The Leaveners are a performing arts organisation consisting of members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). They started at performance but most simply seeking to help people express their spirituality through a creative medium.
- "The Leaveners welcomes anyone whether a Friend or not to experience the power of the creative spirit to release energy, vision and a commitment. Through the use of participatory art, especially music and drama, we aim to give expression to contemporary Quaker values and faith and to raise awareness of issues of social injustice, non-violence and spirituality."
The Leaveners work falls into three areas: Quaker Youth Theatre, Quaker Music Making and Words, Signs & Vibes. Although The Leaveners are one organisation, they often work as individual groups; most of their larger projects involve more than one of these groups and many participants are involved in more than one of the groups.
Quaker Youth Theatre Edit
Quaker Youth Theatre (QYT) is committed to promoting the values of The Leaveners and Quakerism amongst Young Friends, and primarily uses residential workshops and projects to do this. QYT is the longest running project of The Leaveners, and began in 1978 with a street theatre performance at Britain Yearly Meeting. From these roots, they have grown into running week-long projects dedicated to producing a single piece of amateur theatre. Primarily based in Birmingham, they have put on plays in the Crescent Theatre, as well as in meeting houses across Britain.
Quaker Music Making Edit
In addition to annual projects, The Leaveners also offer singing workshops to Quaker Meetings. Although some projects require musical proficiency, they also endeavour to make music accessible to everyone, and thus changed their name to Quaker Music Making, from Quaker Festival Orchestra and Chorus in 1997.
Words, Signs & Vibes Edit
Words, Signs & Vibes (W,S&V) works with partially hearing and hearing young people, both Quaker and non-Quaker. They run a weekly drama group for young people, and also hold 1 or 2 week-long projects each year, usually during school holidays.
As a charity, the Leaveners are supported by donations from its participants, families thereof, monthly meetings and its dedicated patrons:
- Judi Dench
- Sheila Hancock
- Ben Kingsley
- John Whitney
- Anna Wing
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