Enjoy an online walking tour of the changing face of Leeds cinemas

Paramount Theatre, Leeds

The good people at Leeds Civic Trust are responsible for organising a number of projects and events that help audiences from Leeds and surroundings to see the built heritage which surrounds them with fresh eyes and a healthy dose of appreciation.

For the cinema enthusiasts amongst u,s they have created a virtual cinema tour, looking at the changing face of cinema buildings in Leeds and taking in eleven cinema buildings which at times had theatrical presentations also. Garance Rawinsky leads the tour, which is now available online via YouTube.

You can watch the tour here


LGBT PRIDE MONTH EVENTS: Explore the truth behind the legend of Alan Turing in a fascinating online talk by his nephew

Image by Justin Eagleton

June is LGBT Pride Month, and June 9th is International Archive Day, so what better time to celebrate the great work of the UK National Archives? To mark the event, here’s another fascinating free online talk courtesy of the National Archive, entitled REFLECTIONS OF ALAN TURING.

World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing’s career has inspired a number of creative works, amongst them Hugh Whitemore’s stage hit of the 1980s, BREAKING THE CODE, with a memorable performance by Derek Jacobi as Turing, and again a few years ago with film THE IMITATION GAME, where Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed Turing to much acclaim.

So, by now, everyone knows the story of the code-breaker and computer science pioneer Alan Turing.

Or do they?

Our knowledge of Alan Turing has been fragmentary, and further obscured by decades of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. In this discussion these layers of super-encipherment are stripped away to disclose the real story.

Was Alan Turing actually much of a codebreaker?
What is the meaning of Alan Turing’s trial, his suicide, the Royal Pardon, the £50 note, and the film The Imitation Game?
Drawing from Alan Turing’s background, his discoveries and his life-story, this talk uncovers a fresh legacy from Alan Turing for the 21st century.

This talk is presented by Dermot Turing, author of the acclaimed biography PROF, about the life of his uncle, Alan Turing and X, Y & Z: THE REAL STORY OF HOW ENIGMA WAS BROKEN. He spent his career in the legal profession after graduating from Cambridge and Oxford, and is a trustee of Bletchley Park. He has extensive knowledge of World War II code-breaking and is a regular presenter at major cryptology events.

Presented online on Wednesday, 9 June at 7.30pm BST, the talk lasts approximately 30-40 minutes, followed by a 15 minute live Q&A and promises to give real insights into this most fascinating of men.

You can find more information and book your free tickets here

Further supporting information about the presentation:

This online talk will be presented on Microsoft Teams. You do not need a Teams account to join an event, and can select the Join anonymously option to join from your browser if preferred. If you are accessing the event from a mobile device, you will need to download the Teams app. For the best experience we recommend using either a laptop or desktop computer.

You will receive a reminder email, including a link to join in advance of the event. For more information on attending a Teams event, please visit: https://bit.ly/3hWNWwn


Enjoy Mike Leigh In Conversation online on 26th April

ABIGAIL’S PARTY, NUTS IN MAY, HIGH HOPES, VERA DRAKE, GRIEF, PETERLOO, and many more films, TV works and stage plays.

Whether you value his writing more than his direction, his theatre work over his film work, most will agree that Mike Leigh is significant in all these areas, in an award-winning career spanning over half a century.

Now you have a chance to hear Leigh talk about his own work in a discussion with the team at Westminster Libraries, who host this online event on Wednesday 26th May at 7.00pm

He will discuss his creative process, where he finds inspiration and how he goes about writing his scripts.

The Westminster team said: “We are particularly interested in finding out about his work as a writer and how the written word relates to his work as a director. We want to know how he feels about books and libraries and how these have influenced his work.”

He has also agreed to take some questions from the online audience towards the end of the discussion.

Lasting one hour, the event is free but you must register beforehand to allow the joining link to be sent to you.

Book your ticket here


Dr Kirsty Sedgman’s free talk on Fandom

Dr Kirsty Sedgman

How Do you Solve a Problem Like Fandom? is the title of an online talk given by Dr Kirsty Sedgman at the Wolverhampton School for Performing Arts today (Wednesday, 28th April at 3.00pm).

In order to survive in the post-COVID world, the arts will need to reverse the trend that has seen audiences diminishing, ageing, and relatively homogenous. In order to thrive, we will need to turn casual spectators into fans.

