Interwoven is intended to celebrate the rich heritage of North Kirklees’ shoddy and mung textile industry, through music and performance.
The show, which will take place at Dewsbury Minster on May 6, will celebrate the region’s heritage as well as its links to the current environmental issues of the modern textile industry.
The Interwoven ensemble will feature tabla and harmonium, brass from Hanson Arts, plus folk singers Ruth and Sadie Price, who will perform the premiere of “Round and Around: The Story of Shoddy in Song,” written especially for the project and inspired by the stories of the textile industry of local people.
Hardeep Sahota, a freelance artist and oral historian for the project, worked alongside Mandeep Samra, who brought together the stories of the project that inspired the writing of the music.
Hardeep said: “We gathered the stories by visiting the communities and finding out more about Dewsbury and its past.
“Previously in our other projects we looked at stories of migration, something we wanted to explore
“Looking at how these different communities came together through arts and culture and what their working environment was like – that was the starting point.
“Dr John Parkinson also talked about the whole recycling element in the shoddy and mung industry and the relevance of recycling and sustainability these days as well.
“It’s amazing to start hearing these new sounds, these cultural collaborations and the new soundscape that comes with it.”
These stories were then passed on to Boff Whalley, who wrote the music for the show based on the real experiences of working people in the textile industry in Dewsbury.
Boff said, “I love writing songs about history and hearing people talk about their life and working in an industry for 40 to 50 years, it completely brings it to life.
“They all come up with little phrases that you wouldn’t find in a history book – cute little stories – and the song writes itself.
“Once we got the idea that all this shoddy stuff was about recycling, it made so much sense and musically it was awesome.
“We can have the cyclical melody that can keep spinning, just like the machines in the factory are spinning, and how the stories are passed down from generation to generation – it’s all so good.”
In addition to music written by Boff, the evening will also include performances by poet Batley Ahmad Lunat, dancers Lisa Heywood and Priya Sundar performing Morris-Natyam, and local contemporary folk singer Maddie Morris.
Commissioned by Kirklees Council, Hatch presents this performance as part of the larger Woven festival project, taking place in June 2023.
Hatch curates and hosts events for communities to create, do and debate, with a collective interest in how art can make a real difference in people’s lives.
Alison McIntyre, Project Manager and Director at Hatch, said: “Hopefully the project will generate a lot of local pride.
“Tickets pay for what you decide after the event, so people don’t have to pay if they can’t or find out they don’t want to for some reason
“We wanted to do this because it’s totally different and we want to encourage people to come even if they can’t afford it.
“We also have a pop-up space on Foundry Street in Dewsbury where we will be holding an exhibition for two weeks.
“We said if people want to come into the exhibit space and come down with us to the show on May 6, then we’re happy to do that to break down any barriers people might have.
“Performance is just the tip of the iceberg, but underneath there are all these other exciting things going on.”
The exhibition, talks and workshops start on Saturday April 30 and run until Sunday May 15, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday, at 17 Foundry Street, Dewsbury, WF13 1QH.
Workshops and conferences include:
The Shoddy Factory workshop – Saturday April 30, 1pm – 3pm.
Family folk music workshop – Sunday May 1, 3-4 p.m.
Low-Quality Modern Conversation with Iinouiio’s John Parkinson – Wednesday, May 4, 6-7pm.
T-shirt yarn crochet workshop – Thursday May 5, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Embroidery workshop for more sustainable clothing – Friday May 6, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Dance: Social workshop – Saturday May 7, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
3D textile collage workshop – Sunday May 8, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Word-weaving poetry workshop – Saturday May 14, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Gini’s Dorset button workshop – Sunday May 15, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
The performance will take place on Friday 6th May at 7.30pm at Dewsbury Minster, Vicarage Road, Dewsbury, WF12 8DD.
Tickets pay what you decide after the event and are available on the Woven website at woveninkirklees.co.uk