Blog for Leeds 2023 (May 2019)
Leeds/Dortmund 50 (LD50). Blog for Leeds 2023.
This year, 2019, the cities of Leeds (UK) and Dortmund (Germany) will have been twinned for fifty years. Leeds/Dortmund 50, or LD50, is a project that celebrates our golden anniversary through the arts, particularly writing.
So what’s happening? The support of Leeds 2023 has enabled the setting up of a number of dialogues between individuals and groups in our two cities: established writers, school children, creative writing students, young people’s writing groups, and members of the thriving language/cultural clubs.
These writing exchanges with culminate in a festival at Chapel FM Arts Centre, (https://www.chapelfm.co.uk/), 1st-5th October 2019. All the readings, performances, and discussions will be broadcast from Chapel FM, thus enabling participants in Germany to be part of the event even if they cannot physically attend. The festival will also feature people from choirs, language societies, schools and church groups who have memories of Leeds/Dortmund exchange projects over the last fifty years.
As the coordinator of LD50, I’m having a fascinating time. In March I visited Dortmund again, meeting with a variety of people, and a few weeks later the poet Ralf Thenior, my original contact in Dortmund, came over to Leeds where we launched our jointly-written book, Reise-Gedanken.
More recently, I’ve set up seven pairings of Leeds/Dortmund writers who will be translating each other’s work with the support of nine volunteer translators from Leeds University. This week at Chapel FM we’re recording a radio drama written by children at Beechwood Primary School, Seacroft, with storyteller Matthew Bellwood, about what The Barrel Man gets up to in Leeds at night. And I’ve been talking to the director of the young people’s company at Theater Dortmund about the possibility of their performing in Leeds.
If you want to know more about LD50, we now have a website (https://www.leedsdortmund50.com/) where we’ll publish all the writing and provide up-to-date news on what’s happening. And if you want to get involved, either as a volunteer host for visiting Dortmunders, someone with memories of Leeds/Dortmund exchanges, or as a writer/artist who wishes to contribute to the festival, please email me, Peter Spafford, firstname.lastname@example.org