'There are children in Holbeck without crayons. Living in a city with an opera company. An opera company paid for with money from all of us. Until everyone has crayons no one gets opera. That’s what I believe.'
A deeply moving memoir of how a group of artists fed their local community during the Covid pandemic.
When crisis hits, and audiences stay home, what’s the most useful thing a theatre company can do? The answer was to become a food bank and one-stop-help-shop for those in need. In fifteen months, Slung Low would go on to deliver over 15,000 food parcels.
Alan Lane is Artistic Director of Slung Low, an award-winning theatre company based in the oldest surviving working men’s club in the UK. Slung Low specialise in making large scale productions in non-theatre spaces with community performers at their heart. During the Covid crisis, the company was the ward lead for social care referrals in Holbeck and Beeston, nearly 8000 homes in South Leeds. They ran a non-means tested self-referral food bank from March 2020 to June 2021. Lane was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to South Leeds during the crisis.
‘This is an amazing story of remarkable people doing their very best in an unprecedented time for the world. This book demands that we revise our ideas about what theatre companies are for, what community art can be, and what people really need to live a full and productive life. Read this and be challenged and uplifted!' Ian McMillan
‘I absolutely love this book. Read it!’ Lemn Sissay, author of My Name Is Why.
'I’ve never met Alan Lane, but I get the impression from his social media that he’s not a man to flinch. So it wasn’t a surprise that this memoir of a pandemic year, like his responses to the challenges it threw up, is both unflinching and uncompromising. He brings humour and humanity to the stories he tells and is simultaneously realistic about how things are and visionary about how they could be. The pandemic exposed the vast divides between those who have and those who don’t, but Alan and Slung Low decided to tell a different story, and then to do whatever they could to make it true. At times challenging, yet always inspiring, TheClub on the Edge of Town captures that story: the best of us, in the worst of times.' Baroness Deborah Bull
‘Direct, honest and completely compelling; Alan’s story is more than just a memoir of the pandemic, it’s a manifesto on how to make the world a better place. It’s the story of two worlds thrown together in the toughest of circumstances, trying to love, help and understand each other. What could be more relevant to our times!’Sophie Willan