Week one at Transform 23

Tue 17 Oct 2023

‘Powerful, moving, exceptional’ – week one of Transform 23 awed audiences across Leeds.

But don’t just take our word for it – we’re excited to share press and audience feedback from across the first week, alongside our stunning photography!

In an article for The Guardian, Catherine Love wrote:

‘International festivals can easily feel detached from their host city. In bringing together artists from all over the world, the local gets lost… But at Transform, the character of Leeds is baked into the programme.’

Read our round up:

Young performers on stage
SECRETS by Icelandic artist Ásrún Magnúsdóttir brought together an incredible collective of young, Leeds-based performers.
Young performers
Photos: JMA Photography

'Intimate, energetic, honest'

Amusing, confusing and occasionally dark, Ásrún Magnúsdóttir’s SECRETS emerged from hundreds of real-life secrets submitted by young people in Leeds and Reykjavík.

‘The performance is a brilliant showcase of local talent, giving a platform to a multiskilled cast of musicians, singers and spoken-word artists who propel the show with their charisma. Though the secrets may often be dark, the experience itself is joyous.’

– The Guardian

A DJ with light illuminating a huge church space
Desire Marea and two DJs in the stunning interior of Left Bank Leeds.
Desire Marea sings on stage
Photos: JMA Photography

'Exciting, stimulating, powerful'

With soaring vocals and an incredible light show, ‘ancestral star’ Desire Marea illuminated Left Bank Leeds’ stunning building.

Desire spoke to The Quietus ahead of the performance about ‘how reconnecting with his Zulu heritage and becoming a spiritual healer helped him regain his musical identity.’

Characters dance on a red lit stage with a big screen behind
A cast of characters in costumes from pop culture took to the stage to reflect on grief.
Characters dance on a green lit stage
Photos: JMA Photography

'Surprising, subversive, emotional'

Transform’s international co-commission OH DEER! at Leeds Playhouse received a four-star review in The Guardian:

Through a ‘delicate, simple and playful approach, APHIDS make room for a real reckoning with what grief means.’

People gather around an installation at The Light shopping centre in Leeds
Paul Ramírez Jonas' artwork Public Trust invited you to make a promise.
A person arranges letters on a large marquee board
Photos: JMA Photography

'Moving, motivating, inspiring'

Public Trust in The Light was a collaboration with Light Night that invited the people of Leeds to make a promise for passers-by to bear witness to.

This beautiful installation was seen by nearly 10,000 people across four days, with over 220 promises made and displayed.

Week one at Transform 23
Cherish Menzo's DARKMATTER was presented to a full house at Leeds School of Art, Leeds Beckett University
Week one at Transform 23
Photos: Bas de Brouwer

'Raw, spooky, hot'

Our sold out show DARKMATTER stunned a full house at Leeds School of Art, Leeds Beckett University on Saturday night.

Did you join us for Transform 23′s first week?

Tell us what you thought in our survey here and make sure you book tickets now for week two!