In this talk, Dr Kirsty Sedgman asks why fandom in the arts has often been ignored or dismissed over history by the very people who should welcome it – with everyone from the 19th century Matinee Girls to today’s Phans sneered at for liking the wrong kind of theatre, or for enjoying things in the wrong way, or even for damaging the experience itself. This lecture is a call to arms to take fans seriously by:

1) dismantling the ableist, classist, racist structures that exclude marginalised audiences

2) capitalising on new digital performance forms that are breaking down barriers to access

3) welcoming genuine demonstrations of enjoyment, pleasure, and joy

The talk is scheduled to last one hour.

An award-winning expert in audiences, Dr Kirsty Sedgman is Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Bristol (UK). She is Editor of the Routledge Theatre & Performance Series in Audience Research as well as author of two monographs – Locating the Audience (Intellect 2016) and The Reasonable Audience (Palgrave 2018) – and has appeared on numerous radio and TV programmes, from BBC2’s Inside Culture with Mary Beard to BBC R4 Front Row. Kirsty has recently signed a contract with a leading trade publisher for a book bringing audience studies to a global mass-market readership.

To book your free tickets, click here


Ardent Theatre Company share free new online resource program for aspiring theatre stars

A small theatre company which produces five-star work, Ardent Theatre Company has always lived up to its mission statement; Bringing Outsiders In.

Helping young people into the mysterious world of theatre is never an easy job, yet Ardent’s joint Creative Directors Mark Sands and Andrew Muir are truly passionate and take their responsibilities very seriously.

The theatre world is precarious enough without a pandemic, but even in normal times those who may come from less financially affluent homes or parts of the country may be exponentially disadvantaged from achieving their dreams. Pandemic-wise, that issue multiplies, which is one of the reasons this new initiative is so needed- and so welcome.

To help, each year Ardent chooses eight students from outside of London in their final year of education, and supports them with advice and training. Not just this, the group will travel to London for auditions, agent exposure and the rehearsal and performance of a week’s run in a specially commissioned play written for them by Andrew Muir. All of this supportive work including travel, accommodation, food and wages are paid for by the fundraising work that Mark Sands does through Ardent’s annual participation in the Big Give, a scheme where high value donors give amounts to be matched by public donations. Through a supportive and enthusiastic group of followers and some well-known supporters, Sands has not just achieved but smashed his targets in every year they have participated.

Ardent Theatre Company’s Creative Director Mark Sands

This year has posed issues for Ardent’s planned program, which although diminished in some aspects, after much creative thinking is also vastly expanded in others.

In the process of trying to reach a wider audience online, Ardent have invested time and funding in producing a series of online resources which anyone can access for free.

A series of workshop notes, interviews, guidance and tips about working in Theatre. Ardent will be adding new resources each month to build an information hub about the business, developing skills and finding work, as well as links to other online material they think useful.

Talking to Sands about the project, he said: “The idea really came out of the 16 young graduates we’ve worked with over the last few years. It’s quite hard to find the information they need to start building a career. There’s no one-stop place so it all becomes a bit piecemeal. There are some very well-funded sites out there, but they often cater to secondary school age, or they prioritise paid opportunities. We wanted to create something that was free for all, focused on post-education and plain speaking. And the response has been positive so far with many of the directors and actors we’ve worked with over the years offering up advice, tips and even video interviews. It’s exciting and something that will constantly evolve and grow as more and more people contribute.”

This will undoubtedly grow to be an increasingly useful reference work for young people wanting to get into the theatre industry and I wish it every success.

Every few weeks more material will be added to the resource, so it will be worth checking back regularly.

The current areas planned to be covered in the structure include About the Business, Developing Skills, Finding Work and Other Resources.

On April 1st the program kicked off with Casting and self-tapes.

On April 15th the program continued with Self-promotion using social media

And on 29th April the program covers a Guide to Registering as Self-Employed

And the program’s further segments will be announced as they become available. You can follow Ardent on social media visa their Facebook and Instagram accounts to keep updated.

If you know of young family or friends with theatrical aspirations, do them a favour and share this information with them. Theatre work is never easy, but the stars of tomorrow – both onstage and offstage- are out there, and they need all our help to shine.

Access the Ardent Resources as they become available via their website here


Some of Ardent’s previous productions including their 2014 five-star debut, John Van Druten’s FLOWERS OF THE FOREST at Jermyn Street Theatre and their five-star production of Philip Osment’s THIS ISLAND’S MINE at the King’s Head Theatre in 2019