MADELEINE Frost is hoping that more than two dozen people will spread their wings this summer for a journey which will take them into the world of mask-making, puppetry and physical theatre.
There has been no shortage of takers for Conference Of The Birds, described as an outdoor adventure and due to take place in the courtyard space at the LBT in August.
For Madeleine, the theatre’s participation officer and its youth theatre director, Conference Of The Birds signals a chance for people to learn new skills alongside theatre professionals, culminating in a live performance piece.
Sign up for this week-long community project and you will be working alongside the professionals from Wakefield-based company Faceless.
This is a group well versed in physical and puppet theatre and in making masks and puppets. And all those skills will be shared with 25 performers who will be recruited to take part.
Together they will shape the piece for performance in the LBT courtyard at 2pm on Saturday, August 9, built around the themes found in Conference Of The Birds.
To those involved with theatre that title conjures up one name - that of theatre director Peter Brook.
In the Seventies he and fellow director Jean-Claude Carrière worked with a series of actors, including Helen Mirren, on developing a form of theatre which did not depend on the cultural assumptions of the audience.
They travelled across the desert of North-West Africa performing to native groups with whom the actors shared neither language nor culture.
One of the pieces performed during this test of theatre forms was based on the celebrated Persian poem Conference Of The Birds.
The poem, from a book of poetry by Farid ud-Din Attar, uses a journey by a group of 30 birds led by a hoopoe as an allegory of a Sufi sheikh or master leading his pupils to enlightenment.
It is a perfect starting point for a theatre piece which hopes to open up the creative abilities of performers, extend them through skills such as maskwork and puppetry and to share that journey with an audience.
“It’s a universal story, open to a lot of interpretation. There is no actual script, but the group will work on the basic themes throughout their week together,” said Madeleine.
“Faceless were at the LBT last autumn and worked with the youth theatre during half-term.
“They worked on this same theme and it was fantastic. It was really brilliant and we decided that we wanted them to do a bigger version of it.”
The theme has certainly grabbed imaginations, with inquiries for places already coming in from Hull, Wakefield and other cities across the region.
The project is aimed at adults, but Madeleine says that they will accept youngsters over 11. The project runs August 5-9. If you are interested phone Madeleine on 01484 484450.
FLY AWAY Let your imagination soar in a new Lawrence Batley Theatre project this summer Picture by Amanda Crowther