about leaps

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LEAPS is a local, artist-led, organisation based in the city of Cambridge, UK. We are a non-profit making voluntary society run by an elected committee. LEAPS was started in autumn 1999 by twenty people who began putting on their own events because they couldn't find anywhere in Cambridge to experiment with and develop their performance activities. And this is what LEAPS is: a group that helps people who want to perform to start, experiment, and develop in a friendly and encouraging atmosphere. We are also generating a network of contacts to help performers develop their careers.

At the moment we put on `open-mic'-type events every 4-6 weeks. These are very relaxed cabaret-style evenings which feature a huge variety of performance, from digital music and video collaborations to blue-grass guitar. This mixture of different types and styles means that people are encouraged to collaborate and try out new things. We also meet fortnightly to discuss ideas, give opinions etc. On top of this we hold workshops; arrange for members of LEAPS to perform at other events, such as Digital Disco, Pirate TV, The Digital Arts Festival and the Strawberry Fair; invite professional artists in to perform with and give advice to our members, and put on the Churchill Chapel concerts (electroacoustic music concerts).

Over the next year we intend to continue these activities and improve on them. Each year we also intend to put on several larger more focused events which will act as a showcase for performers who have developed their work to a professional quality.

Our current aims are:

  • Becoming producers
  • Building on previous activities
  • Providing a development path from amateur to professional
  • Providing a platform for innovation, experimentation and an opportunity for beginners to perform for the first time.
  • Encouraging collaboration and interaction between different art forms especially digital technology.
  • Seeking out opportunities for our members.
  • Put on regular open mic gigs (bimonthly).
  • Larger events every four months for the best stuff. These should be something special, visually interesting as well as sonically.
  • Facilities for showing films, sculpture.

In its first year LEAPS received lottery money from Awards for all, a grant from PRS, the Junction Digital Bursary, and an invitation to take part in Heatwave and Creative Cross Currents at CDC.

LEAPS also acknowledges support from Darling and Wood for AV equipment, Cambridge City Council and Os at Collective for providing this webspace.