Stories shared by young and old Leeds pen pals inspire play

The stories shared between students and older residents as part of a pen pal scheme are to be turned into a play to be performed in Leeds this week.

Preparations underway for the performance of Spring Flowers and Autumn Fruit.

The play, performed by inter-generational drama group Generation Squad, is based on real letters donated by pen pals from the Writing Back scheme at the University of Leeds.

The letter-writing project connects students and older Yorkshire residents as pen pals and helps them meet up and continue their friendships.

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Generation Squad, part of Leeds community theatre group Fall into Place, have used the stories shared between pen pals as inspiration to write a short play. ‘Spring Flowers and Autumn Fruit’ will be performed in conjunction with an exhibition of project letters and associated art work.

Sarah Goodyear, Generation Squad drama facilitator, said: “It’s been a privilege to read these real letters written by people of all ages and backgrounds across Yorkshire.

“One particularly inspiring older man had travelled to Antarctica and seen the Southern Lights –I’m thrilled we can share these amazing stories with the local community.”

Georgina Binnie, project officer of Writing Back, said: “It’s been wonderful to see the letters from our project brought to life by ‘Generation Squad’. We hope that the performances and exhibition of letters inspire people to put pen to paper. Our events celebrate the joy to be found in friendships between younger and older people.”

The aim of the project is to break down barriers between old and young and provide platforms for them to share stories.

Performances will be held at Headingley Arts and Enterprise Centre (HEART) on June 23 and 24 and the exhibition will remain in the main hall until June 30. Call 0113 275 454 for tickets.