Interwoven to celebrate district’s textile heritage at Dewsbury Minster event

Interwoven is set to celebrate the rich heritage of North Kirklees’ shoddy and mungo textile industry, through music and performance.

By Jessica Barton
Monday, 25th April 2022, 6:00 am
The performance will take place on Friday, May 6, at Dewsbury Minster.
The performance will take place on Friday, May 6, at Dewsbury Minster.

Interwoven is set to celebrate the rich heritage of North Kirklees’ shoddy and mungo textile industry, through music and performance.

The performance, which will take place at Dewsbury Minster on May 6, will celebrate the area’s heritage as well as its connections to present day environmental issues in the modern textile industry.

The Interwoven ensemble will be made up of tabla and harmonium, brass from Hanson Arts, along with folk singers Ruth and Sadie Price, who will be performing the premiere of “Round and Around: The Story of Shoddy in Song”, written especially for the project and inspired by the textile industry stories of local people.

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Hardeep Sahota, freelance artist and oral historian for the project, worked alongside Mandeep Samra, who together collated the stories for the project which inspired the writing of the music.

Hardeep said: “We have been collating the stories by going into the communities and finding out more about Dewsbury and its past.

“Previously in our other projects we have looked at migration stories, which was an element we wanted to explore

“Looking at how those different communities came together through arts and culture and what the working environment was like for them - that was the starting point.

“Dr John Parkinson also talked about the whole recycling element to the shoddy and mungo industry and how recycling and sustainability is relevant these days as well.

“It is amazing to start to hear these new sounds, cultural collaborations and the new soundscape that is created from it.”

These stories were then passed onto Boff Whalley, who wrote the music for the performance based on people's real-life experiences of working in the textile industry in Dewsbury.

Boff said: “I love writing songs about history and to hear people talking about their lives and working in an industry for 40-50 years, it completely brings it to life.

“They all come up with little phrases that you wouldn’t find in a history book - lovely little stories - and the song writes itself.

“Once we had hit on the idea that the whole shoddy thing was about recycling, it just made so much sense and musically it was great.

“We can have the cyclical tune that can keep going round, just like the mill machinery goes round, and how the stories get passed from generation to generation - it just all fits so nicely.”

As well as the music written by Boff, the evening will also include performances from Batley poet Ahmad Lunat, dancers Lisa Heywood and Priya Sundar performing Morris-Natyam, and local contemporary folk singer Maddie Morris.

Commissioned by Kirklees Council, Hatch is delivering 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.

Alison McIntyre, project manager and director at Hatch, said: “Hopefully the project will generate a lot of local pride.

“The tickets are pay what you decide after the event so, people don’t have to pay if they can’t or find that they don’t want to for any reason

“We wanted to do that because it is quite a different thing and we want to encourage people to come even if they can’t afford to.

“We also have a pop-up space on Foundry Street in Dewsbury where we are going to have an exhibition running for two weeks.

“We have said that if people do want to come to the exhibition space and walk down with us to the performance on May 6, then we are happy to do that to break down any barriers people may have.

“The performance is the tip of the iceberg but beneath that there is all of this other exciting stuff that is happening.”

The exhibition, talks and workshops begin on Saturday, April 30 and run until Sunday, May 15, between 11am - 3pm, Wednesday to Sunday, at 17 Foundry Street, Dewsbury, WF13 1QH.

The workshops and talks include:

The Shoddy Factory workshop – Saturday, April 30, 1pm - 3pm.

Family folk music workshop - Sunday, May 1, 3pm - 4pm.

Modern day shoddy talk with John Parkinson from Iinouiio - Wednesday, May 4, 6pm - 7pm.

T-shirt yarn crochet workshop - Thursday, May 5, 5pm - 7pm.

Embroidery for longer lasting clothes workshop - Friday, May 6, 4.30pm - 6.30pm.

Dance: Social workshop - Saturday, May 7, 2pm - 3pm.

3D textile collage workshop - Sunday, May 8, 2pm - 4pm.

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

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

The performance will take place on Friday, May 6, at 7.30pm at Dewsbury Minster, Vicarage Road, Dewsbury, WF12 8DD.

Tickets are pay what you decide after the event, and are available through the Woven website at woveninkirklees.co.uk