The Fashionable Lounge – bringing generations together through artivities at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall

Intergenerational work is incredibly important in today’s society as both young people and older people can feel cut off and isolated from their community. It’s a great way of bringing two groups together and encouraging the groups to see the benefit of spending time with one another.

The Fashionable Lounge is a group of people over 60 years old, who come together once a month in the Circle Bar at City Varieties Music Hall to socialise, take part in arts activities and most of all, have fun.  The group is a great opportunity for members to discuss theatre and the arts, to play games and eat cake!

Laura Cope, Learning Officer, Leeds Grand Theatre and City Varieties Music Hall explains how the group came to be and what happens when they meet.

We recently received some funding from Leeds Older People Forum to deliver an intergenerational project with a group of school children.  The aim of the project was to promote spending time with older people to the younger generation.

Eleven students from Kippax Ash Tree Primary School came in to spend an afternoon with the group and to interview our members about their lives.  Beforehand, I went into school to brief the students on what to expect during the session and to teach them interviewing techniques.   The pupils had the opportunity to discuss what they wanted to find out and they decided that they wanted to focus on what childhood was like when members of the Fashionable Lounge were young.  The pupils were very interested in the prospect of childhood without TV, Ipads and the internet!

When the pupils arrived, we played a few get to know you games so we all felt comfortable with each other.  The pupils then got paired up with members of the Fashionable Lounge so that they could interview them about their lives.

Walking around the room, I heard many interesting stories, for example Leah, one of our members was telling her group what it was like to grow up in South Africa and another member Jack was talking all about his experiences of World War II.

The pupils then fed back to the group what they had found out and they also got a chance to act out one of the stories and the members of the Fashionable Lounge had to guess which story it was and who it was about.

We all had a fantastic afternoon and it was a really nice way for the two generations to get together and take part in activities in a fun and informal way.

The afternoon was so successful that the Learning Team at Leeds Grand Theatre and City Varieties Music Hall are going to use this as a pilot project and apply for more funding to hopefully deliver more intergenerational work in future.

Why is it called the Fashionable Lounge?

When the City Varieties Hall was first opened in 1855 it was a room above a pub (The Swan) and by 1865 had evolved into the space we know today but was originally called Thornton’s Fashionable Lounge.

We look forward to hearing more tales from the Fashionable Lounge and future intergenerational projects.

This group is open to anyone over 60 years old.  If you are interested in joining the Fashionable Lounge, please contact or call: 0113 3917783




About betterlivesleeds

Health, social and age-related care services working together to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing
This entry was posted in Active ageing, Age Friendly, Intergenerational, older people and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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