Celebrating Leith and North Edinburgh January 2012
Elsewhere on Leith & North:
LGBT Lives Exhibition 2011
Leith Festival Arts 2009
Edinburgh Mela 2010
Return of the Soul
Parallel Lives 2: On Tour
Edinburgh Poetry Garden
Dialogues of Wind & Bamboo
104 pairs of shoes exhibition
Leith & North: Please email any news items to: news@leithandnorth.org.uk Leith Festival Arts 2011: Cool Wool Guerillas lead the charge! Group of women seated on a bench beneath a willow tree on Leith Links with women standing behind them, as Leith Cllr Gordon Munro grins, holding a scarf aloft ^^^ Above: Cool Wool Guerillas, Meadowbank Ageing Well Group are joined by members of the Leith Festival Team

More Leith Festival 2011 arts including North Edinburgh Arts Centre and Out of the Blue Drill Hall >>>

The undoubted talking point of Leith Festival (apart from the rain!) was the Cool Wool Guerilla Project on Leith Links, but among other arts highlights Leith & North is able to feature were the Arts Show at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall, the first Leith Festival Bellydance Hafla, (covered elsewhere on Leith & North,) and the original theatre production "Next in Line" presented by ACTive INquiry's Flashback group. There were also art shows out in North Edinburgh Arts Centre.

Three smiling women wrapping woolen scarves round a tree Flame tressed Adele with her hand against a blue knitted square with a bright yellow sun Left <<<: "The bark's helped them stick".Three members of the Ageing Well group at the installation
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Leith Festival Director Adele Conn showing the "Sunshine on Leith" square which came all the way from New York.
Leith Fesival Manager Adele Conn was inspired in the magickal hours around midnight to create a community artwork involving knitting. A little research revealed that the most inclusive knitting form is the 6" x 6" square, which knitters of all abilities can manage to create. Adele sent out a call for squares across Leith and Edinburgh, and round the world via facebook.

It became clear that the call was going to be answered with enthusiasm. The final tally was some 6,000 squares, including a "Sunshine on Leith" square from a lady in New York (pictured above). The next question was what exactly to do with them all? The squares nearly became a giant picnic blanket, but the final decision was to make them into scarves to wrap round the trees of Leith Links. Meadowbank 50+ Ageing Well Group led the charge with gusto, and planned to recycle their scarves and send them to Marionville Court NHS Nursing Home, the Early Years Kindergarten, and the Seafield Cat and Dog Home.

You can follow the links below to learn more about how local people developed the tree blankets after they were put up on Friday June 10th.

Wool art mystery is a ripping good yarn: Evening News, June 16th >>>
Leith Festival demonstrates close-knit community: STV Local, June 10th >>>
Leith Festival's celebrated teepee on the Leith Festival facebook page >>>

A small girl, a woman and a dog look at a newly installed tree blanket on Leith Links
Next in Line: surreal community theatre from Flashback Drama File of seated actors representing four different stages in a man's life ^^^ Above: Four Ages of Man (Colleen Garrett, Sharon May, Jamie Gordon and Donna Syme).

Flashback Drama produced a thoughtful and incident packed piece of surreal theatre called Next in Line (Out of the Blue Drill Hall, June 16th to 18th). John (Paul Hughes,) arrives in a mysterious waiting room, ruled over by Jobsworth (Sharon May,) from behind her desk. He is challenged by the mysterious Ali (Meghan Jeffrey,) to debate the rules and ethics by which he has lived his life - has he lost out in life by following civilised rules, and has he used consideration of others as an excuse for not pushing himself hard enough? The piece carried extra weight for being a piece of community theatre, for it was clear that its themes and issues had been wrestled with and debated by members of the group who had worked over several months to develp the drama.

Woman and man arguing around a group of people bundled into a twisted mass Woman bent over a screaming man with an electical device Left <<<: John debates with the mysterious Ali (Meghan Jeffrey).
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Jobsworth (Sharon May) slays and shears the sheep in the Waiting Room.

The play reflected the fears and anger and disappointments of life and had dark and pessimistic moments. In the end it came down in favour of persistence in humanity, and in commiting to the risks of trying to behave well towards each other. Someone knows their Dostoevsky we reckoned, but there weren't many laughs. Leith & North hopes that the ensemble will perform this piece again.

Flashback Drama is an offshoot of ACTive INquiry, and invites anyone who is interested to joing them every week between September and June. They work together to devise theatre pieces.

More Leith Festival 2011 arts including North Edinburgh Arts Centre and Out of the Blue Drill Hall >>>

Below: John (Paul Hughes) declines the hero worship of the denizens of the Waiting Room (Dave Millar, Jamie Gordon, Donna Syme and Colleen Garrett).

Group of women seated on a bench beneath a willow tree on Leith Links with women standing behind them, as Leith Cllr Gordon Munro grins, holding a scarf aloft