Launched this week, this mesmerising, absorbing short video was released by the Performance Ensemble as part of their ‘Bus Pass’ project, inviting people aged over 60 to get on board.
Every day in June The Performance Ensemble is revealing short stories and anecdotes from older artists – professional and non-professional – each one a powerful tiny chapter in the development of a project that is seeking out one thousand stories from every part of Leeds. By 2023, this community of performers and their shared stories will become a public performance reaching right across the city.
It’s fantastic to see Bus Pass beginning to unfold and to get a glimpse of where the group, led by Alan Lyddiard, are taking it. With lockdown and isolation such a dominant feature of our lives – especially for older people – this project is a reminder of how rare it is to see older people actively celebrated and positively enjoyed.
Revelling in their age and experience The Performance Ensemble describe themselves as ‘on top of the hill, not over the hill’. This new community of older artists already includes performers who have enjoyed successful careers working at the top of their profession, including Phoenix Dance founders David Hamilton and Villmore James, and their then rehearsal director and mentor, Namron. That these artists have the opportunity, as part of the Performance Ensemble, to collaborate and create new work, alongside non-professional older people in the city, is what Leeds2023 is about.
The Performance Ensemble is growing and working towards the Bus Pass project at a time when Leeds City Council has stated its commitment to be the best city to grow old in. This work could only come from this city: it is of Leeds, by Leeds and with Leeds.