The Downhearted Drayman: radio play/book
As part of LD50, which is funded by Leeds 2023, storyteller and writer Matthew Bellwood was commissioned to work with a group of 10 children at Beechwood Primary School, East Leeds.
Matthew had the idea of using The Barrel Man, the statue in Dortmund Square donated to Leeds by our German twin city, as a starting point. The statue, well-known as a landmark and meeting point, is an acknowledgement of our two cities’ shared brewing heritage (Dortmund once had 27 breweries!).
Matthew spent three days with the children, walking around the centre of Leeds and creating a radio play/voice collage/audio narrative about the Barrel Man (whose actual title is The Drayman). Last month we recorded the piece at Chapel FM and it will be aired for the first time at the LD50 festival at October.
What emerged during the planning of this work with Matthew is that the Leeds Drayman has a twin statue in Friedenplatz (Freedom Square) in Dortmund. Do they miss each other? Do they ever dream of meeting up? Why is the Drayman downhearted?
Now, thanks to grants gratefully received from Leeds Community Foundation and Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, The Downhearted Drayman will also be published as an illustrated book and launched during the festival. The text will be in both English and German, thanks to our fabulous team of volunteer translators (mostly from Leeds University, and the illustrations will be by the children themselves, facilitated by Matthew Bellwood. The book will be designed by Amy Levene.