Archive | Arts & Culture

Life is a Cabaret at Leeds Grand Theatre


For one week only, Leeds Grand Theatre will play host to Olivier-Award-winning musical, Cabaret, from Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th October 2017.


Produced by Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, Cabaret will star internationally renowned singer/songwriter Will Young, who reprises his Olivier Award-nominated performance as the enigmatic Emcee, musician and presenter Louise Redknapp, who makes her stage debut as Sally Bowles and Susan Penhaligon as Fraulein Schneider; Susan is best known for the popular television series Bouquet of Barbed Wire and the sitcom A Fine Romance with Judi Dench.



Set in 1930s Berlin against the backdrop of the seedy Kit Kat Club, Cabaret tells the tale of young American writer Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and features some of the most iconic songs in musical theatre, including ‘Money Makes the World Go Round’, ‘Two Ladies’ ‘Maybe This Time’ and of course ‘Cabaret’.


Since its Broadway premiere in 1966 – and the famous movie version starring Liza Minnelli and Oscar-winner Joel Grey – Cabaret has won a staggering number of stage and screen awards, including eight Oscars, seven BAFTAs and 13 Tonys. Norris’ production has enjoyed two smash hit West End runs and has picked up two Olivier Awards.


Cabaret is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 24th – Saturday 28th October. Tickets (£20.50 – £41.50) available from 0844 848 2700 and online at



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Northern Antiques Fair Has a Facelift


The Northern Antiques Fair (formerly Harrogate Art & Antique Fair), is under new management and has reverted back to its original name, which dates back to 1951.   Held in association with BADA, the fair has undergone a facelift and is set to become the leading Autumn fair in Harrogate.

The fair brings together furniture, fine art, jewellery and accessories from some 35 specialist dealers. Its mix of antiques, mid-century and contemporary pieces will particularly appeal to the design-savvy looking for unusual one-off objects.

Dealers exhibiting include Haynes Fine Art of London and the Cotswolds, Howards Jewellers from Stratford upon Avon, Millington Adams from Cheshire, Stephen Kalms Antiques from the London Silver Vaults, Greenstein Antiques from London’s Gray’s Antique Market. Local dealers from the north of England include Howell 1870, J Dickinson Maps & Prints, Jack Shaw & Co, Melody Antiques, Graham Ruddock, Solo Antiques & Valerie Main Ltd.


The Fair is in Hall M, Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate HG1 2RD from Thursday 19th – Sunday 22nd October. Tickets (£7.50 including catalogue) will be available on the door, or book in advance through Eventbrite:







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Leeds Art Gallery Re-Opens


Leeds Art Gallery re-opened on 13th October, having undergone essential repairs to the original roof and the historic Victorian building. It will feature a re-presentation of the collection across the gallery that looks back over 130 years to showcase highlights from the nationally designated collection.

The re-opening is marked with a major ARTIST ROOMS Joseph Beuys exhibition, and new acquisitions by leading contemporary artists such as American artist Martine Syms and renowned British sculptor Alison Wilding.

Beuys (1921 – 1986) was one of the twentieth century’s most important and revolutionary cultural figures. He changed the look and vocabulary of sculpture forever, and helped put German art back on the map after World War II. Adopting the roles of political and social activist and educator, he believed in the healing power and social function of art. He saw creativity as central to all aspects of human existence.

This new exhibition will fill the three main rooms on the ground floor, bringing together sculpture and drawings from the 1950s onwards drawn from the ARTIST ROOMS collection, owned jointly by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. These works show the strong scientific basis for his art and his pioneering use of materials such as felt, fat, wax and copper, which the artist used for their ability to insulate, protect, transmit and transform.

During the renovations, a welcome discovery was a beautiful barrel vaulted glazed roof in one of the first floor galleries, which had remained hidden above a false ceiling for over 40 years! This new gallery will be showing Arena (2000), a major sculpture by Alison Wilding, which is a gift to Leeds from the Contemporary Art Society.



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A Wind of Change – A Community Theatre Project in Meanwood



Presented by Common Chorus Theatre and InterACT Church and Community Partnership, ‘A Wind of Change’ is a special community theatre project being created for and by residents, workers and regular visitors to Meanwood.

