Or should that be "Herculeeds"? This blog follows the development of a factasy walking tour of Leeds based on the 12 Labours of Hercules. "In the Footsteps of Hercules" will let you walk the city in Hercules' size 14 1/2 shoes, meeting characters from mythology and accomplishing his labours. You too can become a hero and god! And learn about cutting-edge research on Hercules and how he belongs in Leeds to boot.
So far, I've done some thinking and put in some funding bids to realise this as part of Leeds Light Night 2011. I've got a fantastic world expert on Hercules (Herakles to Grecophiles) on board - Emma Stafford - and found two amazing undergraduate researchers willing to help out too. I'm very open to offers from volunteers to help on any aspect - costume-making, putting up posters, folding maps, checking characters are OK on the night etc.
Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me (e.r.okell) on my university address (@leeds.ac.uk).
The 250 word "idea" for the funding bid reads:
Bringing ancient Greek and Roman myth to life in the Leeds landscape, In the Footsteps of Hercules combines cutting-edge classical research with performance art and story-telling in a “factasy” walking tour of Leeds city centre: its public art, architecture, and history.
The walk will take in well-known – and less-well-known – locations in a circular route, including encounters with mythical characters. Participants (hereafter “walkers”) will experience Leeds’ heritage differently by undertaking the journey of Hercules and completing the 12 Labours that enabled him to prove his worth and become a god – an opportunity to be a hero and fill his size 14½ shoes!
Walks may start by obtaining directions/route maps from Hercules’ mother, Alcmene, and his wife, Hebe, in the Ancient Worlds Galleries of Leeds City Museum, but may also be “stumbled upon” by encountering information points and characters with directions to other locations. Each location will have an explanation of the place/architecture and its connection with one of the 12 Labours, together with excerpts from relevant ancient texts. Five locations will also feature masked costumed characters.
Audience interactions with characters will involve on-demand improvised story-telling customised to the individual/group. Improvisations and information points will use research by local historians and a local academic expert on Hercules. For example, Hercules completes his first Labour at the Town Hall, saving the people of Nemea by wrestling a lion - just as today he waits to prevent the Town Hall lions from rampaging through the city if the Town Hall clock strikes thirteen.