Slung Low 15 Minutes Live – theatre experience at HMWClub
If you’re not a usual theatre goer – or just read the ‘Theatre’ bit and were reluctant to read more – think again. Slung Low Theatre Company is no ordinary theatre company. Firstly they are a Holbeck based company situated under five arches of the Holbeck Viaduct five minutes from the train station. They deliver ‘adventures for audiences out of conventional theatre spaces’, this time in a South Leeds pub.
Guests climbed the stairs into a streaming sunlight events room (not a blacked out curtain in sight). Finding a seat was easy this space is massive! Everyone helped themselves to the tasty curry being served buffet style, or a cake if you’ve already eaten. Yes, there’s a bar so you can have a drink whilst being creatively stimulated.
Situated within the middle of the room were musicians tuning their instruments, actors at the ready clearing their voices next to microphones on stage, and in a corner a guy wearing dust overalls in a flat cap organising bits and pieces for the sound effects.
The setting was to deliver a program of 5 short plays written by different writers. Theatre company director Alan Lane enthusiastically told the audience we were all participants in the show and we were to witness with our eyes and ears the mechanics of everything that goes into making a radio play. These very shows get distributed worldwide and to elderly peoples homes.
For the next hour and a half the audience was transported to different worlds through an array of foley including real foot steps, doors opening and closing, paper shuffling, key’s jangling all in time with professional actors and a live orchestra. Retakes happened only twice, at which point the actors had to revert to the part in the script and resume the required emotion. This meant that we the audience had to remain very still and quiet and at that point it was important not to cough. When the play passed without any retakes the place applauded and took advantage of more curry and cake or even buy a raffle ticket.
The food was low cost or donation, as was the ticket. Slung Low operate on a ‘pay what you decide’ basis, thereby giving the audience a choice, and hopefully the incentive to return and enjoy more theatre.
Over the last year Holbeck Working Men’s club has faced threats of closure, but with the help and support of the local members and community it has remained open, offering exciting and innovative shows like this. It is a positive example of how two local companies can work effectively together to provided experiences such as this for the community to enjoy.
“The environment lends itself perfectly to this show” said Barney George
This article was written by Lucy Potter using our Community Reporters website