If you would like to take part, just sign up – it’s absolutely free! There will be four different groups, each led by a professional artist, and each of these will form a different part of the story. You will get to work alongside some of Leeds’ most exciting theatre makers to create and perform this original show. All you need is to be committed to the whole journey of the show and be able to attend most, if not all, rehearsals and the performance week.

The first creative workshop is on 21st October, when work will begin on creating the script. This will be followed by weekly rehearsals in the new year. The performance will take place during February Half Term at Stainbeck Church.

Anyone with an on-going connection to Meanwood can take part. No previous experience is necessary, although the initiated are very welcome too! Young people aged over 11 years are welcome and there are opportunities for 8 -10 year olds too. For further information, contact Ness Brown on 07961 535767 or




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Upcoming Shows at Northern School of Contemporary Dance




Artist and Choreographer Holly Blakey dives into the hyper-sexualised language of the music video to address ideas of connectivity, gender and class in Some Greater Class  Dancers writhe and contract in a modern day Garden of Eden, navigating the complexities of voyeurism and pleasure whilst laying bare the subtle and not-so-subtle dynamics of contemporary pop culture. Created in collaboration with musicians Gwilym Gold and Darkstar, Some Greater Class inscribes the process of viewing and being viewed on the performer’s bodies, delicately commenting on the normative ideals promoted in mainstream pop culture. From explosive energy to vulnerability and transgression, the dancers’ search for connection offers a potent reminder of the radical potential of live performance.

This project is co-produced by The Kevin Spacey Foundation and supported by Arts Council England.

Thursday 19 October


Tickets: £10 (£5)



K-Arts Dance Company presents a mixed bill of five short works from their growing repertoire, exploring East-Asian customs and culture. Hailing from Korea’s National University of Art, the company have been established since 1993 and have been touring to major cities around the world and since 2001.

Works include: Bow by MiSook Jeon, Mob by DongKyu Kim, Carcara by SungHoon Kim, No Comment by ChangHo Shin and Thank you by Bora Kim.

K-Arts promises unique movement styles and some brilliant young dancers.

K-Arts Dance Company | Mixed bill

16 November 2017

Tickets: £8 (£5)



With set design by renowned visual artist Jim Hodges (Association Internationale des Critiques d’art), YAMA explores the mythology associated with mountains inspired by the pagan and animist rituals practised among the mountains of Tohoku, Japan. Created with the dancers of Scottish Dance Theatre YAMA is an awe-inspiring piece that gathers energy as it grows.  Jalet has been responsible for some of the most revered productions of the last 10 years, including Babel (Laurence Olivier award 2011) and work with Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and a radical re-staging of Bolero with Marina Abramovic  at the Paris Opera.

Scottish Dance Theatre| YAMA

Thursday 23 November


Tickets: £10 (£5)


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Kneehigh Return to WYP with The Tin Drum


Acclaimed theatre company Kneehigh make an epic return to Leeds this week with a new adaptation of The Tin Drum. Günter Grass’ surreal seminal 20th Century novel is brought to thrilling life in a visually dazzling, dark and daringly provocative production playing at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 17 – 28 October.

On Oskar’s third birthday he rails against the adult world and decides to remain a child forever. Armed with a heart full of rage, a singing voice that shatters glass and a seemingly indestructible tin drum, Oskar sets about revealing the world for what it truly is. However, the world has other plans for our hero…

Exploring the rise of fascism through the eyes of a child, Günter Grass’ post-war masterpiece has never been more prescient. His classic novel, which presents anti-hero Oskar refusing to grow up as he watches the growth of ugly and suffocating totalitarianism around him, is reimagined by Kneehigh as part Baroque opera, part psychedelic white-out and part epic poem: a burlesque, a blitzkrieg and a tsunami.

For more info and tickets click here

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WYP’s Youth Theatre Explores Mental Health With New Production


A poignant production which explores young people’s mental health is being created by West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Youth Theatre in collaboration with Leeds Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Written for West Yorkshire Playhouse by Rebecca Manley, Zoetrope follows seven young people as they tackle emotional and behavioural difficulties in a timely exploration of the mental health of young people and the resources afforded to them.

