Slung Low theatre company to launch new cultural community college in Leeds in September

Slung Low

Slung Low

This September the acclaimed theatre company Slung Low will unveil a new Cultural Community College in the city of Leeds offering a diverse programme of Pay What You Decide cultural classes to participants from the city and further afield.

The college, which will start its first term on Wednesday 12 September, will be supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England.

Located at The Holbeck Underground Ballroom (The HUB) in South Leeds, the Cultural Community College will offer an array of cultural activities; from stargazing to South Indian cooking, from short film making to carpentry and much more.  

The courses will be led by artists from the region, of the highest standard, who will share their skills, experience and passions with the students. Free at the point of use, all the courses, sessions and classes will be Pay What You Decide.

For the first instalment of classes from September, the curriculum will be programmed by Slung Low in consultation with the college’s Community Advisory Board and other local stakeholders and then after the first year the course content will be chosen by the participants themselves who will automatically become a member of the Cultural Community College.

An advisory board made up of educators from across the education spectrum including universities, theatre education departments and the private sector will support the team at the college.

The idea for the new college has been drawn upon the proud history of civic cultural education in Britain; inspired by the past cultural classes and lecture series in northern working men’s club, Quilliam’s Liverpool mosque and women’s institutes throughout the nation.

Slung Low’s Artistic Director Alan Lane said:

There have been various calls from the theatre scene for arts education to be better respected by the government and they are all absolutely correct.

We do need an education system fit for the 21st century that champions the country’s creativity as a foundation of its collective mental health, as a foundation of its collective sense of worth, as a foundation of its ability to take a moral leadership role in the world, to imagine better futures for our children, for other people’s children, and for ourselves.

You are what you do. And so, in our little part of the world in Holbeck, we are going to make a varied, high quality creative education available to everyone who wants it regardless of financial status. Because that’s what we want to be- people who think that is important- so that’s what we’ll do. Hold the space to create the opportunity of a cultural education beyond the market place.

Exploring education for enjoyment’s sake, distinct from the demands of employment and operating beyond the access restrictions of the market the Cultural Community College is the creation of a place designed to disturb the barriers to engagement in both adult education and culture.

Finally, with the introduction of the Cultural Community College we feel it is our continued core mission to attempt to be as useful as possible with public money in as many imaginative ways as we can.”

Slung Low are a company that make adventures for audiences outside of conventional theatre spaces. The company’s aim is to make unlikely, ambitious and original adventures for audiences, each with powerful, moving story at its heart. Shows that re-examine how audiences go and see a piece of theatre. The company are based in their home The Holbeck Underground Ballroom (The HUB), five railway arches in South Leeds which they make available to other artists. Recently the company produced the award-winning Flood by James Phillips as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

The Cultural Community College is a major part of the company’s long- term ambition to create Leeds People’s Theatre: a major new citizen theatre producer of epic, outdoor political theatre for the city combining Slung Low’s trademark staging style with a permanent programme of participation and citizen training.

To celebrate the launch of the new Cultural Community College, Slung Low will be hosting a Ceilidh Dance on Saturday 8 September.

For further information on the Cultural Community College and the launch event please visit https://www.slunglow.org/cultural-community-college/