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A group of eight pupils from Parklands Girls’ High School in Seacroft are developing a Find Your Talent supported dance performance which will represent Leeds at the prestigious Share Your Talent  arts showcase at the Southbank Centre in London on 22nd of July.

The performance is the result of a collaboration by Phoenix Dance Theatre and Space2 – an organisation which uses the arts to work with disadvantaged communities in Leeds.

All the girls are taking part in a five-day dance workshop during half term  working alongside ten members of the Phoenix Youth Academy, and supported by Phoenix Artistic Director Sharon Watson, a former Parklands pupil, and choreographer Gary Clarke. 

The performance will be part of Firebird, a massive dance and arts community event that is being developed to celebrate Phoenix Dance Theatre’s 30th Anniversary in 2011 and the cultural Olympiad in 2012.  

Emma Tregidden, Creative Director of Space2, believes that this is a fantastic opportunity for the girls:

“They not only get the chance to work alongside professional dancers and choreographers, but they will also represent their city at a really prestigious event in London” she said.  “The girls will be ambassadors for the larger Firebird project which we are currently developing in time for Phoenix’s 30th Anniversary in 2011.”

As part of the workshop at the school, the pupils will be supported by Leeds Metropolitan University graphic design students who have created a film to act as a backdrop to the performance.  Music is being specially composed by Leeds-based singer and song writer Christella Litras.

The performance will also be showcased at the Seacroft Expressions Festival in Leeds in September as part of Parklands Girls High School’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Three groups of young people have been meeting regularly in Seacroft Manston, Morley and Inner North West to debate, discuss and make decisions regarding cultural opportunities in Leeds.

Find Your Talent is supporting three groups of young people to become cultural ambassadors for the city.  Each group works in different ways but shares the same aim: to have a young people’s voice in the city’s arts and culture.  The East Leeds group have enjoyed singing, guitar and steel pans at East Leeds Music Centre, had backstage tours of The Carriageworks and West Yorkshire Playhouse and have seen a performance of The Secret Garden. Many had never been to the theatre before.

During the Easter holidays, the three groups came together to meet one another and create a job description for their role as arts ambassador. 

Working alongside FYT and various cultural organisations (including West Yorkshire Playhouse, Carriage Works, and Libraries, Arts & Heritage) the budding arts critics – known as ‘arts ambassadors’ – have shared their ideas and opinions to ensure decision-makers at the local council take into account their views on culture.

The ambassador groups are being given exciting opportunities that will shape and develop their skills in communication, creativity and positive engagement with the arts. Some of these include film, music and drama/theatre visits.

Each participating school will eventually elect its own ‘Arts Ambassador’ for their council who will represent arts and culture at the school. The outcomes from the ambassador groups is helping to shape new directions and positive approaches towards young people in the arts in Leeds – from actual activities through to policy making (such as CYPP).

White Rose Learning Centre have worked in partnership with Find Your Talent to deliver the Performing for Success Arts Award in the Morley area of Leeds.   

The project is currently in its fourth term and has worked with a new batch of pupils each term from Year 6 – 9 at Drighlington and Fountain Primary Schools. Learners have been encouraged to explore the arts and experience a variety of art forms through performance.  

 

Each term has focused on one art form – last year the schools worked with a drama tutor to rehearse and perform an original piece at Leeds Grand Theatre. The pupils also had backstage tours of the West Yorkshire Playhouse. The following term, year 6 pupils worked with DAZL dance facilitators to choreograph a dance piece.

 

This term Performing for Success has worked with the singer/songwriter Danny Gough to write and perform original lyrics which were recorded onto a CD. Pupils were also given backstage tours of Leeds’ historic venues and attended a performance of VOICES: The Forty Part Motet by Janet Cardiff at the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds.  

 

As part of the Gifted and Talented National Strategy year 7 pupils (who already have an interest and talent in music) are also working with a musician to compose an original piece which will be performed at a forthcoming celebration event at the White Rose Shopping Centre.

 

Next term the project goes across the city to be replicated out in two other learning centres where the focus will be on radio production, poetry and martial arts; all of which will be accredited through the Arts Award scheme.  

Seacroft Manston’s Junk Percussion are currently rehearsing in preparation for a series of performances at at Bradford Mela, Seacroft Gala and the Expression Arts Festival in the summer months.

This exciting project (run in conjunction with Connect Housing, Chango Music and Find Your Talent) brings together young people of different ages from all across East Leeds to create a loud, vibrant ‘stomp style’ orchestra.

16 pupils from 5 different high schools and 2 primaries in the East Leeds area have rehearsed on Tuesday evenings to make, thump and dance around old trays, barrels, teapots and saucepans.  The result?  The amazing and awesome Seacroft Junk Percussion Orchestra. 

The sessions have involved young people in a range of activities including basic drumming skills and rhythms, art and craft (making instruments and costumes), performance, dance and circus skills.

Local MC Testament (from the Leeds based hiphop act Homecut) has also run beatboxing sessions with the group. Homecut have recentlycollaborated with Corinne Bailey Rae, Soweto Kinch, US rap legend J-Live, Andreya Triana and the Cinematic Orchestra. Also a member of Schlomo and the Vocal Orchestra, Testament shared his skills with the junk band to help turn their vocal chords into instruments, which will then feature in this summer’s performances.

