An international festival is set to bring trailblazing performances – exploring everything from power and pop culture, to culture clashes and identity politics – to the city of Leeds.
Transform, an international performance festival, will present a programme of daring theatre, dance, parties and adventures. The festival fuses new commissions with UK premieres, from artists spanning five continents; bringing together everyone from first time community performers to renowned international names, for a festival that pushes boundaries and borders.
The festival will takeover some of the city’s most iconic venues and disused spaces, and this year’s Festival Centre is an ambitious television studio takeover in partnership with Prime Studios.
A former school hall in the heart of the city centre will host a vivid performance charting the stories of student protests in Brazil for Where It Breaks It Burns; and a major warehouse takeover will see audiences immersed in large-scale pop opera spectacle in An Atypical Brain Damage.
The city will be a playground for performance and interactivity, offering the chance to participate in an urban, digital adventure with Rewire Leeds, or to jump into a motorhome with Oh Europa and reimagine the ways we think about Europe, by singing a love song.
Transform’s young people’s collective Future Radicals, an eclectic group of musicians, spoken word poets, comedians, designers and singers from across Leeds, will stage What We’re Made Of; a series of performances and social experiments exploring their identities and relationship to the world today.
A strong feature of Transform 19 is freshly commissioned and produced work, and there will be two world premieres by Northern based artists. In Idol, Jamal Gerald combines African diasporic ritual, music and storytelling to take a daring and spiritual journey through religion, pop culture and Black representation, asking who would you rather pray to, Beyonce or white Jesus? Female performance duo 70/30 Split premiere new work bYOB, reflecting on the rise of nationalism and mob mentality as four men grapple with their roles in the performance and the world.
In the UK premiere of MDLSX by Italy’s acclaimed experimental theatre company Motus, fiction and autobiography collide in an explosive investigation of gender and identity; all presented as an electric monologue and DJ set. Meanwhile, rock, reggae, Patti Smith and African Dance collide in international dance performances. #Punk by New York based, Argentina born, Nora Chipaumire explores punk’s rejection of the status quo and considers that there is no future, that the future is in the present.
For younger Transform fans, German artist Danny Banany will be presenting a fun-filled and free Fashion Smash-Up workshop. Those aged eight to 12 will be invited to create a fantastical outfit from recycled clothes, then light up the catwalk.
When: 26th April – 4th May 2019
Where: At venues across Leeds, West Yorkshire
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event. Some events are free, although booking may be required
More info: www.transformfestival.org