A veritable feast of theatre, performance and events arrives at West Yorkshire Playhouse from the 27-30 March in the shape of Transform 14, the fourth annual Transform Festival. This year everything takes place over one high impact weekend, as Transform explodes into every nook and cranny of the Playhouse and beyond.
Continuing to make Leeds a home for imaginative collaboration and experiment, the Playhouse is commissioning and producing new work as well as hosting some of the UKs most innovative artists as guest performers. Transform also offers a snapshot of tomorrow’s performance today in a unique series of works in progress each developed at the Playhouse, and provides a platform for artist residencies, participatory events, discussion and celebration. As part of this year’s festival the Playhouse is working closely with local artists Selina Thompson and Hannah Bruce & Company to present two brand-new pieces of work, and continues an on-going collaboration with Chris Goode & Company who return to Transform following Open House in 2011 and ‘9’ in 2012. Alongside this home-grown work, bold artists and theatre makers such as Inua Ellams, Made In China, Uninvited Guests, Third Angel and resident company Unlimited Theatre present and perform as part of the festival. On the now infamous Saturday night of Transform, internationally renowned and self-titled ‘low-rent Liberace’ Scottee co-presents The Transform Variety Night featuring an array of the world’s greatest variety acts.
Performances in the Transform 14 festival include:
It Burns It All Clean (Various times 27 – 30 March)
Commissioned by West Yorkshire Playhouse in association with Fierce Festival (Birmingham), Leeds based artist Selina Thompson presents It Burns It All Clean, a performance in a secret Leeds location. Guided by hosts from the Playhouse you’re invited to play your part in the game show of the century. Fuelled by fakery and frustration this is a journey into the unemployment system – a very modern hell, and a performance about our minds and our societies unravelling.
Selina Thompson is performance artist and theatre maker based in Leeds. Her recent work includes Dark and Lovely, a week-long installation and series of performances in Chapel Town, Leeds, exploring afro hair: its history, its connotations and what it means to be young, black and British today (presented this February in association East Street Arts and Leeds Inspired). Her first solo show Chewing the Fat, was developed in 2013, and will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on a national tour this autumn.
The Claim (Various times 28 – 30 March)
York and London based Hannah Bruce & Company create events that respond to specific places. Using the latest in digital technology they immerse audiences in unique performance journeys. Commissioned by West Yorkshire Playhouse in association with Northern School of Contemporary Dance The Claim is an atmospheric encounter with West Yorkshire Playhouse’s hidden spaces, uncover its deepest secrets and find out what lies behind closed doors. Glimpse the subterranean depths of the theatre; wrap yourself in bricks and mortar; and stake your claim to a place of your own imagining.
Hannah Bruce & Company is fast becoming an emerging force in the performance world. Recent work has been shortlisted for the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, and Northern Stage’s Title Pending. The company featured in a mini-festival of innovative theatre co-produced by The Barbican, Create and Shoreditch Town Hall, and has created work for Wilton’s Music Hall and Darlington’s Victorian Covered Market. They are currently making work for Hoxton Hall and Infecting the City, a public art festival in Cape Town, South Africa.
Transform Variety Night (30th March 9pm – late)
For one special night Scottee takes over the Playhouse’s Courtyard Theatre with the Transform Variety Night presenting a line-up of some of the world’s most incredible variety performers. Joining Scottee and making a welcome return to the Playhouse are 21st century cabaret stars like no other Bourgeouis & Maurice, internationally renowned aerial artist Empress Stah, hula hoop master and comedic genius Jess Love, infamous hanky lady Ursula Martinez, the Winner of Baghdads got Talent alongside Newcastle’s new wave show girl Ginger Johnson , and Wendy Watts performing magic like you will have never seen before.
Scottee is a 28-year-old performer, director, artist, broadcaster and writer from Kentish Town, North London. He is a regular contributor for BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Huffington Post and i-D magazine. He is currently an associate artist at Olivier award winning company Duckie and the iconic Roundhouse.
For more details and the full Transform programme visit The West Yorkshire Playhouse’s website at wyp.org.uk.
Transform is at The West Yorkshire Playhouse from 27th-30th March. Tickets can be reserved online at wyp.org.uk or call box office on 0113 213 7700.