topic and provide an intimate space to share food and conversation. The installation and long table discussions have limited capacity, so advance booking is essential. ‘FORGE’ runs from Thu 31-Sat 2 April, but if you experience it on Thu 31 March you will also be able to pop into the second ‘Festivals of the Future’ chat at Outlaws Yacht Club before or after!

FORGE, Rachel Mars. Photo: JMA Photography

6. JOIN A VIBRANT, INCLUSIVE & ALTERNATIVE CLUB EXPERIENCE – FRI 1 APRIL

The brilliant Sable Radio have specially curated an inclusive club experience for Transform 21-22. Join them for a night of hedonism and healing, alongside stunning performers and DJ’s from Leeds and beyond. The full line-up and venue will be announced soon, but in the mean-time get the date in your diary.

A Soft Rapture, Sable Studios. Photo: Sable Studios

7. CELEBRATE WITH US AT A PARTY FOR OUR TIMES – FRI 8 APRIL

This is set to be an audacious night of adventure and revelry at The Holbeck, the oldest working men’s club in England. We’ve invited trailblazing performers, artists and DJ’s to respond to this iconic venue and will be unveiling pop-up performances, interventions, and more. Get ready to dust off your best moves and head on to the dance floor. The full line-up will also be announced soon but tickets for this one are going quickly so grab yours now.

A Party For Our Times, Transform. Photo: The Other Richard

8. WATCH THE EXTRAORDINARY FRONTERA / BORDER, WITH PANORAMIC VIEWS OF LEEDS – SAT 9 APRIL

Exploring a choreography of borders in which hip-hope culture, colonial tales, native practices and mysticism intertwine, Amanda Piña’s highly visual performance is a homage to the power and resilience of those whose bodies carry borders, to those who dare to cross. Presented on the top floor of the Victoria Gate multi-storey car park, this visual, hypnotic dance is performed by a large ensemble. ‘Frontera / Border’ is set to be an unforgettable experience to culminate Transform 21-22. 

Frontera/Border, Amanda Pina. Photo: Dajana Lothert

9. DELVE DEEPER INTO THE FESTIVAL 

This extended festival model is a different way of working for Transform. Alongside the performances and events on offer we’ve hosted artists from Iceland, the USA and Brazil who have been working with communities across Leeds and sparking exciting new collaborations which we hope to unveil as part of our next festival in October 2023. If you can’t make it to Leeds or to the performances, you might want to engage with the Thinking section on our website which documents our journey to create Transform 21-22. We’ll also be releasing some short documentaries later in the Spring which you can watch from home, stay tuned for details!

Linda Maestra, Martha Kiss-Perone & Lowri Evans. Photo: Sable Studios