Thursday, 19 June 2014

Drama group’s murder mystery debuts at museum

Caption: The cast of Posies for the Paupers get ready to perform at the Thackray Medical Museum.

Members of a popular drama group for disabled people took a trip into the past to perform their own museum murder mystery.

The Osmondthorpe Hub drama group’s new play Posies for the Paupers debuted at the Thackray Medical museum on Wednesday.

Set in the murky world of England’s Victorian workhouses, the play looks at how issues like disability and poverty have changed since the 1800s.

Wednesday’s debut was the culmination of months of preparation by the cast, who work alongside the Workers Education Association at the Osmondthorpe Hub in east Leeds.

David Fletcher, senior support worker at the Osmondthorpe Hub, said:

“Our drama group has been popular for a number of years now and the cast have really thrown themselves into this production.

“The atmosphere of the Thackray Medical Museum has given this production that bit of added authenticity which has made it extra special.

“But as well as putting on a great show, this group is all about breaking down some of the barriers that disabled people can face and showing that, with the right support and opportunities, they can accomplish anything.”

Posies for the Paupers was performed by a cast of 13, with actors ranging from those in their 20s up to people in their 60s.

Rehearsing once a week since last September, the production has used costumes loaned from the West Yorkshire Playhouse along with some homemade props.

The new play follows last year’s successful production of chilling ghost story Sarkless Kitty, which the group performed at the Rydale Folk Museum in North Yorkshire.

The drama group is one of a range of rehabilitation projects and workshops which are run at Osmondthorpe Hub.

Part of Leeds City Council’s adult social care, the centre has been supporting the victims of serious illnesses or accidents for almost 25 years.

Working with around 120 adults with a broad spectrum of physical or sensory impairments, staff support those attending to get involved in other opportunities outside the centre.

Last year the centre won a National Workers' Educational Association (WEA) award to recognise the difference they have made to people in the local community.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“This imaginative production is just one example of the superb work taking place at Osmondthorpe to break down barriers and involve people with disabilities in projects which give them a chance to use their creativity.

“Projects like this work wonders in not only boosting the confidence of those taking part, but also in challenging some of the misconceptions about the things people with disabilities can accomplish.”

Posies for the Paupers will also be performed at the Osmondthorpe Hub on Wednesday, June 25.


For more information, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937

Budding Banksys needed for Tour de France mural

Young people have a chance to win a grandstand view of the Tour de France Grand Départ, by demonstrating their artistic flair on a giant graffiti wall in Leeds.

To celebrate the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014 starting in the city, Leeds City Council’s Breeze team have organised the ‘Hit the Wall’ project which will see a giant graffiti wall created adjacent to the West Yorkshire Playhouse - on the route the cyclists will take on Saturday 5 July.

As part of the project young people aged 11 and over are being asked to come along to share their artistic ideas for the wall at workshops being held as part of The Fly Market at Leeds Corn Exchange on Saturday 21 June between 1pm and 5pm.

The best ideas at the Fly Market will go into a draw for five pairs of tickets for seats in the grandstand on the start line of the historic race. There will also be spot prizes on the day of graffiti art materials to inspire the youngsters to continue creating great art work.

To help focus the young people’s ideas and shape their contribution to the whole work, there are a number of themes which the youngsters will be asked to focus on:
• Speed
• Power
• Endurance
• Commitment

There will be workshop artists on hand to help the young people transfer their ideas on to canvas.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said:
“This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something amazing. I would encourage everyone to get creative and see what a wonderful piece of art we can create to celebrate the world’s largest annual sporting event coming to our city.

“The Tour de France theme will also enable the young people to consider the commitment and dedication it takes to be a top class athlete like the cyclists coming to Leeds next month.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children and families said:
“We have loads of talented young people in Leeds so this project will be a great opportunity to showcase their creativity and inspire other young people. As part of our pledge to be a child friendly city, we want our children and young people to raise their aspirations and have the opportunity to experience fantastic events like this.”

For further information about project please see:

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

A French flavour set to light up Leeds Art Gallery

Picture credit: Alfred Sisley (1840-1899), Les Champs 1874, oil paint on canvas. © Leeds Museums and Galleries.

With the arrival of the Grand Départ in Leeds just around the corner, the very best of French art from the permanent collection of a popular city gallery is to be showcased later this week as part of the special exhibition, Cross Currents; French Art from the Leeds Collection.

Focusing on the allure, excitement and positive impact that French art has had both on British artists and Yorkshire-based collectors, the display at Leeds Art Gallery is set to open on 21 June 2014.

Included in the exhibition are acquisitions from the early days of the Gallery and gifts from local private collectors when the taste was for Barbizon and the spirit of the outdoors. The pioneering efforts of former Gallery director Phillip Hendy (1934 – 1945) who brought paintings of modern life by post-impressionists Derain, Vuillard and Bonnard into the Leeds collection are also featured, along with works by Doré, Courbet, Lucien Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Henri Fantin-Latour.

In what also promises to be something not to be missed, a new acquisition of a previously unseen bronze by Edgar Degas known as the ‘Portrait de femme, tête appuyée sur la main gauche’ (Portrait of a Woman: Head Resting on One Hand) that was given in lieu of tax from the estate of notable British painter Lucien Freud, is set to be exhibited in a supplementary display that opens on the 28th June.

This display will bring to the fore a wide range of significant work from French artists that currently reside in Leeds Art Gallery’s considerable collection.

To find out more about this collection display which will close in summer 2015, please see

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"With the Grand Départ arriving in our city on the 5 July, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to showcase the significant French art that currently resides in Leeds Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

"There is really so much to see, and it is exciting that amongst the modern British painting and sculpture that the gallery is justly known for, there’s also a great collection of French art, which the recent arrival of the exquisite bronze by Degas makes all the richer."

Notes to editors:

1. Degas ‘Portrait of a Woman’ was accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government from the estate of Lucian Freud and allocated to Leeds Art Gallery in 2013.

2. Also, currently on display is ‘Parallel Lives’ an exhibition exploring the work and lives of the artists Claude Cahun and Marlow Moss, both of whom have connections to Paris. The display of Marlow Moss presents paintings, reliefs and sculptures drawn from collections in the UK and Europe that are primarily concerned with an interrogation of space, movement and light. Moss lived and worked between Paris and Cornwall for much of her life. Claude Cahun’s riveting photographic self-portraits show her acting out diverse identities both male and female in scenes that range from the starkly minimal to the elaborately staged. An avid participant in the cultural avant-garde of Paris in the 1920s and 30s mingling with many of the leading artists of her day, Cahun eventually moved to Jersey, in the Channel Islands where she was imprisoned during Nazi occupation.

3. Described as ‘Probably the best collection of twentieth century British art outside London’ (John Russell Taylor, The Times) Leeds Art Gallery is a lively gallery in the heart of Leeds on The Headrow in Leeds' Cultural Quarter. Offering displays of Leeds' stunning collections as well as a dynamic programme of changing exhibitions, the Gallery is an innovative and exciting place to visit. At Leeds Art Gallery you can see a rich variety of art on display from Leeds’ impressive collections, to nationally acclaimed prints, watercolours, paintings, sculptures, photography, and contemporary art.

Leeds Art Gallery
The Headrow
West Yorkshire
0113 247 8256

Free admission
Opening Times
Monday & Tuesday 10am – 5pm
Wednesday 12pm – 5pm
Thursday to Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 1pm – 5pm
Closed on Bank Holidays

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578