Our launch event on August 29th was hosted by the brilliant theatre company Slung Low at the UK’s oldest working men’s club, The Holbeck. It was a festive opportunity for around 100 guests from local community groups and arts organisations to get to know more about the Arts Together citywide arts engagement project and celebrate en masse.
Madeleine Thorne from Opera North kicked off the launch by introducing the project and unveiling the brand-new Arts Together website. Thanda Gumede, accompanied by pianist Dave Evans, then sang us songs from the People’s Lullabies project. Thanda’s energy was contagious and the audience heartily sang along. BIASAN and Slung Low then introduced their work and showed a film each.
Arts doctors Alison and Liz looked after guests throughout the event and between conversations, we were encouraged to get creative: Hannah from Little London Arts led a bunting-making workshop whilst Mo from BIASAN invited us to explore our art memories by adding visual contributions to an interactive wall.
The bar wasn’t just for mingling or grabbing drinks and nibbles: Artist Rachel Rea showcased her interactive installation made from single use plastic with a LED-system reacting to sounds.
Later in the afternoon, Theatre company Blah Blah Blah, the DJ School and Northern Ballet presented their work through talks and films. Next, we were treated to a performance by soprano Bibi Heal accompanied by Annette Saunders. Bibi was wonderful at interacting with the audience. She sang an excerpt from La bohème alongside a selection of other songs inspired by bohemian Paris.
We would like to thank those of you who came to take part and all our partners who contributed to this grand launch! Special thanks to Slung Low for merrily hosting us, to Carol Ann, Adam and Howard from the Bridge for volunteering on the day and to the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for their generous support.
Photo credit: Tom Arber