Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Beckett's Park Hospital - the performance

Richard Wilcocks writes:
Five students from the Performing Arts course at Leeds Metropolitan University have now stepped forward to participate in the 'Wartime Hospital' performance, which will take place in March next year. It will be based on the research which has been done into the Beckett's Park Hospital in the First World War, the buildings for which were finished in 1913, just before it was taken over by the army medical services the following year. It is wonderful that Leeds Met students are taking part so enthusiastically in this project, for the simple reason that LMU uses the same site. 

Some of the true stories that have been collected from descendants of patients, nurses and members of the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) are extraordinary. They are not all about victims of poison gas, amputations and shell shock, though there's plenty of that of course. This drawing was done by a patient for the VAD nurse in charge of his ward in 1917. It comes from her autograph book.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Our next Between the Lines event

Young Local Poets. Very Young Local Poets

Working with three local primary schools to encourage ten year-olds to appreciate and write their own poetry has been something that Headingley LitFest has been working on since our main programme in March 2013.  Using the skills of acclaimed local writer James Nash, and working with some friends from Older Wiser Local Seniors (OWLS), James has worked in Weetwood, Shire Oak and Spring Bank schools over the past few months. 

Using a range of stimulus material, he has managed to get around 100 local youngsters to find their inner poet.  As one young girl from Weetwood said, “They were fabulous sessions, and I enjoyed every second!  And a young lad also commented, “I particularly liked the way we got inspiration from the book and the two pictures.  I think that the event would be better if it was longer but the rest was brilliant!

James himself comments, “Working at Shire Oak school, and writing poetry based on sporting and physical activity, showed me that with the great support  of staff and OWLS, and fitting into current curriculum projects of a school, we can enhance the writing abilities of all pupils and make writing relevant and fun for everybody.”

After funding from the Arts Council enabled us to develop our poetry work with local primary schools, it is now thanks to support from local councillors through the Area Management committee, Leeds City Council community funding and Wade’s charity, we have funding to be able to continue this work over the coming months and beyond our 2014 LitFest, themed ‘Surviving’.  Watch this space.