Your Local Arena

Welcome to Your Local Arena, a unique UK tour featuring iconic films from the BBC’s Arena archives, the pioneering cultural documentary series. Come and watch these classic films and then hear brand new poems inspired by them, take part in lively talks about them or participate in thought-provoking writing workshops linked to them. From March to December 2020, Your Local Arena will be coming to a UK festival or venue near you.

Upcoming Events: Autumn events now and soon

6-10 October 2020: Caribbean Nights: Calypso, Carnival and Steel Pan and Three Kings of Calypso – YLA with Ilkley Literature Festival – online

A Caribbean Journey – YLA with Writing on the Wall, Liverpool – online

9-18 October 2020: Them and Uz – YLA with Durham Book Festival – online

23-25 October 2020: The Ballad of Ewan MacColl – YLA with Manchester Literature Festival – Digital Weekend

Your Local Arena is an original ‘film meets literature’ concept developed jointly by Lucy Hannah and Speaking Volumes and funded by Arts Council England. Its creative consultant is Arena’s award-winning director/editor Anthony Wall. Together we’ve matched each festival to an Arena film that relates in some way to the local area and invited great speakers to explore its themes. From working-class Britain to Caribbean writers, football to nineties’ music, there is something for everyone.

In the current climate, Your Local Arena is going digital to still provide an online expereince with the same festivals and venues where it was originally going to be seen. This page will give information on all forthcoming events. We’ll also share Anthony Wall’s introductions to each film and the new poems commissioned from some of the best and brightest poets around. After each event you’ll also be able to enjoy listening to audio interviews and watching video clips from each locality. In these ways, Your Local Arena online will build a mosaic of modern Britain and show how its cultural past gives us inspiration for the future.

See producer Lucy Hannah’s website for more information about the project, events and films:

Past Events:

Find out who was involved, what the events entailed, read the commissioned poems and watch the videos made in response to the original Arena films.

T S Eliot – YLA with Small Wonder Festival – online

The Banana – YLA with Bristol Libraries – online

Three Faces of Bradford – YLA with Bradford Literature Festival – online

Carribean Nights: Poetry – Your Local Arena with the George Padmore Institute – online

The Football MenYour Local Arena with Writing on the Wall, Liverpool – online

City Central – Your Local Arena with Southbank Centre – online

Life Writing Liverpool Results

To mark the end of the football season and Liverpool’s win, we have made some of the best entries to the life writing workshop, delivered by Tony Wailey, around the YLA event on The Football Men at Writing on the Wall (WOW) festival available for you to read – take a look at them here.


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