Letter Two

Welcome.

You must have had a hell of a journey to get here. I hope you are okay.

You are welcome. We’re not having the best of time here at the moment. We are not currently the best versions of ourselves. But I have hope for the future. You are welcome.

I hope you feel safe if not now then soon.

It is a good island. It rains a little too much but apart from that it is a good island. Most people are good people. They will welcome you I hope. Most will welcome you I know.

I was trying to think of something useful I could say. I like to be useful. And I’ve decided it’s this. Every bit of this land is for you to engage with. The libraries: they are yours to use, to go into and find what you need. The theatres, the galleries, the museums: don’t be put off by any sense of snootiness – they are yours as much they are mine, as much as they are the next man’s. Take advantage of them. They will have people in them who will seize you by the shoulders in greeting. Be brave and cross the threshold. You will be welcome. They’ve promised.

The best of luck with every thing. I hope it goes as well as it can. The thing I love most about this island is that with each new person who has ever climbed out of the sea, or stepped off a boat or a plane exhausted and hopeful, the place has got a tiny bit stronger, a tiny bit better, a tiny bit more interesting. So thank you. Thanks for coming.

Alan Lane, Leeds, Theatre Director.

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