In preparation for the performance the Zoetrope cast have collaborated with Leeds Community Healthcare’s CAMHS service, inviting both young people and NHS staff into rehearsals to share their insights and experiences. CAMHS provides services for young people under 18 when mental health issues get in the way of daily life.

“Being involved in Zoetrope has given the CAMHS young people a real sense of confidence and helped them realise how their knowledge and experience has made them the experts”,  said Child and Adolescent Mental Health Practitioner,Vandhna Sharma. “Our CAMHS young people have loved learning about a theatre production and were touched by how polite and considerate the Zoetrope cast are, in particular when they shared their experiences of mental health and the support they received, which helped provide authenticity and depth to the Zoetrope characters. The audience get to see young people navigate their way through mental health difficulties and support processes from their perspective, as well as understand the impact it has on every area of their life.”


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Leeds at War; a Tale of a City of Culture


It is somewhat fitting that on Remembrance Day this year, the City Varieties Music Hall will welcome a production that commemorates both Armistice and the theatre’s own starring role during World War 1.

Those Were The Days takes to the stage on Saturday 11th November  – exactly 99 years after the hostilities of WW1 ended. It looks at both the dark days of the war along with the joys of live performance and Yorkshire spirit. Performed by actors ranging from ages six to 60, the production brings together history, entertainment and theatrical style with humour, emotion and a large dollop of Leeds.

“Those Were The Days celebrates this city; its people, its culture and, importantly, its theatres”, said Leeds writer and director Liz Coggins. “In the late 1800s and early 20th century, there were six theatres in Leeds and a music hall on practically every corner; the Music Halls were at the heart of the culture of the working classes; people would gather and sing, drink and laugh together and forget their troubles; when war broke out this didn’t stop – in fact it became even more important.”


The City Varieties was one such music hall. It began life in 1865 as a room above a pub and went on to entertain the people of Leeds through two world wars before becoming world famous for hosting the BBC programme The Good Old Days which ran every weekend for 30 years from 1953. As other such venues closed, the City Varieties continued and today is the longest running music hall in the country.

In what promises to be a pure celebration of music hall entertainment, the show on 11th November will introduce audiences to  the stars of the time;  Marie LloydVesta TilleyFlorrie FordCharlie Chaplin and Leeds lass Vesta Victoria each make an appearance, buoyed up by the songs and comedy sketches of the era. A live band supports the cast and songs include the famous Marrow Song, Yes! We Have No Bananas, It’s A Long Way To Tipperary and many more.

The Leeds characters that introduce the production and take the audience on its journey may well be fictitious, but their tales are based on real life stories; the story of the famous 15th Service Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment – better known as The Leeds Pals – is honoured, based on the accounts of a Leeds Pal called Harry – Liz’s own Grandfather.

The younger cast members are students at On Stage Academy. They work with Liz and her team to learn every aspect of theatre and stagecraft.

It is such a delight to see young people performing pieces from 100 years ago”, says Liz. “Children are never too young to experience live professional theatre in its many genres. The history of this profession is as important as the craft itself.  To this end I would encourage families to come together for an old-fashioned, much-loved evening at the theatre.”

Those Were The Days is at City Varieties Music Hall on Saturday November 11th at 7pm

Tickets are on sale now priced at £19.60

Book online at or call Box Office on 0113 243 0808

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Day to Celebrate the World’s First Moving Images, Shot in Leeds

Louis Le Prince

A day of events to celebrate Louis Le Prince, the cinema pioneer internationally recognised for filming the world’s first moving images in Leeds, will be hosted by Leeds Beckett University.

Taking place on Thursday 2 November, the ‘Celebrating Louis Le Prince’ event will include a guest lecture on experimental film and the opening of an exhibition, culminating in the unveiling of a historic plaque, commemorating Le Prince’s achievements.

