The magic of retracing steps

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Over two decades ago, I spent a considerable amount of time in Leeds – working at West Yorkshire Playhouse, preparing for an international tour of a play by Wole Soyinka that was directed by Jude Kelly. I got to know my way around the city centre in those days and now I find myself retracing my steps, working on a new opera project at Opera North.

It turns out that I also worked on a Shakespeare production in the Chapeltown district about ten years ago, which ended up having an international dimension to it, so who knows what the future holds?

It’s an interesting sensation, relying on muscle memory from that long ago to find one’s bearings. I got in touch with some colleagues and associates from my previous jobs before leaving London, and last night I decided to go out for a walk –ostensibly in search of supper, even though the weather conditions were damp and chilly.

As I set out, I debated in my mind about the pros and cons of phoning one of those colleagues. Then I took a turning round a corner and there she was! As if I had made telepathic contact with her. Obviously, this fortuitous coincidence could be attributed to the relatively small size of the city centre compared to what I’m used to in London, but it was still a lovely surprise.

I’m not sure whether I believe in ley lines, or special influences that make unusual things happen when people spend time in specific locations, but I do find that I’ve felt as if I’ve been touched by a magic wand when I’ve visited Leeds and Liverpool in particular.