Discussing Death in Leeds – engagement activities

My name is Anna and I am a freelance producer working in Leeds. I am currently on a mission set by Unlimited to engage the people of this city with Am I Dead Yet?, their new show about death, dying and how we don’t talk about it enough.

Firstly, we really don’t talk about it enough. When I told friends and family about the talk I was going to on planning a good funeral, no one was that keen on coming with me. Maybe it’s because I am too organised for my own good and the thought of planning my funeral seems like the ultimate ‘tick’ of the To Do List, but I was really excited. Why is there such a taboo around the subject when ultimately it’s an activity we are all going to take part in.

Luckily, there are some amazing people in Leeds who are really good at talking about death. I have found Death Cafes (think cake, tea and a really honest hour with strangers) a great way to meet people – check out their website for one near you.

My research has also pointed me towards organisations like Leeds Bereavement Forum and Dying Matters, who are currently running a fascinating exhibition about death at Leeds City Museum. These guys are pros and run loads of events to get involved in.  

There is even a whole festival dedicated to dying; Pushing Up Daisies in Todmorden is a breath of fresh air when it comes to our final breath. 

I think ultimately the most rewarding part of my engagement work has been talking to student groups and slightly older culture clubs. No matter the age, each participant commented on the fact that usually no one asks them how they want to die. It’s a really beautiful question that allows you to take stock and think about how your life is going at that moment. I recommend asking yourself every now and again.

So where some may have felt a little somber having been assigned a month of death, it’s made me feel more alive!

You can see Am I Dead Yet? in Leeds between Thurs 30 March & Sun 1 April – book tickets

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