Grade one listed building, Templeworks in Holbeck, Leeds hosts Wonderful World Of... an exciting immersive theatre event by Bent Architect from 19 - 21 May before the show transfers to various national venues.
The Wonderful World Of... brings together a company of artists including projectionist Dave Lynch and designer Barney George, leading audiences on a promenade journey into a strange, beautiful, breakneck world.
The piece takes inspiration from firsthand accounts of living with mental illness, a condition that affects 1 in 4 adults in the UK. Centring on the stories of two very different characters who pursue a doomed love affair, The Wonderful World Of... builds a fragmentary portrait of their experiences with vivid splashes of movement, colour and live music.
1 Bent Architect are based in West Yorkshire and this is the biggest and best thing we’ve done. It’s as much an event as a play. Though there is a very real and powerful dramatic character based story at the centre of it, we’ve also got a live band performing the soundtrack as well as screen projections and live action, including some dancing, ranging from waltzing to sea shanty jigs and disco, of course. Part of what the evening creates, and take the audience right into, is the moment where reality blurs and people enter what we call ‘altered states’, so we’ve sought a very visceral and immersive theatrical form and style to achieve it.
2 The venues are really interesting places to go and see some theatre. The whole event is way beyond the normal experience of walk in and take your seat. It's a promenade piece which then moves into a section where the audience are invited to a wedding. It is very fluid in form and style and uses the entirety of all the venues we are visiting with it. Templeworks mill and yard outside, the whole of Tooting Market ( indoor ) and the Hopkinson Gallery in Nottingham too.
3 The subject is very serious. The whole piece was inspired by the stories of close friends who suffered mental breakdown and problems, and the stories they told, bizarre and beautiful, painful and harrowing, emotional, but very uplifting. To this day the subject is shrouded in stigma, people are still made to feel embarrassed and ashamed, there’s a lot of stigma and we want to tackle that head on. There’s also an assumption that anything on this subject must be dark and very heavy. We aim to turn that on its head as well. It’s a story of hope ultimately, of people coping with and coming to terms with, learning to love, what is really just another way of being, of seeing the world.
4 The Music – specially written and performed live during the show by the popular West Yorkshire based musical combo, That F**king Tank. Music can really transform a show, give it a wholly different heightened quality and it’s fair to say that Tank - who are genuinely awesome by the way - give this one something very different!
5 The event actually lasts the whole evening with DJ’s and live bands on afterwards so there will be a chance to meet the cast and hang around afterwards for a drink and some more music. It also celebrates The Carpenters, who, in our humble opinion, have been quite outrageously overlooked by modern theatre, this is something we are seeking to address in the course of this piece. There is also an art exhibition in Leeds curated by Arts & Minds, a West Yorks. based mental health network.
Tickets for all shows can be purchased at: www.bentarchitect.eventbrite.com