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Regional Hearts — Leeds


Design Champion: David Shearing

David is a multi award-winning artist who creates immersive multimedia environments and spaces. He is interested in how audiences engage both physically and conceptually with design and installation art. He explores audience engagement by creating intimate, and at times spectacular, art and performance installations using video, sound and organic materials.

David’s work operates as a hybrid between fine art and performance practice. Recent work includes INCREDIBLE THINGS (2017), a city-wide participation project and artistic manifesto. The Weather Café (2016) a weather responsive café in the heart of the city of Leeds. The Dock (2016) a Lowry Commission and event space for the Week 53 Festival in Salford. In 2014 David was award a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship and produced The Weather Machine (2015) in partnership with West Yorkshire Playhouse and stage@leeds which was awarded Silver at the World Stage Design exhibition 2017. In 2013 and it all comes down to this… won the Gold award at World Stage Design for best Installation design. Other work includes video design and scenography for Beacons (2010) by Yvon Bonenfant, EMPAC New York and UK Tour. David has a PhD in ‘Audience Immersion and the Experience of Scenography’.

Venue Partner: Leeds Playhouse

There has been a Playhouse in Leeds for almost 50 years; from 1968 to 1990 as Leeds Playhouse, then, with the opening of a new theatre on its current Quarry Hill site it became West Yorkshire Playhouse until reverting back to its original name in 2018.

Leeds Playhouse is one of the UK’s leading producing theatre; a cultural hub, a place where people gather to tell and share stories and to engage in world class theatre. It makes work which is pioneering and relevant, seeking out the best companies and artists to create inspirational theatre in the heart of Yorkshire. From large-scale spectacle to intimate performance we develop and make work for our stages, for found spaces, for touring, for schools and community centres. We create work to entertain and inspire.

As dedicated collaborators, we work regularly with other organisations from across the UK, independent producers, and some of the most distinctive, original voices in theatre today. Through our Furnace programme, we develop work with established practitioners and find, nurture and support new voices that ought to be heard. We cultivate artists by providing creative space for writers, directors, companies and individual theatre makers to refine their practice at any stage of their career.

Alongside our work for the stage we are dedicated to providing creative engagement opportunities that excite and stimulate. We build, run and sustain projects which reach out to everyone from refugee communities, to young people and students, to older communities and people with learning disabilities. At the Playhouse there is always a way to get involved.

Amy Leach

After working across the UK for 15 years as a freelance director and facilitator, Amy joined Leeds Playhouse at Easter 2017 as Associate Director.

Amy’s directing credits at the Playhouse include Road, A Christmas Carol, Talking Heads, Queen of Chapeltown, Romeo & Juliet, Kes, The Night Before Christmas and Little Sure Shot. Amy has also directed work for Hull Truck Theatre, Sherman Theatre Cardiff, National Theatre Wales, National Theatre Studio, Gagglebabble, Wales Millennium Centre, Unicorn Theatre London, Library Theatre Manchester, The Egg Bath, Dukes Lancaster and Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester. Between 2003 & 2011, Amy co-founded and ran en masse, an award winning touring theatre company which created work for young people and their families.

Amy’s forthcoming productions at Leeds Playhouse are Kes and Hamlet as part of the theatre’s Pop-Up Season.

Higher Education Partner: University of Leeds

Joslin McKinney is Programme Leader for the MA in Performance Design and Deputy Head of the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds. A graduate of Nottingham Trent University, she was a recipient of an Arts Council bursary for emerging designers and she worked as a set and costume designer for over 10 years before becoming a teacher and researcher in the area of scenography. Her practice-based PhD investigated the ways that scenography communicates to audiences and her subsequent publications include The Cambridge Introduction to Scenography (Cambridge University Press: 2008) and articles and chapters on scenographic research methods, phenomenology and materiality in scenography. She is co-editor of Expanded Scenography: an introduction to contemporary performance design (Bloomsbury: 2017). In 2015 she was the chair of the international jury at the Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design and Space.

MA Performance Design: