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Lizzie Coombes

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A Day of the Dead celebration and wake to the Grief Series 

27th Oct - 4th Nov 2023 Leeds Playhouse and Leeds City College

Grief Series (UK) & Zion Art Studio (Mexico) welcome you to celebrate Day of the Dead reimagined with the people of Yorkshire. 


Experience beautiful, pioneering visual and digital art, live performance and empathetic conversation during

a glorious celebration of life - and death. 


Learn about Mexican Day of the Dead traditions and contribute objects to an immersive public Ofrenda

to celebrate those you have loved and lost. 


With its fair share of provocative events programmed by Centre for Live Art Yorkshire (CLAY) we hope you’ll laugh ‘til you cry, remember the good times and leave with a lighter heart. 


Signposting to practical help, advice and local services will be available via our facilitated Crossing sessions with facilitators trained in holding meaningful, helpful conversations around the themes of life and death. 


Colourful, playful and contemplative, All That Lives will be a space of connection with radical gentleness at its heart. 


From Leeds to Mexico, from silence to conversation. 

No Elephants in the room, no skeletons in the closet. 


We cannot wait to see you there. 

For more information go to

Events During the Festival

Grief Series film. Image credit Matt Rogers. uncropped.jpg

Award winning film maker Brett Chapman and Static Flow Productions document Ellie Harrison's thirteen year body of work on The Grief Series and what it means to lay it rest. Traditionally we have funerals for humans. Sometimes for animals. Nearly always we are marking a heart-stopping, a heart of some size. An ending of a set period of living. It is not nearly so traditional to mark the end of other things. Let us be clear then. This is a funeral for an art.

A mixed media documentary to be screened as part of our programme with Centre For Live Art Yorkshire with some live art surprises along the way. Every funeral needs a procession and glitterbomb dancers are here to help. Of course we couldn't make a documentary about The Grief Series without capturing the final day of All That Lives so be a part of sending The Grief Series out in style.

The end is nigh, but not that nigh. Have we got time to make one more show? We hope so.
BIG FINISH is a show about endings, and beginnings, and middles, and endings…wait… it’s a cycle.

Recycling our old ideas and our old stuff we’ll try to find a way through the mess of now to the future of tomorrow. This is a show about the antagonism between wanting to fix the mess we've got ourselves in, and wanting to escape it and pretend it never happened. What will it look like? We don’t know, we’re not psychics! But it will be a wild ride.

Tired and apathetic, we have orchestrated a situation in which we barely have to lift a finger. We are going to build…AN ESCAPE ROOM!
Escape Figs’ Studio, escape The Arts, escape Planet Earth.

The question is, can our 5 players escape IN TIME? (btw time isn’t real)

Over & out.

Dance at death's back door.

Sick and tired but not broken!

A celebration of those living life on the edges of being well or well taken care of.

Pulling you through our passages as we sway teetering on the brink of this realm, dancing joyously into the next.

This is an immersive celebration as part of All That Lives, which engages with the politics of 'sickness' and spotlights artists who, in different ways, have unique perspectives on wellness and loss.

Pity Party was made in collaboration with collectives from Latinx culture and those identifying with disability and illness.


Ellie, Bethany, Jess and Zion team picture image credit Lizzie Coombes.JPG

In the lead up to the celebration Ellie is establishing links between artists and communities in Yorkshire and Mexico City. In collaboration with The Faro De Oriente, Mexico City we are building community shrines called Ofrendas. 

To celebrate ‘Day of the Dead’ in Mexico, people build ‘Ofrendas’ to remember friends, family and people of significance. Ofrendas are brightly coloured displays including tables filled with photographs, flowers, candles, food and significant objects. They are a central part of celebrating those we have loved and lost, from close family to our heroes from music or sport. We have been gifted a ‘mobile Ofrenda kit’ hand made by artists at The Faro De Oriente to use with communities in Yorkshire. Through this project we are creating new remembrance rituals in the UK and considering how cultures might mingle to create an aesthetic that is the ‘art baby’ of the two cultures. 

The exchange project began In Autumn 2017 when Ellie took a team of six Yorkshire artists to Mexico City to experience Day Of The Dead and form collaborations. We then held an international conference on death and remembrance at Live Art Bistro in Leeds in Spring 2018 with a keynote presentation by Mexican Film Maker Vlady Diaz, Ethnographer Dr. Anni Raw and Ellie Harrison. This initial exchange forms the foundation of our ongoing collaboration with artists in Mexico. You can see all the photographs on our Facebook page.

In November 2020 we made Leeds City Ofrenda which you can see the full details of here 


Creative Team

All That Lives Development 

Commissioned by LEEDS 2023, All That Lives is led by Ellie Harrison, Artistic Director of The Grief Series. The project has been developed through a long-term collaboration with Zion Art Studio, designer Bethany Wells and Jessica Sweet, Artistic Director of Centre for Live Art Yorkshire. 


This project is proudly partnering with CLAY to collaborate on a programme of live performance and conversations as part of All That Lives.  

Ellie Harrison

Artistic Director

Zion Art Studio

International Collaborators & Cartonería Paper Sculptors

Bethany Wells

Senior Designer

CLAY Centre for Live Art Yorkshire (CLAY)

Curator and Programmer

Matt Rogers

Outside Eye

Ellie Harrison

Jess Sweet

Anna Turzynski 

Vlady Diaz

Dr Anni Raw

Marco Medina

Laura Pirez

Zion Art Studios Collective include: 

Magnolia González Garcia

Jonathan Perez Ramirez

Christian Cruz Hernandez

Alejandro Pacheco


If you are interested in booking an Ofrenda installation/ workshop or being invovled in our final Day of The Dead celebration please get in touch on our Contact page.













All That Lives is supported by Arts Council England,  The British Council, Leeds Beckett, Theatre in The Mill, Leeds International Festival and Leeds 2023

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Images by Lizzie Coombes

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