Louis Le Prince was a Frenchman, born in 1841, who conducted his groundbreaking work in Leeds in 1888. He filmed two moving picture sequences, Roundhay Garden Scene, shot at Oakwood Grange and believed to be the oldest surviving film in existence, and a Leeds Bridge street scene, using his single-lens camera.

On the day, a plaque, originally on the site of Le Prince’s workshop in Leeds, which has been in the care of the Science and Media Museum in Bradford, will be reinstated at its original home of Broadcasting Place, part of Leeds Beckett’s city campus.

From 11am to 12.30pm, the first Louis Le Prince Lecture will take place. Hosted by the Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett in conjunction with the Leeds International Film Festival, the aim of this annual event is to showcase the work of outstanding contemporary film artists and the first speaker will be the renowned film, video and installation artist, John Smith.

John has had more than 50 works shown in independent cinemas, galleries and on television since 1972. His film, The Girl Chewing Gum, is widely acknowledged as one of the most important avant-garde films of the 20th century.

John was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists in 2011 and, in 2013, he received Film London’s Jarman Award. John’s work subverts the perceived boundaries between fiction and documentary, playfully exploring the language of cinema while remaining rooted in everyday life. He will introduce and screen a selection of his films at the Henry Moore Lecture Theatre, Leeds Art Gallery.

The event is free to attend and all are welcome. To book a place, please visit:

Following the lecture, an exhibition of images and artifacts related to Louis Le Prince, and in particular to his years in Leeds, will be opened by Laurie Snyder, a descendant of Le Prince. Curated by Irfan Shah, a world expert on the life and work of Le Prince, the exhibition will be held in the Local and Family History section of Leeds Central Library. The exhibition will run from 2 – 16 November and entry is free.

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(The Fall of) The Master Builder at West Yorkshire Playhouse



So…… in discussing Ibsen’s play ‘The Master Builder’ with actor Reece Dinsdale, West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director, James Brining, posed the question – ‘What If?’

They decided to take a strand from Ibsen’s play and run with it. I did wonder why – why fiddle with a good play, let’s just see ‘The Master Builder’. Fiddling can sometimes lead to disaster.

But, of course, this is no longer Ibsen’s play. James and Reece threw the ball to playwright Zinnie Harris who borrowed Ibsen’s characters but took them on a different journey. Little did she know when she set out just how pertinent this story would be.

It’s the story of a powerful man, Halvard Solness (played by Reece), who has just been awarded Master Builder status. He is at the top of his profession. He is ruthless, manipulative. But young architects are snapping at his heels. Then one day Hilde (Katherine Rose Morley) walks in and reminds him of their previous meeting…..when she was 15.

Despite my skepticism at the outset, I was riveted from the off. The cast (which also includes Susan Cookson as his wife Aline; Emma Naomi as Kaja his assistant; Robert Pickavance as Brovik his old friend who used to own the architectural practice; Michael Peavoy as Brovik’s son Ragnar who has ambitions; and David Hounslow as his wayward friend Dr Herdal) was tight, successfully creating all the individual tensions that build up around such a man. By the end of the first part, you knew he was set up for a fall.

And what a fall!

In the second half, Solness’s whole demeanor changes. Six microphones are lined up across the front of the stage. One by one the characters step up to denounce him. They are like witnesses giving evidence, reading from file notes. Solness is alone on the stage. Slowly the walls start to close in on him.

Zinnie Harris’s play never lost momentum. “Zinnie’s adaptation is a mesmeric and gripping exploration of power”, said James Brining. “This retelling of such a classic text feels timely, a contemporary story addressing gender, control and privilege. Zinnie breathes urgency into Ibsen’s female characters, generating terrific energy, tension and jeopardy.”

Reece Dinsdale was marvelous as Solness. “Halvard Solness is a fascinating character – a man standing right on a precipice and staring down into the abyss”, he said. “He’s at the height of his success, being forced to confront his deepest fears. It becomes really uncomfortable. His dread of the ambitious young, the steady decline of his creative powers, and the murky secrets of his past come right to the fore the very moment we meet him.”


(The fall of) The Master Builder continues at West Yorkshire Playhouse until Saturday 21st October. It is well worth seeing.

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