Interwoven performance at Dewsbury Minster celebrates district’s textile heritage

Interwoven celebrated the rich heritage of North Kirklees’ shoddy and mungo textile industry, through music and performance last Friday night.

By Jessica Barton
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 2:00 pm

The performance, which took place at Dewsbury Minster, celebrated the area’s heritage, its connections to present day environmental issues in the modern textile industry and culture.

The two-hour performance - hosted by Farah Jabeen - involved four acts, including the performance of “Round and Around: The Story of Shoddy in Song”, which was inspired by people's real-life experiences of working in the textile industry.

The first act, contemporary folk singer Maddie Morris - winner of the BBC Radio Two Young Folk Award in 2019 - performed four contemporary folk songs, heavily influenced by traditional English vocal traditions and protest songs.

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The performance took place at Dewsbury Minster on Friday, May 6.

The second act then saw Lisa Heywood and Priya Sundar perform a fusion of two traditional dance styles; English Morris Dance and the Bharatanatyam dance of Southern India - creating Morris-Natyam.

Lisa said: “We have been dancing together since around 2015.

“It has been an ongoing project and the performance tonight is a smaller part of a larger show of Morris-Natyam - which is a full-length theatre piece.”

Priya added: “It has been fantastic to perform live after Covid-19 and the energy today at Dewsbury Minster has been fantastic.

The performance was hosted by Farah Jabeen

“A live audience is very important for performers such as myself and Lisa.”

A poetry reading from Ahmed Lunat OBE then followed after a 15 minute interval.

Host Farah Jabeen took to the stage alongside Ahmed to translate the poems read in Gujarati into English.

Ahmed’s poems were inspired by the local stories of the textile industry that had been gathered for the project.

Contemporary folk singer Maddie Morris.

The final act of the night was from the Interwoven ensemble who performed the premiere of “Round and Around: The Story of Shoddy in Song”, written especially for the project and inspired by the textile industry and the stories of local people.

The ensemble was made up of tabla and harmonium, brass from Hanson Arts, along with folk singers Ruth and Sadie Price.

Sadie said: “It was really nice to be able to perform together because we don't live near each other.

“To be together and to be around other people after the last couple of years was really special.

From the left, Lisa Heywood and Priya Sundar.

“Thank you for coming and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.”

An audience member who attended the performance said: "I absolutely loved it, it is something which has really touched me.

"It has brought memories back about my dad who used to tell me about how difficult it was to work in those conditions and what they gave to Dewsbury with being South Asian as well."

Another audience member said: "I thought it was absolutely marvellous and I am amazed at how well it all went together - particularly the last piece and how the brass band, the Indian instruments and the singing all came together - it was just incredible.”

Commissioned by Kirklees Council, Hatch delivered this performance as part of the bigger Woven festival project, which next takes place in June 2023.

Hatch establishes and hosts events for communities to create, make and debate, with a collective interest in how art can make a real difference to people’s lives.

From the left, Ruth and Sadie Price.

The project is also running an exhibition, talks and workshops which are being held at 17 Foundry Street, Dewsbury, WF13 1QH.

The workshops that are yet to come include:

Weaving words poetry workshop - Saturday, May 14, 2pm - 3pm.

Gini’s Dorset buttons workshop - Sunday, May 15, 12pm - 2pm.

For more information and to keep up to date with other Woven projects, visit https://woveninkirklees.co.uk/

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Interwoven to celebrate district’s textile heritage at Dewsbury Minster event
The Interwoven ensemble who performed the premiere of “Round and Around: The Story of Shoddy in Song”.