Leeds Playhouse have announced an extension to their Creative Engagement programme aimed at engaging with people who might feel an increased sense of isolation or vulnerability during the current lockdown.
The new Playhouse Connect programme builds on work already carried out and aims to address four specific areas which are particularly critical in the current circumstances:
• Isolation and Loneliness
• Mental Health and Wellbeing
• Reconnection and Recovery
• Skills and Training for Young People
All activities included in the programme are free and aimed at boosting creativity and forging meaningful social connections across the region.
The pioneering Playhouse Connect programme – recently recognised in The Stage’s Top 100 theatre awards – began at the start of the first lockdown and has already connected with more than 12,000 people through more than 30 projects.
In response to the extended national lockdown and the pressure it’s placing on communities the Playhouse is now working with partners across the Leeds City Region on a collection of new and innovative projects.
These aim to connect diverse communities, promote creativity to boost mental and physical wellbeing, arm people with new skills, and give everyone the opportunity to express themselves at a time when many are feeling disconnected and alone.
With more announcements to follow in the coming weeks, new projects include:
• Reasons to be Hopeful – 100 people from two generations will collaborate with 10 local artists via post, phone, zoom and email to forge new creative connections and create a multi-media tapestry for the people of Leeds, filled with reasons to be hopeful.
• Can You Hear Me? – A weekly invitation to young people across the city to respond to voice notes left by award-winning industry professionals including playwright, rapper and beatboxer Testament, actor Lladel Bryant and comedian Maisie Adam. These personalised positive audio messages of solidarity, reflection and connection will generate responses from young people, enabling them to share their experiences.
• Playhouse Young Leaders – 12 young people will receive professional training in arts leadership to help them realise their potential as part of the Playhouse’s aim to help support training and job opportunities in the Leeds region.
“A fierce commitment to engaging people who are often marginalised or experience barriers to engagement is part of our DNA,” says Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining.
“Our Playhouse Conn project is a brilliant and hugely important creative response to the incredibly difficult circumstances in which many in our community find themselves. This latest iteration is characterised not just by a strong desire to support and sustain people emotionally and spiritually but also to nourish their creativity and empower them through connection and providing positive outcomes and hope.”
For more information on the current projects available and additional projects to come including how to book please visit the Leeds Playhouse website https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk/