News and updates from A Quiet Word…
Published 16/1/18 3:16PM
New site-specific performance piece House will take place between 30 January and 3 February in Headingley, Leeds. You are invited behind closed doors for a conversation in the dark, and to where the present overlays the past…
House begins with the story of Robert Arthington, a rich man locally known as the Headingley Miser. He built a large house for his bride; but the bride never came. So he lived alone in one room, on half a crown a week, and received his visitors in the dark.
Published 23/6/16 2:40PM
‘Midway through the journey of my life, I found myself in a dark wood, and the way was not clear. ‘
Dante: The Divine Comedy. Canto 1
In frozen Winter, we began walking and talking in Meanwood Park with people from the local community along well worn paths and hidden tracks. Together, we produced a book ‘Ways Through the Wood’ a kind of ‘choose your own adventure story’ that collects pieces of creative writing, historical stories and suggestions for ways to explore the area.
As Spring has moved into Summer, a particularly potent story emerges; one of family grief for a son lost in a war; of an ornamental garden that would have been his inheritance, then gifted to the city of Leeds in his memory. The family’s loss is the city’s gain. Lost and Found
Now we are preparing to invite people on a walk that is rooted in the history of the area, in respect for the past and hope for the future.
Between 28th June and 2nd July we invite you to walk with us, way through a dark wood…
And we hope, to find the way clear.
Advanced Booking is essential for this event. Book here
The ticket price charged here is a small deposit to ensure your place on the walk, this will be returned to you on attendance.
Performances will run at 5pm & 8pm each day.
The journey will take you over uneven ground and different terrains.
Please wear appropriate footwear and dress for the weather.
Further details will be sent when we receive your booking.
The performance is Pay What You Decide, so please come prepared.
If you have particular access needs please get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday the 28th of June at 8pm and Friday the 1st of July at 5pm the performance will be supported by a BSL interpreter.
1. I use a wheelchair, am I still able to attend? – The route takes participants over rough, uneven and muddy ground. There are also narrow paths and steep gradients. With regret we don’t feel the piece is wheelchair accessible. It is also not suitable for people who use a walking frame.
2. I have children under 12, would they enjoy the piece? – The route takes around 90 minutes to walk and goes over uneven terrain. If younger children need to be carried, that should be bared in mind. The route is not suitable for buggies. The content is appropriate for under 12s.
3. I have a dog, can they come along? – This is a public park so there will be dogs in the area, however as a participant on the walk, which is a group experience, we strongly recommend leaving ‘Fido’ at home.
4. What if the weather is bad? – We recommend you come dressed for a walk in the park in the British ‘summer’! We particularly recommend wellington boots or stout, waterproof walking shoes. There is mud underfoot. We are prepared come rain or shine so the show will go on.
5. What if I want to leave halfway through? – No problem, it will have been nice to see you.
6. Are there toilet facilities on the walk? – There is a toilet at the beginning of the walk – this is not wheelchair accessible, and at end of the walk, which is. Please ask an usher for directions.
Published 30/8/14 2:41PM
As part of our 365 Leeds Stories project, we will be taking part in Light Night on 3 October this year. Following A Leeds Labyrinth, which we presented in the Arts Space upstairs during May, Matthew and Alison will be bringing the central section of the structure to the main library space during the evening.
We will be launching the Almanac, a functioning diary for 2015. This Almanac is presented as part of the ongoing project; a record of the past and an invitation for the future. On its pages are reflected the ideas of over 300 people and our experience of living in Leeds. In the course of a year, stories were told aloud, poems, ballads and songs composed, paintings and photographs made, shadow puppets set loose on film, embroideries sewn and a radio programme broadcast. We travelled around the edges of the city with enquiring eyes and brought it all together in an installation ‘A Leeds Labyrinth’ at the Central Library in May 2013.
On each page of the Almanac is a story written by Matthew Bellwood, who in 2011 began a daily transmission via Twitter of snippets of overheard conversations, odd bits of local history, personal reflections and vignettes from the streets. As more stories were written, people responded, offering their own thoughts and stories in return. This ongoing microblog, @365LeedsStories, created a picture of the city – a sort of map of a particular space and time.
Since September 2013, A Quiet Word has been working with Moveable Feast and a team of artists to create further maps that trace aspects of the past and the present of our daily experience of living in Leeds. These maps have a range of forms. They bear little resemblance to the A-Z, or the tourist maps provided to guide visitors around the city, but offer psychic, geographic, sentimental, embodied, imaginary – and impossible journeys that may nevertheless be undertaken. We have also been thinking about the future, especially with the young people we have worked with, of primary school age and teenagers. We have considered what information might be needed and what constructive visions will sustain us as we go forward, collectively, into the next decades.
