Yaku Stapleton and Harry Clayton-Wright: Hidden High Street Artist Commissions

We are excited to announce we have commissioned new artists Harry Clayton-Wright and Yaku Stapleton for our project Hidden High Street Histories of New Briggate.

This is part of Historic England’s national High Street Heritage Action Zone programme; a 3 year Heritage, Cultural and Engagement Programme exploring the past, present and future of our high streets.

West Yorkshire based Harry Clayton-Wright will be collaborating with Marlborough Productions to uncover the untold Queer histories associated with this part of the City. They will explore submerged stories and how bringing them to light can create change in the present day. Through creative research the duo aim to vision what a genuinely safer high street looks like and feels like for LGBTIQ+ people in the city and work to make sure history is being made proudly and openly.

Harry is a performance artist, writer and radical creator whose work spans theatre, installation, zine and film. Harry’s debut solo theatre show Sex Education premiered in 2017 winning the LGBTQ award at Brighton Fringe Festival and was nominated for a Total Theatre Award (Emerging Artist/Company) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019. Harry was also selected as one of British Council’s Artists to Watch as part of the Edinburgh Showcase 2019.

Marlborough Productions Led by David Sheppeard and Tarik Elmoutawakil, is a leading UK producer of queer-led, intersectional performance, parties and radical community gatherings. Since 2018 they have produced the flagship national touring projects New Queers on the Block and Brownton Abbey co-creating contemporary LGBTQ+ culture with communities across the UK. Since 2012 Marlborough Productions has delivered Queer in Brighton & Queer Heritage South an ambitious programme of LGBTIQ+ heritage activities including publications, community curated exhibitions, popular queer history club and in 2021 a community generated digital archive supported by University of Sussex.

Leeds-based Yaku Stapleton will be exploring the history of performance on New Briggate taking a deeper look into community, fashion, clothing and costume that has been present here over the years. Yaku would like to reimagine clothing for the communities in Leeds today using sculptural processes, sound and working with dancers.

Yaku specialises in fashion design and recently graduated from Leeds Beckett University with first-class honours. His practice also includes sculpture and sound installation. Taking reference from nature and human form, Yaku uses sculptural processes to develop designs resulting in wearable artwork.

Both artists will be in residence with East Street Arts, Leeds City Council and the New Briggate consortium (Opera North, Leeds Heritage Theatres, Leeds Civic Trust, North Bar, The Churches Conservation Trust and Age-uk) initially doing research on the High Street.

Watch this space for more exciting news to come!


Image credits:

Rosie Powell

Avatars / Environments – @talia_3d / @miss.beretta.illustration

Dance stills – Shot by @isaaclawrencebrown

Performed by @cocopopkid & @bboy_radio

Photos of Yaku- oscar_finnie


Other things!