Lucy Meredith, Natasha Glew, Zoe Parker    Photo: Maria Spadafora
Lucy Meredith, Natasha Glew, Zoe Parker Photo: Maria Spadafora

Synchronised swimming comes to dry land in a new arts project to be presented by Yorkshire Life Aquatic at Mandela Gardens, outside The Civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley on Friday 30th August
(3.15 & 4.15pm). Yorkshire Life Aquatic are also working with Bramley Baths in Leeds, where they are currently running Mermaid swimming workshops, with performances scheduled there for 29th September.

Yorkshire Life Aquatic was founded by Yorkshire based creatives Zoe Parker, ex- synchronised swimmer Lucy Meredith, Ellen McAuslan, Natasha Glew and Carolyn Eden, working with local musician Jamie Fletcher and photographer Lizzie Coombes. Featuring six performers, the team has developed a routine combining vintage synchronised swimming techniques with physical theatre under the guidance of choreographer Zoe Parker.

The open-air performance in Barnsley will see a group of modern day mermaids demonstrate synchronised swimming without getting wet! ‘Million Dollar Mermaids’ is an homage to the golden age of Hollywood when stars like Esther Williams graced the silver screen in films like Million Dollar Mermaid – which gives the project its name.

“We wanted to work with the beautiful vintage look, using movement inspired by synchronised swimming techniques”, said Zoe. “We created the routine working in and out of the water with movements specifically designed for the water feature and rock structure in Barnsley. It’s a perfect setting.”

The piece was developed at West Yorkshire Playhouse in June this year as part of the theatre’s Summer Sublets, where the final two Mermaids, Jennifer Nevin and Keeley Lane were recruited.

The performances are part of a Mermaid Gala in Barnsley, an afternoon of family fun, including musical entertainment, a exhibition of underwater photography by Lizzie Coombes, and a range of activities – including a traditional seaside face-in-hole photo-booth, vintage teas and a hula hoop workshop.

To accompany the project, Yorkshire Life Aquatic have been gathering photographs and stories for their ‘Vintage Swimwear’ pin up story board, a collection of images up until the 1980s. Visitors will be able to read about seaside and swimming memories and add their own, so bring your vintage pictures along.

For full details, visit or follow @YorksLifeAqua



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