The origin of the word Almanac is debated – it could derive from the Greek ‘almenichiaka’, meaning calendar, with information about the movement of the stars and agricultural records, or possibly from Arabic ‘al-manakh’, referring to the climate and forecasting of the weather. The idea of presenting statistical information relevant to special interests along with a tabulated way to track time is ancient and enduring. Contemporary almanac publications cover a comprehensive range of subjects including sport, medicine, politics, farming, economics and show business. This is one designed to make space for you and your stories, as well as being a functioning diary for the coming year.
We hope to see you on 3 October …
Published 28/5/14 9:58AM
We are delighted to have received support from Leeds Inspired for our autumn 2014 project ‘Roseville’. This is a site specific performance piece celebrating the life and history of Roseville Road in Leeds. It’s a great story:
Roseville Road is at first sight one of those chaotic, nondescript, slightly run down inner city roads, which you only drive up or down to get to somewhere else. Most of the houses which used to line it have been demolished. The residential buildings have given way to car show rooms, self storage warehouses, wholesale outlets for the ragtrade and used furniture stores.
Nevertheless, if find yourself walking along either side of the wide road and have the time to really look at the buildings, you might be surprised. You might want to break your journey into the centre of the city, or back out to the suburbs – you might want to stay awhile.
Let’s say, we begin at the New Roscoe Pub, the venue for tribute bands which is in family ownership. We are greeted by Mein Host who tells us a little of the nearly famous musicians who have played there over the years.
We pass the KMA building which houses the specialists in doors and window frames, the dojo where it is possible to have a personal coaching session on a Sunday, by appointment only and a wholesale textiles outlet. All of these businesses are closed on Fridays, as if conspiring to keep this end of the street quiet that day.
Opposite is a large carpet warehouse with a colourful display of floor coverings in the window – you could almost imagine that these are sculptured into fabulous outfits. There are people making patterns with the offcuts on the pavement – they wave at us and continue with their work.
We turn left into the lane which leads to Berwin, tailors. The stones on the foundations of the long, low building attest to the founding father, son and nephew who laid them in 1935, Jacobson. The business has been operating as Berwins since the 50s. On the other side of the road, Bridget is watching the traffic on the pavement. She tells us that they have only recently had the business on Roseville Road – ‘only since 1985 ..’ she says. The business is owned by her father and it supplies Leeds market traders with sweaters, cardigans and casual tops. She has to stand outside on the pavement between 9.00 and 11.00 am, to try and stop cars parking outside, so that the delivery van can unload. The parking situation is so bad because people working at St James’ hospital don’t want to pay the parking charges up there, so they park for free on Roseville Road. They don’t realize people have to earn a living.
Josie at number 65 remembers what the road was like when there were houses on both sides, and a school. Her’s is the only row of houses left on the street now.
We walk into the quiet, clean temple of Samuel Taylor’s, the haberdashery and stationery wholesalers. It is cool and light inside. There is a group of older people quietly at work with scissors and card. As we leave, we are given an invitation to a wedding.
Back on the road, the buildings have narrow fronts and boarded up windows. We enter a whitewashed hallway and climb narrow stairs which take us to the first floor of what appears at first to be a tiny structure. A vast array of second hand furniture stretches over several thousand square metres. From the window overlooking the road, we can see right across to the Parkinson Building tower. Backlit in this window, a couple are arguing over the issue of whether to buy bunk beds or twin beds for their children. The children meanwhile are bouncing energetically on a double bed nearby.
A young man is being fitted for a morning suit in the window of the gentleman’s outfitters.
His bride walks toward him, up the street, on the arm of her father. Her dress appears to be constructed from carpet of all hues and patterns. Her veil nevertheless is gossamer and floats gently down the street behind her, the bridesmaids catching the hem before it gets tangled.
At the Chinese Restaurant a feast is served for us, the wedding guests. Music plays. A Dragon dances, and then moves off, into the distance.
Published 29/4/14 8:26AM
Please join us from 4 May at the Central Library in Leeds for a journey through a labyrinth. 365 Leeds Stories is a collaboration between Alison Andrews and Matthew Bellwood and our companies A Quiet Word and Moveable Feast. A Leeds Labyrinth is a collection of the work we have done with a wide range of people in the city from September 2013 – gathering stories and making maps of places important to us. These maps have been rendered in embrodieries, as shadow puppets, soundscapes, photographed, drawn as cartoons and presented in books.
