9 WAYS TO EXPERIENCE TRANSFORM 21-22
Wed 02 Mar 2022
The final wave of Transform 21-22 is approaching! We’re inviting audiences from across Leeds and beyond to rediscover and explore the city and to connect with bold, brave, vivid and socially conscious performance by powerful artists from across the globe.
We’ve been getting lots of questions about what we would recommend seeing and when. There are all kinds of ways to experience the final wave of the festival, whether there’s one show you’re desperate to see or you’re curious enough to give everything a try. We’ve put together our top 9 recommended ways to experience Transform 21-22, specially put together with the bold and the curious in mind!
We met the extraordinary MEXA in São Paulo back in March 2020 just before the world completely changed. We knew we had to introduce this mesmerising activist collective to Transform audiences as soon as possible. We recommend getting the snacks in at home to watch their online performance ‘The more you rehearse, the worse it gets’ at 7pm on Wed 9 March. Wherever you are in the world, you’ll be able to watch two distinctive but interconnected films, whilst connecting online with this amazing collective as you watch.
Head over to our absolute favourite haunt, Outlaws Yacht Club, for a craft beer or cocktail from 3pm. You’ll join Transform 21-22 artists and team for an informal conversation about the future of festivals and get an insight into festival projects. The conversation will be wrapped up by 5pm, so there’s enough time to grab a bite to eat before the show. We’d recommend the fantastic Eat Your Greens (fresh organic dishes) Safran (traditional Iranian grills) or Albaba (delicious and quick Lebanese food) which are all a stroll from Outlaws. Afterwards, take a short walk to Leeds Playhouse and catch the opening performance of ‘The History of Korean Western Theatre’ by Jaha Koo. This documentary performance weaves together personal stories with political perspective and is visually stunning.
Artist Lua Bairstow has been working on the ‘The Sound Grief Project’ in the lead-up to Transform 21-22. Join Lua for an informal listening party at the Bramall Rock Void at Leeds Playhouse at 7pm on Wed 16 March. Sharing the impact on the body and brain of the sudden impact of grief, this early sharing will stimulate reflection and discussion. Either before or after, you might also like to wonder over to CLAY: Centre for Live Art Yorkshire to see ‘The Ofrenda’ an installation that features stories and photographs of lost loved ones, contributed by people across the city and beyond. Alternatively, you can visit ‘The Ofrenda’ at its home on regent street, any time between now and 19 March.
Your Friday 18 March is sorted with two extraordinary high energy performances. First head over to Northern Ballet for ‘Quartiers Libres’ by Nadia Beugré. You’ll be surrounded by breathless and startling energy as you move with the performer and the action unfolds around you. After the show, head directly to CLAY: Centre for Live Art Yorkshire where you’ll also be able to catch ‘JUMBIE’ by Jamal Gerald. Resurrecting a dance rooted in the culture of Montserrat, this sensual and stimulating experience will be part performance, party dance party, and anything could happen. If you prefer to take more of a breather between shows, you can also see these performances on different nights.
‘FORGE’ explores who memorials are for, and what happens to places where traumatic events take place. At Testbed in Leeds, artist Rachel Mars will be welding a steel replica of the ‘welcome’ gate from the Dachau concentration camp. Accompanied by a soundscape by Dinah Mullen, you will be able to enter Tested and witness Rachel welding the gate. Each day of the installation, a short walk away at The Tetley Rachel and her collaborators will gather together artists, thinkers and speakers to discuss themes of memorial, grief and social responsibility. Each discussion will focus on a different topic and provide an intimate space to share food and conversation. The installation and long table discussions have limited capacity, so advance booking is essential. ‘FORGE’ runs from Thu 31-Sat 2 April, but if you experience it on Thu 31 March you will also be able to pop into the second ‘Festivals of the Future’ chat at Outlaws Yacht Club before or after!
The brilliant Sable Radio have specially curated an inclusive club experience for Transform 21-22. Join them for a night of hedonism and healing, alongside stunning performers and DJ’s from Leeds and beyond. The full line-up and venue will be announced soon, but in the mean-time get the date for ‘A Soft Rapture’ in your diary.
‘A Party For Our Times’ is set to be an audacious night of adventure and revelry at The Holbeck, the oldest working men’s club in England. We’ve invited trailblazing performers, artists and DJ’s to respond to this iconic venue and will be unveiling pop-up performances, interventions, and more. Get ready to dust off your best moves and head on to the dance floor. The full line-up will also be announced soon but tickets for this one are going quickly so grab yours now.
Exploring a choreography of borders in which hip-hop culture, colonial tales, native practices and mysticism intertwine, Amanda Piña’s highly visual performance is a homage to the power and resilience of those whose bodies carry borders, to those who dare to cross. Presented on the top floor of the Victoria Gate multi-storey car park, this visual, hypnotic dance is performed by a large ensemble. ‘Frontera / Border’ is set to be an unforgettable experience to culminate Transform 21-22.
This extended festival model is a different way of working for Transform. Alongside the performances and events on offer we’ve hosted artists from Iceland, the USA and Brazil who have been working with communities across Leeds and sparking exciting new collaborations which we hope to unveil as part of our next festival in October 2023. If you can’t make it to Leeds or to the performances, you might want to engage with the Thinking section on our website which documents our journey to create Transform 21-22. We’ll also be releasing some short documentaries later in the Spring which you can watch from home, stay tuned for details!