Over 60s invited to tell their tales for LEEDS 2023

The search is on to find 1001 Stories that will reveal the hidden stories of Leeds people, as told by the city’s over 60s.  From treasured memories of lost friends, the kindness of a helpful neighbour, a turning point in a working life, a significant moment in a family holiday or even simple thoughts on daily life and looking to the future – each person’s tiny yet vital story will feature as a key part of LEEDS 2023, the city’s Year of Culture. Submissions are now being sought from anyone over 60 who has ever lived or worked in Leeds, with a target of 1001 stories told by December 2022.

Inspired by Scheherazade’s 1,001 stories of ‘The Arabian Nights’, Leeds theatre company The Performance Ensemble, made up of performers aged over 60, will re-connect older people living in Leeds and challenge perceptions of what it means to be ageing today. In 2023, the gathered stories will become part of a series of high profile events.

The 1001 Stories project brings a consortium of partner organisations in Leeds together, Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Older People’s Forum, Leeds Museums & Galleries and LEEDS 2023 are joining The Performance Ensemble in seeking stories from across the city.

Storytelling is the oldest cultural tradition, connecting generations of people to one another and to the past and informing the future. Already, the consortium has received hundreds of personal stories from all over the world; all of them are from people who work, live, or have a connection to Leeds. Each one is helping to build a rich and diverse seam of raw material that will inspire the activities and events taking place next year. The consortium is now encouraging people to submit their stories, whether on paper, recorded as audio or video.

Alan Lyddiard, Artistic Director of The Performance Ensemble, said:

“We are an ageing population and that’s a fact we want to celebrate. There are 161,000 people aged over 60 living in Leeds and we know that, often, older people can feel overlooked, mis-understood and disconnected from the ever-changing city around them. Getting older can be wonderful and everyone has a story to tell. We want to hear all stories, whether they’re bold and fascinating or emotional and quiet; in sharing precious moments with others in this fresh, contemporary way, we are all connected.

“1001 Stories will be a key part of LEEDS 2023, ensuring that older voices will be heard as we celebrate our city, ‘letting culture loose’ across the generations and bringing our own energy, passion and creativity to the year-long party.”

Anyone interested in being part of 1001 Stories is encouraged to submit their story either online, over the phone or in person. Full details are available here


This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of LEEDS 2023