Leeds Playhouse pop up aims to tackle loneliness

Leeds Playhouse has created a free fairground-inspired pop-up which will be appearing around Leeds over the next couple of months aiming to tackle loneliness among people over 55.

Leeds Playhouse created the pop up with help from over 55s

The multi-coloured, light-up structure features a musical jukebox and comfortable chairs to host creative activities and kick-start conversation, creating a comfortable space for older people to use creatively.

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Built as part of a three year project with Comic Relief, the fairground inspired pop-up resource was created by designer Emma Williams in collaboration with members of the community aged 55 and over.

The pop up is designed to tackle loneliness

Over the next two months the installation will be popping up at Flamingos Coffee House in Leeds’s Central Arcade and Richmond Hill Community Centre alongside free creative arts workshops and special events for older people. These workshops are part of the project, titled It’s For You.

Leeds Playhouse artistic director James Brining said: “As an organisation we are always trying new and innovative ways to engage audiences. I’m incredibly proud our pioneering work with older people and I am hugely grateful to Comic Relief for supporting us in realising this fantastic project.”

The resource’s first visit to the community took place at Leeds Pride on Sunday 4 August. Set up at Mill Hill Chapel at the Pride Village Fête, passers-by created Pride themed rosettes and shared stories of older people that inspire them.

Leeds Playhouse run regular activities for older people, including refugees and asylum seekers and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The theatre opened nearly 50 years ago and has been on its current site at Quarry Hill since 1990.

Known as West Yorkshire Playhouse for the last three decades, the organisation has recently undergone a £15.8m makeover, reopening later this year as Leeds Playhouse once again.

Leeds Playhouse’s Autumn/Winter 2019 season will take place back in the redeveloped theatre which will include improved access to and around the theatre, a new city-facing entrance and the addition of a new studio theatre, the Bramall Rock Void.