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Overworlds & Underworlds

Last Thursday the dark early evening rain and wind intensified the atmosphere of suspense and expectation around the Leeds Town Hall Crypt, as the first set of people came along to find out more about OverWorlds & UnderWorlds, the first major public-arts project by Leeds Canvas, planned for next year.

With the Quay Brothers’ exhibition, Dormitorium, the final destination, groups of people set off on separate journeys throughout the overworld and underworld of the Town Hall, from the Clock Tower with its view high above the cityscape, to the dark holding cells deep in the belly of the building.

This was the first opportunity for Leeds Canvas to reveal some detail about the free public event and installation planned for next May, an event over three days from 18-20th May that will transform public spaces and create unforgettable experiences using music, art, dance, light and film.

It was a chance to encourage people to connect the work the celebrated film makers have done on a small scale, by seeing their weird and wonderful set boxes in the Dormitorium exhibition, and seed an idea of what they might create on a large scale for the city of Leeds next year.

The artists have been inspired by Leeds’ heritage, its architecture and its relationship with water and have chosen The Dark Arches, Granary Wharf as the central location to OverWorlds & UnderWorlds. Other artists and arts organisations from the Yorkshire region will be commissioned alongside the Quay Brothers to create events and experiences in other public spaces, details of which will be revealed in the months leading up to May 2012.

The process so far has been an enormous learning curve for the eight organisations involved in supporting this to happen. Leeds Canvas is the coming together of eight of the city’s arts organisations and this our first time working to combine resources, knowledge and infrastructure to produce something on such a scale. It’s an incredibly exciting prospect as we learn more about each others work and how that might make interesting collaborations going forward. 

Overworlds & Underworlds is one of 12 national Artists Taking the Lead project, developed with support of Arts Council of England. It is part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. For more information visit LeedsCanvas.com.

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.