Seacroft Junk Percussion Orchestra will perform at Bradford Mela on June 12th and 13th, Seacroft Gala on July 3rd and shall play a final show at Seacroft’s Expression Arts Festival on September 25th.

This month the first Essentially Dance training workshops have taken place in the Seacroft Manston locality.

Supported by Find Your Talent the workshops will equip teachers with the skills to teach ballroom dancing in their own schools – and are part of the National Curriculum Ballroom and Latin American dance resource for Key Stage 1 to 5.

This sustainable approach to professional development means that new knowledge and skills can be shared and embedded within the school’s curriculum and extended services.

The Leeds workshops are taught by Dale Bennett – twin brother of Darren Bennett, star of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.  Due to the success of the hit TV show there has been a huge resurgence of interest in ballroom dancing; its popularity extends to family learning as dancing can be experienced and enjoyed by all age groups.

Teachers from local primary schools including St Theresa’s, Crossgates, Winmoor St Paul’s C of E, Parklands, Methley, Beechwood , Temple Newsam House, and Sharp Lane were involved alongside participants from Parklands Girls High.

With courses ranging from beginners, intermediate and advanced the first workshops covered the beginners level  in Cha-Cha-Cha, Jive and Waltz.

By undertaking training within the Essentially Dance workshop programmes the schools will improve young people’s confidence, social skills, self esteem, fitness and health – and hope to enhance community involvement and engagement within the Seacroft Manston areas.

Find Your Talent and ArtForms, Education Leeds are leading a two year project with Seacroft Manston schools, looking at what arts are on offer in the classroom and whether there is fair and equitable provision across the area.  Over the next two years, with schools driving the agenda, new arts activities for pupils and training for staff will be commissioned.  The ultimate aim is to create a model cultural offer: an ideal arts & cultural experience from the point of view of a child as they move through school life.

To celebrate the start of the project, each school has been able to buy in two days’ of an artist’s time to create a project for Shine week. The response is growing.  Schools are keen to broaden provision and to explore the idea of a creative curriculum. St Theresa’s Primary in Manston has just become a Change school with Creative Partnerships.  Their headteacher has a commitment to, and clear vision of, the role arts and creativity can play in raising aspirations and standards. 

On June 5th the whole staff enjoyed an intensive creative day at Temple Newsam (pictured).  Artforms arranged for visual artist, Lou Sumray, radio practitioner, Adrian Sinclair from East Leeds FM, and Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah to lead sessions with teachers.  East Leeds FM broadcast from their caravan, parked outside the magnificent Temple Newsam House.  The whole experience was a huge success, and given even more impact thanks to the fantastic surroundings.

LS7 Results

Radiowaves will be working with LS7 Results Carnival Group  to create a new young people’s culture blog between Summer 2009 and Spring 2010. The online channel is being developed for young people to report on events, music, art and performance in the city. Over the next couple of months the group hopes to cover events including Leeds West Indian Carnival and Breeze On Tour. Once the blog is up and running there will be further Find Your Talent opportunities for other groups to take part and become part of the reporting team.

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The first exciting project off the starting block for Seacroft Manston is the creation of East Leeds Youth Theatre, sister to those established in the South and North West. Development worker, Sara Allkins is already touring school assemblies and drama groups, ready to launch junior and senior theatres later in the summer.  They will run from Parklands Primary on Thursday evenings.

For more information about this opportunity contact Sara at youththeatresleeds@yahoo.co.uk

mapping

Over 300 young people and families participated in the Inner North West Fun Day on 26 May and got involved in a whole host of creative activities including break dancing, DJ/MC, giant dragon making, story telling, drama, robotics and animation.

The event was also a great opportunity for consultation with young people so we set up a FYT Diary Room complete with a large scale map of the area.  It meant that participants could give us feedback on the day as well as mapping out the range of activities that are locally on offer.

As part of the consultation we asked young people to tell us about their creative talents and its safe to say that the Inner North West isn’t short of talented drummers, key board players, band members, dancers, singers, artists, performers and collage makers. They also knew that they wanted to see more opportunities for long term, regular, weekend activities.

The Inner NW will be using the evaluation material to develop cultural opportunities for children, young people and their families.

first floor

FYT popped along to First Floor to meet some of the young people using the space and to hear what they think about it. First Floor is West Yorkshire Playhouse’s new creative place where 12-19 year olds can take part in art, music and performing arts activities. During the visit, we met some enthusiastic and vibrant young people participating in a drama session as part of their Breeze Arts Foundation Course. The group are all working towards Arts Awards as part of their creative development.

It was fantastic to see so much talent and creativity in the room and FYT are looking forward to hearing about the group’s next steps. First Floor offers weekend drop-in sessions for young people in different artforms throughout the year.

Please contact First Floor for further information:
T: 07595 082045
firstfloor@wyp.org.uk
www.wyp.org.uk

What was FYT?

Find Your Talent was a national programme to explore new ways of opening up cultural and creative opportunities to young people. Leeds was one of the ten FYT Pathfinders in England.

The programme was led by Leeds City Council and Education Leeds, working closely together and with the city's cultural and community sectors to find ways for more young people to participate in the cultural life of the city.

FYT was funded to operate between 2008-2011 but its legacy in Leeds continues through activities under the Breeze banner, as well as other initiatives.