A ballet class for the over 65s, comedy workshop, alternative thought-provoking drama and the chance to learn how to read minds – they’re all on offer at the Lawrence Batley Theatre’s first-ever festival to showcase new performers and help those eager to hone their skills.
A Festival, from Monday, March 19, until Saturday, March 31, includes a series of live performances by up-and-coming artists, as well as a range of eclectic events and workshops offering something completely different for Huddersfield audiences.
The festival opens on March 19 at 7pm with a Pay-What-You-Decide evening of spoken word, music and theatre at Queenie’s Coffee House. Open mic slots can be booked at thelbt.org.uk
Then dancers from the balletLORENT company, regulars at the LBT, are hosting a workshop for the over 65s on Tuesday, March 20, at 2pm. This event is free but needs to be booked on the theatre’s website (search for A Festival workshops). Participants will get the chance to take part in a performance in April.
If a pie and pea evening is more your thing, then book for A Scratch Night, also on March 20. Tickets for the showcase of new work are £7 and include supper.
Other performances include Oil and Water (Friday, March 30), about women, mental health, religion and beauty; This is Not a Safe Space (also March 30), a solo show by poet Jackie Hagan, based on interviews with people on the receiving end of benefit cuts; How to Build a Cesspit (Saturday, March 31) with queer artist Nathaniel Hall in a one-man show about homophobia: and Testosterone (also March 31), which explores what it means to be a man or a woman and features a drag diva, hit songs and physical theatre.
If that’s not enough, and you want something REALLY different, then join One Thousand Mindreaders, a workshop on Saturday, March 24. Learn from artist Stuart Nolan, who has embarked on a year-long artwork project to train 1,000 new mindreaders.
There are 10 workshops on offer in total, for budding actors, musicians and writers. There’s everything from Devising for Comedy and Performance Skills for Poets to a free improvisation and jam session.
Easter weekend (March 30 and 31) will be particularly busy, with three performances each day.
Victoria Firth, director of the LBT, says: “When creating this festival I wanted to bring new ideas and different voices to the LBT stage. I’ve chosen workshop leaders who are living or working here to give a snapshot of the amazing creativity in our area and offer people a chance to see what is being made.”
It’s hoped that the festival will become part of the theatre’s annual programme.
For details of all performances and workshops visit thelbt.org.uk Tickets are from free to £14.