Hi, my name is Anna. I’m currently studying English and Sociology at the University of Leeds, and am lucky to have the opportunity of working with the Geraldine Connor Foundation over the next two years as part of the Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship (UGRLS). Over the summer I’m exploring the impact and legacy of Geraldine’s creation ‘Carnival Messiah’, with a particular focus on the production at Harewood House in 2007.
Carnival Messiah was widely praised for its community engagement, bringing professionals, semi-professionals locals and international artists on to one stage. To this day the foundation is inundated with stories of the effect Carnival Messiah had on individuals.
I’m interested in learning from artists, participants and audiences about their experiences, the influence the production had on their lives, and also their personal memories in order to try and capture the joy of the production. In building an archive of material about ‘Carnival Messiah’, not only am I hoping to record and celebrate its legacy, but I’m also hoping to demonstrate the importance of the arts more generally. Especially in a time when funding is being cut at every corner, I believe that the arts should be valued in all walks of life, both as a creative outlet and as a powerful tool for personal growth and social change.
If you took part in Carnival Messiah, or even if you simply went to see it and would like to share your experience then we’d love to hear it. Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact details and a brief description of how you were involved, and we’ll go from there.
The Geraldine Connor Foundation are seeking Singer and Performances for 2 ‘pop-up’ style performances in Leeds.
Applicants can be professional, semi-professional or students but must have a strong singing voice. You must also have experience of performing in character. You can be based in Leeds, across Yorkshire or work nationally.
Please send your CV to SELINA@GCFOUNDATION.CO.UK in order to receive your Casting Call invitation.
You MUST be available for the following dates:
• 1st Casting call – Friday 14th July in Leeds • Rehearsals 31st July – 4th August in Leeds • Performance 26th August in Leeds • Performance 16th September in Leeds
Hello all, this is Samairah, Tashanne and Bryanna, from Ralph Thoresby School.
We have been fortunate enough, to have been given the opportunity to do work experience with the Geraldine Connor Foundation. We wanted to come to the Foundation because between us, we are interested in Drama, Project management and Wardrobe.
Our first task on Monday morning was to organise the Carnival resource packs, the resource pack was created by Ayo Jones and Rhian Kempadoo-Millar.
The packs will be used to help primary schools around the city to teach their pupils about the history of Carnival. Inside the packs include creative ideas to intrigue and inspire the young people.
Our favourite section was the Ingredients to make a Carnival, which includes:
1 imaginative idea or story
5 x 15ml spoon of feathers and sequins
100g of Soca music
100g of steel pan music
1000 drops of energetic people
This section of the pack is very creative and colourful, which will be interesting for the school pupils provoking their imagination.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Leeds West Indian Carnival the Geraldine Connor Foundation is donating a Carnival Pack to over 100 Primary Schools around Leeds.
The packs will be distributed to schools via Artemis, the art loaning service for children and young people.
For further information about the packs, contact the Foundation
It’s raining this week in Leeds but last week we had our own early Summer fun bringing Carnival to life with children from all over Leeds.
Our ‘Masqueraders’ (the troupes name for the week) made their own Costumes, ‘Soco’ Danced with true Carnival style and attitude and Beat the SteelPan, all with the help of local experts from the Leeds West Indian Carnival scene.
We’d like to congratulate all our Masquerader’s and thank them for their energy and enthusiasm all week!
We’d also like to thank all of the creative staff who put in some much hard work, as well as our volunteers Taysia and Adeline who gave up their own spring break to give us a hand.
For more Carnival Mash Up and other activites please sign up to our newsletter ‘GCF Insider’
We interviewed Akeim Buck and Omari Swanston-Jeffers about their careers so far and what to expect from their Creative Café on ‘Physical Theatre‘ on Thursday 30th March 2017.
How did you become an artist?
Akeim: It’s only since last year that I got used to saying ‘I’m an artist’. After graduating from Northern Contemporary Dance school I decided that I wouldn’t pursue other careers. It was trial and error for a while, whilst I was studying I tried to do other weekend jobs but they never seemed to work for me, whereas dancing, leading workshops and working with kids seemed to come naturally.
Omari: I’ve always been an artist, but professionally I suppose once I graduated from university and started working. I had work as a runner in tv for a while but during uni I started getting paid for dance and teaching and other skills, since I graduated I’ve been getting more and more paid work.
Who and what inspires you?
Akeim: Bob Marley is one of my biggest inspirations. My mum is an inspiration and then just people and their stories. The work itself inspires me because I try to stay true to it and create new work always trying to compete with myself to be better.
Omari: My biggest inspiration is my grandad, he came from the Caribbean and was able to build up a great family and provide for them and then, when he was older he moved back to the Caribbean and built his own house. My surroundings inspire my art, I look at different artists and different music. I find a lot of inspiration in black/afro-Caribbean culture, but not to the exclusion of other cultures.
What was the proudest moment of your career?
Akeim: Recently a piece I was successful in a grant application, there was an audience member who was a 1st generation Greek who watched the piece 3 times, first when it was just a rough draft, secondly when I posted something online and then most recently the completed piece. He told me that it ‘made him want to do something’, the man made a mix for the people of Aleppo. It showed that we don’t have to shout and scream to be activists, instead we can use our natural skills to do something for others as well as ourselves. I was really proud that it was my work that helped him to get to that place.
Omari: Graduating from Roehampton University with a first-class degree in Creative Writing.
What do you think are the challenges for young artists?
Akeim: Getting people and organisations, to believe in and trust you. Getting Arts Council funding is touch, when you do you feel like you’re a child who is finally get recognition and becoming an adult.
If you want to be seen as a professional and taken seriously you have to know what you want. If you don’t, what other people think of you and want from you will end up defining who you are as an artist. When you get feedback you have to think about what to take on board and what you should leave aside. Ask yourself if it aligns with your vision, and what you want. You are the artist not the art so try not to get to precious about your work or objectify yourself.
Omari: Financially sustaining themselves. It’s important to be a business person as well an artist.
What can we expect from your Creative Café workshop?
Akeim: To build your confidence in devising movement as an actor as well as taking direction and being honest and truthful with the directions you are given.
Omari: Lots of fun, lots of learning and lots of skill and passion.
Where can we find out more?
To find out more about the Creative Café and register for updates CLICK HERE!
To find out more about Akeimcheck out the following links: