Holbeck-based theatre company Slung Low will be streaming online for free the premiere of their new short film The Good Book on Friday (1 May 2020) from 12pm.
The Good Book is the first production for the newly formed Leeds People’s Theatre and is produced by Slung Low with the support of Leeds 2023.
Set in a future Leeds, The Good Book, tells the story of a society that is divided between loyalists of the powerful Queen Bear and radical followers of Galahad. Avalon is a young woman desperate not to take sides, but as civil war begins, she must undertake a dangerous mission to rescue a precious relic from destruction.
The short film features a cast of invited actors along with over 100 members of the local Leeds community (see below). Filming took place in late January at Slung Low’s base, The Holbeck club and at Holbeck Cemetery, Leeds Central Library and Leeds Town Hall.
Directed by Sheffield film maker Brett Chapman, The Good Book continues James Phillips’ future dystopia, which began in The White Whale at Leeds Dock in 2013, continued in 2014 with Camelot, a Slung Low and Sheffield Theatres’ outdoor co-production and was last seen as a centre piece of Hull, UK City of Culture 2017’s performance programme and on the BBC with the epic Flood.
Leeds People’s Theatre has been created by Slung Low and will be a dedicated division for large-scale professional arts projects with communities in Leeds at the heart of them. This involves the community participating in and with professional artists and creative teams, offering an opportunity to learn, gain more experience or simply be part of a community.
The Good Book will be the first of several projects that Slung Low are currently planning for Leeds People’s Theatre.
The Good Book, which is supported by Leeds City Council, Leeds 2023, Arts Council and Leeds People’s Theatre will be available to stream online for free from 12pm on Friday 1 May at www.slunglow.org/TGB
“I’d never been in a riot”
Beeston resident Sue Talbot tells us about being a member of the community cast:
“I’ve never been in a riot, I’ve never been in a fight” sang the 70s Leeds punk band The Mekons.
“Nor had I until I was part of the community cast in a film by James Philips, produced and directed by Holbeck’s very own theatre company, Slung Low.
“I left school before Drama was on the curriculum, but I’ve always had a hankering to be on the stage so, when Slung Low’s Community College put on a short course of Performance Skills, I was right in there. Then it turned out that, following a short film created with professional actors and community performers for Hull’s year as City of Culture, they planned to make a sequel in Leeds.
“The Good Book imagines a dystopian future as fundamentalist “Galahadis” challenge supporters of “Bear”, the revolutionary leader in the Hull film, but ends on a note of hope.
“People from all different backgrounds, both local and from further afield (including some Hull community performers) came together in rehearsal and filming to make The Good Book.
“We reheased over two weekends and filmed over two more weekends. We sang, learnt stage fighting, waved flares, chanted and – the highlight – we “rioted” in February in the cold and rain outside the Town Hall. It was great!
“In the process we became Leeds People’s Theatre. We learnt new skills, made new friends, and saw how much work goes on behind the scenes in making even a short film.
“Now I understand how film budgets get to be so big. Even the shortest scene requires many ‘takes’ and a hotde of technical support in the form of lighting, sound, camera operators, technicians and other support staff. Not to mention the producer, director, costume and set designers and makers. And they all need to be fed!
“After this experience, I’ll certainly be watching out for more Leeds People’s Theatre productions once the lockdown is over, and I can’t wait to join in again.”