Category Archives: Paradise Lost

Phoenix Dance Theatre – Particle Velocity

The Observer
Luke Jennings

Phoenix dance theatre is on a high. With new purpose-built premises in Leeds, and a charismatic director in Sharon Watson, the 10-strong ensemble is ready to take on the world. On Tuesday night, with a cold wind slicing off the sea, a small but enthusiastic crowd bundled into the Connaught theatre to catch Phoenix’s latest programme, Particle Velocity.

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Reflections on the dance phenomenon at Harehills Middle School by Nadine Senior

by Nadine Senior, dance UK

Nadine Senior, Founder of Northern School of Contemporary Dance, reflects on the incredible success of her work as a dance teacher at Harehills Middle School in the 1970s and 1980s.

How it began

In 1970, I was appointed Head of Physical Education in an all-girls high school in Leeds. Many of the girls in this inner city, multi-cultural school had behavioural problems and one of them eventually burnt the school to the ground, though fortunately no one was hurt. Thereafter, we simply moved into the boys’ school which was on the same campus.

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Back to school?

BBC Leeds

Harehills Middle School has been transformed into a multi-purpose unit catering for start-ups, established businesses and even features a restaurant serving African cuisine.

The landmark, grade II-listed Victorian building on Harehills Road was formerly known as Gipton Board School and Gipton Council School. The old school has been reborn as Shine – a building for start-ups, established businesses and the arts.

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Picture of Chapeltown ‘unbiased’

Paradise Lost, BBC2
Yorkshire Evening Post
10 March 1979

A BBC programme portraying urban decay in Chapeltown, Leeds, received a mixed reaction in the area today.

City“, a 35-minute documentary on BBC 2 last night gave an extreme impression of life in the suburb, said a senior community relations officer.

However, he praised the prominence given to the pupils at Harehills Middle School rehearsing for their production of Paradise Lost.

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Paradise Lost, BBC2

Stephanie Ferguson’s Viewpoint
Yorkshire Evening Post
10 March 1979

IT COULD have been down-town Harlem or even the Brazil Carnival, but it wasn’t. The opening shots of urban decay and the smiling faces that live among it took us nearer home to Chapeltown, Leeds, in “City” (BBC-2), the first of six programmes on life in our towns.

 “Paradise Lost” was not the usual warts and all probe into the red light and twilight zones. Instead we saw the Tiger Bay of Leeds through the eyes of its youngest residents, the pupils of Harehills Middle School and in particular Orlando Weeks.

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Schoolboy hope to bleak resignation

Sean Day-Lewis
The Times
10 March 1979

The once popular adult cliché about schooltime as the happiest days of your life was always sadly defeatist: they are slow days but a fleeting time when placed in the three-score-years-and-ten allotted at least to Mrs Average.

That the old saying can sometimes contain an element of truth was poignantly illuminated last night with BBC-2‘s Paradise Lost.

This vivid opener of “City,” a six-part series from BBC Manchester which will illustrate various aspects of inner-city decay, was carefully photographed and edited to establish the maximum contrast between smiling hope at the beginning of the ‘teens and bleak resignation at the end of them.

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Paradise Lost, City, BBC2 (1979)

8.0 New Series
Paradise Lost
Radio Times
9 March 1979

Six films about inner cities now – seen through the eyes of those who live and work in them.

Chapeltown in Leeds. Back-to-back housing, high unemployment and low morale; a multi-racial, often violent, example of urban decay. A group of enthusiastic 12-year olds, encouraged and guided by dedicated teacher Nadine Senior, is preparing for the school’s Christmas production, this year Milton’s Paradise Lost/