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July 28, 2016

What is it like to be you?

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What Is It Like To Be You? The Performance Ensemble, West Yorkshire Playhouse July 19th 

What is it like to be you? Older people from across Leeds set about finding out at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

The Performance Ensemble shared real-life strories through a combination of music, dance and spoken word performance. 

People shared their anecdotes and observations. Their stories ranged from bittersweet romances to memories of home and working overseas. 

Sharing stories is a fundamentally human activity and there’s something life-affirming about listening to them. As the host, director Joe Standerline, said: “There’s no such thing as an ordinary story.” 

The event is part of the lead up to Anniversary, a performance directed by Alan Lyddiard, which will be at West Yorkshire Playhouse in September.

The Performance Ensemble have worked in Leeds and The Calder Valley for over two years to build relationships with older people and create work based on the true stories told to them by local people. But what really set this event apart was the music.

Adam the conductor led the Citizens Orchestra, a company of older musicians based in Armley, through popular numbers from “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing” to “The Hop.” 

The dancefloor was covered in balloons. Older people from community groups including Rothwell, Swillington, Calder Valley and Chapeltown all performed and the audience got up to dance at every opportunity inbetween the choreographed numbers.

A woman whose late husband had been an integral part of the orchestra said: “Thank you for letting me play in this wonderful orchestra and thank you for listening.” 

A few hours of fun, laughter and dancing. ‘What is it like to be you?’ was a great way to spend an afternoon. 

There was also tea and cake.