We look forward to seeing you.
Published 27/10/13 7:43AM
Published 28/7/13 7:36AM
We have just had the great news that Arts Council England has agreed to support the project – so with Moveable Feast, Matthew’s company we will be working with 7 different group across Leeds to create maps of life in the city. The project will take place between September 2013 and June 2014, and we will be in residence at Leeds Central Library in February 2014, working towards a performance and installation to be launched on 1 March.
Published 9/6/13 12:02PM
We are really excited to be presenting (The story is not) Set in Stone at Slung Low’s space The HUB in June. We’d love to see you there …..
‘Mid way through the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wood where the straight path was lost. It is a hard thing to speak of, how wild, harsh and impenetrable that wood was, so that thinking of it recreates the fear. It is scarcely less bitter than death: but, in order to tell of the good that I found there, I must tell of the other things I saw there.’
Dante: The Inferno – Canto 1
Set in Stone is an exploration of the ways we use stories – to make sense of the journey of our lives, to imagine alternatives, to reinvent ourselves, past, present or future, to while away the time or to scare us out of apathy and into action.
How far back in the story do you need to go to have the possibility of taking a different path?
Matthew and Alison explore this and other questions in a performance which draws on the wit and wisdom of writers, film makers, folklorists and philosophers, ancient and modern. It is a conversation which started in a small library hidden away in the middle of a city somewhere in England – it is also a piece about that place: how is the city story told, who is telling it, where does the story come from and what does it say about us, individually and collectively?
We will also be in residence in Hunslet in the week of 10 June, gathering stories from people we meet – some of which may find their way into the show … Box office details can be found on Slung Low’s website – link on the right … go to ‘upcoming events HUB’!
Published 9/3/13 12:34PM
A Quiet Word’ and ‘Some Stories’ have joined forces again to explore the place of stories within our lives. In 2011 they created ‘The Book In My Head Is Now On the Page’ for The Leeds Library. This was a site specific performance piece for Light Night. The audience was welcomed to the library as the authors of nine different stories, written in nine different genres. Now, Alison Andrews and Matthew Bellwood are taking some of these stories with them to the Carriageworks, along with some other characters from myths, novels and films. They will be asking whether our life story is really set in stone, or whether we can make decisive changes.
Rather like Oedipus at the cross roads, they are wondering which way to go; how to avoid bringing destruction down upon themselves by making the wrong choice and taking the wrong road.
This is a show about stories and why we tell them. Do the tales we tell help us make sense of our lives, or do they stop us from moving forward?
Shows: Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th of March, 19:45pm
Tickets: £9 (£7 concessions)
Call: 0113 224 3801
Published 14/2/13 10:54AM
During the City Walk project in Summer 2012 as part of Ludus Festival, we made a new map of Leeds to help guide participants through the city. This map was made to suggest a way of thinking about the history of Leeds and about its future. We walked from Leeds University into the city centre and the walk took us past monuments and well known points of interest.
As a new project for 2012, and in collaboration with Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network, we are taking a look at the city from the point of view of people resident here, but who have no right to remain. What are the monuments and points of interests for someone who is seeking asyl
Over the next few months, we will be meeting people who are guests in Leeds and asking them to guide us through the city as they go about their daily life. We would like to make another map of Leeds as part of the process of walking through the city in this context.
One Planet Leeds works in partnership to support refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds. Press Gang works with exiled journalists and activists to encourage positive representation of asylum and refugee issues in the media. Find out more at www.pressgangleeds.blogspot.com
Published 24/6/12 2:50PM
As part of the City Walk, we are proud to announce that the Owls are on their way – not just the owls that you can see everyday as you take a walk around the city centre.
These are owls with attitude – they have made a new friend, and they are keen to for you to meet him too…
Then there is Tilly, who will be watching you, all they way along the route…
Published 20/3/12 10:52AM
A Quiet Word will be directing and co-ordinating a City Walk as part of Ludus Festival Leeds. This programme of international performing arts takes place between 25 June and 1 July at venues all across the City.
The artists and companies of the Yorkshire International Performing Arts Network are working together to create an event which will welcome visitors to the city, and perhaps show residents something new about where they live.
The Walk takes place on 26th, 28th, 29th between 16.30 and 18.15 and 30th June between 13.30 and 18.15. Tickets can be booked via the Ludus Festival website.
We are working with some wonderful artists and a team of talented performers from the Leeds community – plus a surprise visitor from the animal kingdom!
Please come and join us – and take part in re-looking at Leeds.