20 July 2016

D & D North: Shall We Create A European Union Of Artists?

Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UP

West Yorkshire Playhouse

10:30 - 6

An invitation from James Brining, Artistic Director of West Yorkshire Playhouse

The referendum result was closer in Leeds than in any other city in the UK, with just over 2000 votes between Remain and Leave.

At West Yorkshire Playhouse, we strive to make theatre which is vital. We believe that art is the life-blood of a society; it provokes, enlivens, inspires and nourishes. We create work which reflects and investigates our city - its generous, unpretentious side, its utterly brilliant sense of humour, but also its complexities and challenges.

At this point in our nation's history, we're passionately committed to looking outwards, to learning from our counterparts in Europe and beyond, and to providing a stage for artists, regardless of where they come from. We are proud to be the UK's first Theatre of Sanctuary - a place of safety, hospitality and support for refugees and asylum seekers.

Our building opened in 1990 with one of the biggest theatre foyers in the country. This open, democratic space provides a place for many different people - from local artists on laptops to pensioners in knitting groups, and from slam poets to brass bands. For me, the architecture of our building reflects our desire to support and stimulate our local creative community, to be a forum for debate both in our foyer and on our stages and to provide a safe space for brilliant artists to create work that responds to the rapidly evolving and increasingly polarised world outside the four walls of the Playhouse.

Please join us to continue that debate and, to echo Phelim's final sentiment, let's find a way through this together.

An invitation from Phelim McDermott, co-Artistic Director, Improbable:

A couple of days ago as the current crisis unfolded I posted a question on Facebook. “Shall We create a European Union of Artists?”

It was posted on an impulse and got a big response. It was prompted by the feeling that whatever was to happen in the coming months as an artist I did not want to do nothing! I do not want to lose connection with the incredible network of European artists, producers and collaborators I have worked with in Europe over the years. If barriers are to go up then I want to connect now. I was already mourning the work that might be lost in this still unfinished story. I was already worrying about how the artistic community might be impoverished for younger artists and my own children. I also want to reach out to all the Europeans who are working here in the Arts and may be feeling confused or isolated at the moment.

I don’t really know what my initial question means. You might agree or disagree with it but it’s a useful focus and umbrella theme for lots of other questions. It’s a way to bring people together to work on all the concerns, questions and ideas we might be having about what our next steps are. Please bring all your issues whatever your feelings about the outcome of the referendum.

Maybe you are angry. Maybe you have some great ideas about how we proceed. Maybe you need support about your current situation here in the UK. Maybe you think Leave is a good idea. Maybe you are concerned about the rise in racist incidents that are being reported. Maybe you are simply fed up of just interacting on social media and need deeper dialogue. Times are chaotic and our response needs to be collaborative and imaginative.

Please come to this opportunity for artists and those who work and support the arts to do what we do best: Envision, collaborate and take action together about what we can do next. Let’s ask some important questions, share information about how we proceed and make our next steps for what the arts can do post the referendum.

We can find a way through this together.

Booking for this event has now closed.