Here Comes the Night – Clare Sita Fisher interviewed (Leeds Light Night 2014)


This balmy, unseasonable end of days we are all so enjoying is just nature’s sleight of hand. Lurking behind the piercing white of the sun, as it drops lower in the sky of an evening, is the darkness.

Light and dark are twin starting points for How the Light Gets In, Leeds writer Clare Sita Fisher’s contribution to Leeds Light Night 2014. Having run a series of creative writing workshops along that theme in September, this coming Friday’s event promises to be an exciting mix of storytelling, performance and audience participation. “The workshops showed me which elements of light and dark caught people’s imagination,” says Clare, “as well as pointing me in directions I’d have never travelled on my own.”

Having been “blown away” by last year’s Light Night, the chance to be involved in this year’s event was too good an opportunity to pass up. “The brief highlighted the need for the final piece to be interactive and involving for audiences – a constraint I found liberating as it pushed me to work in different ways.”

As a writer and editor, Fisher has won a number of awards, including London’s Spread the Word Writer’s Prize in 2013, but How the Light Gets In is something new. Actors will perform micro-stories evolving out of the various workshops leading into the project. Although written by Fisher, these will incorporate “phrases and ideas that people came up with.” The performances explore the public and the private spaces we occupy, and as symbolised in the interplay between light and dark.

“The installation will evolve over the course of the evening as people contribute their own ideas,” Clare says. “They’ll have the chance to write their own responses and opinions to the performed stories by writing on display walls and postcards, which they can then display in the installation space” (the local artist space in Leeds Central Library).

The intention behind How the Light Gets In is to entertain audiences and to inspire them. “I hope people hear or see a story, a word, an idea, which tilts their view of the world just a little,” says Clare. “This is the first time I’ve written in something approaching a collaborative way and I’ve really enjoyed it; I’d definitely like to do more things like this in the future.”

Ideas about light and dark might be said to extend to Fisher’s other writing concerns also. Maintaining a fascination with Leeds and London her first novel is set between the two. (She has previously published The City In My Head, a fictional tour of London, and her own addition to the psycho-geographical landscapes charted by writers such as Iain Sinclair and Geoffrey Fletcher). She says she feels like “an insider and an outsider to both cities in different ways.”

“The thing I love about London, is it’s edgeless; you can dive into it and swim around, coming across new people, new places, new ideas and movements, seemingly forever,” says Clare before adding ruefully. “It saddens and angers me to see how all these benefits are becoming more and more exclusively accessible to the rich. I wonder how much ‘edgy’ arts stuff will really be happening there in five or ten years time..? Maybe it will all be up north!”

On Friday, that is precisely where it is going to be. Leeds Light Night 2014 is going to be brilliant. Come along and be a part of it – and hold back the darkness for just a wee while longer.

How the Light Gets In – 3rd October, 5.00-10.00 pm, Local Artists Space, Central Library, Leeds

Part of Leeds Night Light 2014 – 50 Free Arts Events across the city.