Launched today this is the first public project of Leeds People’s Theatre, an idea developed by Holbeck-based theatre company Slung Low with support from Leeds 2023.
The themes in Slung Low’s latest project ‘The Good Book’ resonate even more powerfully today given the extraordinary and uncertain times we are living in. Filmed pre-Covid19, the story explores what we value, what freedoms we hold dear, as well as what we are prepared to protect and fight for. Questions that continue to play on our minds as we live through lockdown and deal with the impact of Coronavirus.
It is a brilliant debut for the Leeds People’s Theatre: a new creative community in the city, articulating big political ideas through telling original and important stories in their own way. Slung Low, renowned nationally and internationally for the quality and ambition of their site specific and large scale productions, are also skilled at working with communities. The Good Book showcases all of this in abundance from the process of its creation through to the final film that you get to see. Made with the citizens of Leeds and utilising all the production expertise and skill of the Slung Low team and its artistic collaborators, one gets a glimpse of the talent and potential that is within our city. Talent and potential that sometimes goes unrecognised, because one might never have been given the opportunity to unleash it.
Sometimes, in the enjoyment and achievement of the final ‘show’, we might be for forgiven for forgetting the importance and the power of the process of making and creating something together. As viewers, we may never know what difference the making of this film has had on those people involved in making it. I was lucky enough to witness some of that process. Lucky enough to see connections and friendships being made as people came together to rehearse and film sequences, stand in the rain together and offer each other encouragement when tiredness was setting in. Lucky enough to witness the humour and tenderness amongst them as they shared food and conversation and see newly learnt skills applied with confidence and pride.
If we didn’t know it before this global pandemic, we certainly now know, that many of us want to participate in culture and creative activity. We enjoy consuming culture but we also want to create it too – to explore our own creativity and leave a mark on the world in some way. The Good Book is a brilliant example of how, working in collaboration with Slung Low, Leeds2023 can help unleash the talent and creativity of our communities, as well as celebrate the world-class cultural landscape in Leeds.
Kully Thiarai, Creative Director Leeds 2023