This November, Barnsley ballerina Tala Lee-Turton is performing at Elsecar Heritage Centre in a first-of-its kind production.
On Thursday 16th November, Tala will turn the vast Ironworks building at Elsecar into an immersive theatre for a live performance of her newest production, parler femme.
The dance-based production will see three acts depicting inspiring stories about women. Tala, a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia, has worked with various female creatives to bring together the magic of live dance performances, screen-based storytelling, and immersive technology that tell a rich and varied array of stories by women.
parler femme is going on tour in Yorkshire this autumn, starting with an invite-only dress rehearsal at Production Park in Wakefield on 6th November. It then goes to the home of Northern Ballet, Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds on 9th November, followed by The Playhouse Theatre in Sheffield on 11th November.
And Tala is excited to be bringing her work back to her hometown of Barnsley.
“At Elsecar it will certainly be different to other venues on the tour and I’m really excited to be performing there. The building is a beautiful but massive space with this amazing exposed brick. We’re essentially building a working theatre space from scratch. But it’s going to be really immersive so the audience will feel part of the show thanks to the story telling and cutting-edge lighting and video design of extended reality.
“Barnsley Council wanted to do something innovative with the space at Elsecar and have been really supportive. I always aim for my work to have a Barnsley connection, whether that’s thematic, or through development or performances in Barnsley and parler femme has done all three of those things.”
The first act is a short compilation of dance films that will be viewed with different dynamics. It includes Tala’s award-winning Chinese Laundry that follows a Chinese immigrant trying to fit in with life in South Yorkshire, dedicated to her paternal family’s heritage.
Act two will be a premiere of Here Lies, a multi-layered dance and music duet between Tala and multi-disciplinary musician. Tala has been working on Here Lies since last September, taking up residency at Leeds based Yorkshire Dance to focus on research and development of the production which tells the tale of two estranged sisters who reconnect after the death of their grandmother.
The final act is an indoor performance of contemporary ballet, No Time Like the Present, which was performed at nearby Wentworth Woodhouse last year. An audience favourite, five dancers perform to a synth-pop score, exploring power and femininity. As part of parler femme, there is a new set and new costumes.
parler femme has been made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England. This is the second award of ACE funding for Tala Lee-Turton Productions, marking their commitment to supporting bold and ambitious dance-based experiences that tell stories from different perspectives.
Tala says: “I’m really proud of being awarded the opportunity to realise parler femme by all my funders, Arts Council England, Barnsley Museums, Sheffield City Council and Graysons Solicitors. Dance funding is hard to come by. I always knew I wanted to share a triple bill with Yorkshire audiences and had a clear notion of what I wanted it to look like. After four years of work, I’m overjoyed to be celebrating women creatives and their stories through immersive dance.”
Where to buy tickets
Sheffield performance: The Playhouse Theatre, Saturday 11th November from 8pm £14 or £12 for concessions
Barnsley performance: The Ironworks at Elsecar, Thursday 16th November from 7.30pm £12
Tickets for all venues can be bought online at www.talaleeturton.com