Mermaids Come to Life in Yorkshire

Synchronised swimming comes to dry land in new arts project.

Venue: Mandela Gardens, outside The Civic, Hanson Street Barnsley S70 2HZ Date: Friday 30th August Performances: 3.15pm & 4.15pm Duration: 15 minutes Event Time: 3.00-5.30pm FREE EVENT Open to all ages An open-air performance will see a group of modern day mermaids take to the land and demonstrate synchronised swimming without getting wet. Well, maybe a little.

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Million Dollar Mermaids, from newly established Yorkshire Life Aquatic, is an homage to a golden age of Hollywood when stars like Esther Williams graced the silver screen in films like Million Dollar Mermaid – which gives the project its name.

Featuring six performers from around Yorkshire, Million Dollar Mermaids is a specially created outdoor performance being premiered on Friday 30th August at Barnsley Civic as part of CARP, their Creative Artistic Residency Programme. The Yorkshire Life Aquatic team has developed a routine combining vintage synchronised swimming techniques with physical theatre under the guidance of choreographer Zoe Parker.

Yorkshire Life Aquatic was founded by Yorkshire based creatives Zoe Parker, ex-synchronised swimmer Lucy Meredith, Ellen McAuslan, Natasha Glew and Carolyn Eden, working with local musician Jamie Fletcher and photographer Lizzie Coombes.

Zoe Parker said: “We wanted to work with the beautiful vintage look, using movement inspired by synchronised swimming techniques and also celebrate the variety of real women and classic strong feminine role models. We created the routine working in and out of the water with movements specifically designed for the water feature and rock structure in Barnsley. It’s a perfect setting.”

The piece was developed at West Yorkshire Playhouse in June this year as part of the theatre’s Summer Sublets, where the final two Mermaids, Jennifer Nevin and Keeley Lane were recruited. The project is being supported by the Arts Council, Leeds Inspired, CARP at Barnsley Civic, Yorkshire Dance, Spin Arts Management and MAAP.

There will be two opportunities for Mermaid sightings, outdoors in Mandela Gardens, next to Barnsley Civic Theatre, with performances on 30th August at 3.15pm and 4.15pm, running for 15 minutes each.

The performances are part of a Mermaid Gala, an afternoon of family fun, inspired by the vintage swimming theme of the project, taking place from 3.00-5.30pm including musical entertainment, a exhibition of underwater photography by Lizzie Coombes, and a range of activities including a traditional seaside face-in-hole photo-booth, vintage tea and cakes and a hula hoop workshop. This is a free to attend event open to all ages.

To accompany the project, Yorkshire Life Aquatic have been gathering photographs and stories for their “Vintage Swimwear” pin up story board, a collection of images of people and water up until the 1980’s, which will be on display on the day. Visitors will be able to read about seaside and swimming memories and add their own, so bring your vintage pictures along.

Yorkshire Life Aquatic are also working with partners Bramley Baths in Leeds and are currently running Mermaid swimming workshops, with performances scheduled there for September 29th.

Full details on twitter: @YorksLifeAqua Barnsley Civic 01226 327 000 Bramley Baths 0113 214 6000

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@The Darton Arrow. Website by Phil Ruston Design & I.T.

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