By Arts Council England
Story curated by LeftCoast
Audience to participation
LeftCoast produce a diverse range of socially-engaged and ambitious projects. Learn how they co-commission high-quality artworks to create unique and transformative experiences for participants and volunteers.
Diggers (2015) by Jill Reidy, Motion HouseArts Council England
Commissioning art on an epic scale
LeftCoast collaborates with local and (inter)national partners to bring world-class work to Blackpool.
Process of Curating Shows 3 by LeftCoastArts Council England
As a Creative People and Places programme, local residents are involved in the selection, production and delivery of large-scale spectacle such as shows, installations and festivals.
Showzam! Ball (2016) by Claire GriffithsArts Council England
Showzam! (2014 to 2016)
In conjunction with SeaChange Arts, LeftCoast delivered Showzam! (Blackpool’s annual festival of Circus and Performance) at both the Blackpool Tower Circus and The Winter Gardens. The festival attracted audiences of up to 30,000 people per annum - with many becoming volunteers.
As The World Tipped main photo 2 (2014) by Yannick DixonArts Council England
As The World Tipped
Described as ‘a real life disaster movie in the sky’, As The World Tipped was Wired Aerial Theatre’s climate-change show presented by LeftCoast at Blackpool Cricket Club. This was another artistic beacon to extend LeftCoast's reach and ignite relationships with local people.
In 2017, LeftCoast co-commissioned internationally-acclaimed Australian artists: Circa to bring their spellbinding DEPART show to Blackpool's Stanley Park. Professional acrobats, aerialists, and film-makers played alongside amateur choirs, dancers and volunteers from across the Fylde Coast - co-creating an unforgettable, theatrical experience.
ITV Ident 2 (2020) by ITVArts Council England
By that time, LeftCoast volunteers were firmly embedded in the delivery of spectacular artworks. One of the company’s volunteers is Adam Mclean who has been involved in several LeftCoast projects over the past six years.
Interview with Adam Mclean
"My advice for anybody who wants to do things with LeftCoast is just run with it. Absolutely run with it. Because you'll have a ball."
RUSH performance photo (2018) by Claire GriffithsArts Council England
Adam's next steps
Adam joined 100+ community performers in RUSH - a dance and projection-mapping masterpiece co-created with local residents for Blackpool's 2018 Lightpool Festival. Other volunteers ushered 2000 people in Bonny St carpark, which had been transformed into a giant outdoor theatre.
RUSH 18 was the brain-child of Robby Graham (Southpaw Dance Company). The narrative was shaped by local people who rehearsed and performed with local dancers and Southpaw. It was a flagship collaboration of both people and place that made epic art with transformational outcomes.
ITV approached LeftCoast to produce a unique artwork for their Creates series of idents. Due to ITV’s driver to be a ‘social purpose’ broadcaster, the ident needed to be made by an arts organisation and community group with a shared interest in shaping ‘culture for good'.
LeftCoast in London
In February 2019, the LeftCoast team travelled to London with a group of volunteers who had participated in RUSH (including Adam), to create and film the ident at the ITV studios.
Artist Sarah Harris came up with the concept of ‘positive release’, which involved throwing paint-filled balloons at a large canvas with the anecdotal benefits of volunteering written upon them. This explosion of colour used 200 balloons and 70 litres of paint.
Blackpool Way (2021) by Claire GriffithsArts Council England
During the pandemic, LeftCoast continued to make work at scale. Along with Showtown (Blackpool’s museum of fun) and local dance organisation, House of Wingz, the Get Dancing partnership crowd-sourced a new social dance in the second lockdown called the Blackpool Way.
This was devised from 125 choreographic suggestions submitted from across the globe. By Spring 2021, it was being taught on doorsteps in Blackpool communities to alleviate boredom and combat isolation.
The Blackpool Way
When restrictions were lifted, a cinematic film was made of the Blackpool Way by WASH Studio starring over 100 local people. The film captures the inimitable spirit and diversity of the town’s rich, dance heritage. Watch film here.
Lightpool (2017) by Claire GriffithsArts Council England
The Blackpool Way featured in the 2022 Lightpool festival as part of the illumination season. Lightpool is hosted by a large number of resident volunteers who guide visitors along its art trails and escort them into its performance spaces. To join in with them click here.
LeftCoast website: https://leftcoast.org.uk/
As The World Tipped: https://leftcoast.org.uk/as-the-world-tipped/
ITV Ident: https://leftcoast.org.uk/itvcreates/
Get Dancing: https://leftcoast.org.uk/getdancing/
Title slide credit: Visit Blackpool
The story was curated by LeftCoast as part of Arts Council's Northern Stories collection.