Theatre innovators Slung Low run a members club/performance space in the Leeds area of Holbeck and have launched a scheme to give every local child in Holbeck a free book.
The company is renowned for both its theatre work and the work it does with its local community in South Leeds. During the pandemic they have been operating a food bank, co-ordinating a cultural community college, and managing the country’s oldest working men’s club.
A part of their community work three of the Slung Low team spent a week at Holbeck’s Ingram Road Primary School reading their new book Emergency Story Penguin to the pupils ending the sessions by giving all 340 of them a copy.
Emergency Story Penguin follows Lady Grace Thompson and her crew on an adventure around the secret underground tunnels that connect every theatre where stories are stored and told.
“It was an absolute joy to take the book to the pupils at our local school, we all loved it,” says Ruth Middleton, Community Producer at Slung Low and one of the readers. “We do a lot of work with the school and when we discovered there were pupils who started at the school without books, we set about changing that. Now every one of those kids has at least one book.”
The company is asking bookworms to buy two copies for £12 and they will donate one of them to a child with ambitions to extend the scheme right across Leeds.
Artistic Director Alan Lane believes their hybrid of community activism and socially distanced productions is a model for theatre companies looking to redefine what they do and how they operate.
“There are kids in Leeds without books, without crayons – how can that be?” notes Alan. ““Every child should have a book and we’re determined that every kid in Holbeck will have one by Christmas.”
Emergency Story Penguin is on sale now at www.slunglow.org