Arts at the Arms returns with Farsley performing arts event

arts at the arms
James Underwood and Chris O'Connor, founders of Arts at the Arms. Photo Credit: Dr Martin Hendry

Words: Faye Dawson

A performing arts event dedicated to showcasing talented creatives from Yorkshire set to get back on the road in Farsley this month.

Arts at the Arms began life two years ago at the Cardigan Arms pub in Burley.

Founded by Pudsey playwright Chris O’Connor [The Trial, The Parting Glass] and actor James Underwood [The B*st#rd, Leeds Lads], Arts at the Arms was created to give voice to high-quality creative works in small, relaxed venues.

Carolyn Eden in Arts at the Arms. Photo: Dr Martin Hendry

“James and I have been friends for more than a decade, originally meeting over a pint back in the Old Bar at Leeds University Union” says Chris.

“A few years later we returned to the pub with a new aim – to support new work by Yorkshire-based creatives with an evening of performing arts. And Arts at the Arms was born!”

Two became three when the pair were joined by Leeds-based Arts Facilitator Lily Craig in 2020.

“Having Lily on board has really strengthened our goals,” Chris continues. “She’s an advocate for making the arts a more open and inclusive space for all which is at the very heart of what we want to achieve.”

The events bring together original theatre, comedy, poetry, music, and more in an evening that promises to energise, excite, and entertain.

“We want to make space for emerging artists in our region because opportunities to make and share creativity should be made available and accessible to everyone,” Lily explains.

“It shouldn’t be restrictive, and we hope our support can provide a springboard for emerging, new, and developing talent in the region. We’re really excited to get back on the road and show off what this great county has to offer.”

Chris O’Connor is a Pudsey-based writer and who has had work produced for stage, radio, and film across a number of venues and platforms such as the The Lyric Theatre, the Leeds Playhouse and BBC Radio. His writing focuses on unheard voices and is motivated by a desire to reflect an ill in the modern world or to shine a light on an area currently overlooked or misunderstood. 

Outside of writing he is heavily involved with Mantality, an organisation focused on men’s mental health, inspiring men to live a more comprehensive version of themselves and equipping them to better understand what it is to be a man. Beyond writing and podcasting, he also teaches and runs writing workshops and is a big Leeds United fan.

Catch Arts at the Arms here:

Wednesday 22nd September  The Constitutional, Farsley at 8pm £8, £5 concession

Thursday 23rd September Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton at 7.30pm £8, £5 concession

Friday 24th September Chapel FM, Seacroft at 8pm £5

More information and booking is available here.

Performances at each venue:

The Rising Sun by James Underwood. Performed by James Underwood and Emma Leah Golding

Two teenage sweethearts are reunited in an English country pub as they now approach 30. Life has brought them back to the small village that they called home and they debate what has changed, what hasn’t, and whether it ever will.

Three Songs For A Funeral by Mitchell Vernalls. Directed by Jonathan Chadwick, performed by Joe Deverell-Smith.

Finding himself in a doctor’s waiting room Frank tries to pick the perfect playlist to soundtrack his life, and possibly his death. Choosing the right song is important because music matters.

Peter Spafford (poetry)

Peter Spafford is a poet, playwright, and musician. His new poetry collection, Frisk, is out with Yaffle. He also works at Chapel FM Arts Centre where he has the slightly sinister title of Director of Words.

Heart to Heart by Chloe McLaughlin. Directed by Elvi Piper, performed by Kate Barkley, Thomas Frere, Alyce Liburd, and Richard Galloway.

In the near future organs are at a premium and reality TV still rules the airways. Join us for a new gameshow where winning over the audience is at the heart of the matter.

Carolyn Eden (comedy) The multi-talented Carolyn is an actor, writer, broadcaster, and comedian. She returns to Arts at the Arms with another stand-up comedy routine having performed at the inaugural event back in 2019.

DREUW (music) – Thursday 23rd Seven Arts, Friday 24th Chapel FM Awaiting the release of his debut E.P, singer songwriter ‘Dreuw’ has been inspired and began a connection to nature and oneness where his honest and raw songs have been born and nurtured.

Pete Yelland-Brown (music) – Wednesday 22nd The Constitutional (only)  Pete is a songwriter & music producer based out of Eiger Studios in South Leeds. He will be performing his original songs acoustically at The Constitutional on the Wednesday night.


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