Archive | Arts & Culture

Driving Development of Leeds Music Scene

An event to bring together everyone interested in developing the music community in Leeds will take place at Leeds Town Hall on 28/29 November. Hosted by Music:Leeds, a project led by partners Leeds Beckett University, Leeds City Council and LeedsBID, it aims to create more opportunities, increase collaborations and raise awareness within the Leeds music scene.

The research, led by Samuel Nicholls, also known as Whiskas, a Senior Lecturer in Music at Leeds Beckett University, explores and promotes music in Leeds as an experience, a business and as a cultural driver. It will be presented alongside talks from a range of key figures from Europe and the UK, who are creating vibrant and supportive music scenes in their cities.

“We’re excited to bring everyone involved in music together with what we hope is a really great drive for change and development”, said Samuel. “Our aim is to identify what we can do to galvanise music in the city, provide more opportunities for engagement and build on the great artists, organisations and businesses doing amazing work.”

Speakers at the event will also include: Ella Overkleeft, Deputy Night Mayor of Amsterdam; Jesper Mardahl, Manager of Promus, a community and networking centre for Denmark’s music industry; Shain Shapiro, Managing Director of music market development company, Sound Diplomacy; Craig Pennington, Editor in Chief of Bido Lito! Magazine and lead for the ‘Liverpool, Music City?’ project; Chelsea Rixson, Founder of Brighton Music Office, and Phil Nelson, BIMM Group – Music Industry Ambassador; and Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music, a campaigning and lobbying group representing the UK recorded and live music industry.

Representatives of Music:Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds 2023 will discuss their work, which supports Leeds’s bid to be European Capital of Culture. Additionally, there will be panel discussions, question and answer sessions and networking opportunities.

The day runs from 9.30am to 5pm and is open to all. A refundable deposit of £10 is required to book a place: please visit

Music:Leeds partner organisation, UK Music, will also host a research conference on Tuesday 28 November, open to members of industry, academia and students. The event takes place at Leeds Town Hall from 1.30-6pm.

Speakers at the event include: Oliver Morris, Director of Education and Skills at UK Music; Leeds Beckett’s Samuel Nicholls; Annabella Coldrick, CEO of the Music Managers Forum; Dr Emma Webster, Research Associate for the UK Live Music Census; and academics at Southampton Solent University, Newcastle University, Cambridge University, and the University of Northampton.

For more information, and to book a place, please visit

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The Leeds Gathering 2017.


The Leeds Gathering is back! Running from the 18th to the 26th of November it now enters its thirteenth year showcasing the finest in Irish music and arts from across Ireland, England and Scotland in a range of venues throughout Leeds

Click here for a full programme of events

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South Asian Arts Brings World Class Blind Sitarist to Leeds


SAA-uk (South Asian Arts-uk) is hosting the Indian Music Maestro Baluji Shrivastav OBE, accompanied by tabla player Bhupinder Singh Chaggar on Friday 17th November at Seven Arts.

Baluji Shrivastav is one of the most versatile instrumentalists India has produced. Excelling in a variety of instruments and founder of the Inner Vision Orchestra of blind and visually impaired musicians, he received an OBE for his Services to the Music Industry in 2016. He is mainly self-taught, and his success has been due to a combination of natural talent, hard work and passion for music. His quest for knowledge has dispelled many of the myths that surround the process of mastering Indian classical music. As a result, he stands outside the conventional establishment of Indian music, often struggling against prejudice, to take his place amongst the greatest in this field.

Despite his roots being firmly established in the Hindustani classical tradition, Baluji has explored music in many other forms and his versatility has led him to work with acts like Massive Attack, Stevie Wonder and Coldplay.

In addition to Baluji and Bhupinder’s performance, a sitar and tabla duo, Aekam Kaur and Jeevan Singh, from the SAA-uk Music Academies will also take to the stage.

The event will also feature a Q&A session with Baluji Shrivastav. Tickets are £12 (£8 reduction)

Tickets can be bought in advance and on the door. Box Office: 01132445523. Book Online:




  • Ends –


For press information, please contact Barbara Cardone at


For further information on SAA-uk, visit or call 0113 244 5523 or email

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‘Heads and Sheds’ at Gallery 16


Artist Alan Pergusey is holding his painting exhibition ‘Heads and Sheds’, at Gallery 16 from 10th – 12th November at 16 Sholebroke Place, LS7 3HJ (the artist’s house).

This is the third exhibition that Alan and his wife Tanya Cusan have curated for the gallery. Each of Alan’s paintings is multilayered in its approach to it’s subject, initially he paints representations of his friends, family and travel experiences which are transformed into an emotional and thoughtful view of the world.

Alan recently exhibited at Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax, at Ripon Cathedral and at Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton. His paintings are held in numerous private collections in the UK and internationally. He is a director at Leeds Sculpture Workshop and a visiting lecturer at the University of Leeds.

Opening times: Friday 10th – 5pm – 9pm; Saturday 11th – 11am – 5pm; Sunday 12th – 12 – 5pm

Tea and cake will be served throughout!


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Fiesta of the Dead at Kirkstall Abbey

Last weekend Kirkstall Abbey was host to a riotous celebration in the spirit of the Mexican Day of the Dead as Sneaky Experience presented one of their unique and immersive cinematic happenings.

Local photographer Chin Yong was there and managed to capture these fantastic images.


To check out more of Chin’s work head to his website:

and social media: @chinyongphoto.

Also, keep up to date with Sneaky Experience events:

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Front Room Productions Brings Dickens’ Christmas Classic to Leeds Kirkgate Market


Charles Dickens’ definitive Christmas tale will be brought to life in the aptly Victorian setting of Kirkgate Market by Leeds-based theatre company Front Room Productions, from 27th November to 2nd December.

Spectators will be given privileged access to the atmospheric space after trading hours, weaving in and out of the market’s nooks and crannies as they follow Scrooge on his path to redemption.

The audience will be fully immersed in the Dickensian setting, serenaded by an original score from Composer and Performer Claire-Marie Seddon, written for a rich combination of strings, brass and accordion.

“Theatre-goers will be wholeheartedly encouraged to enter into the Christmas spirit, and partake in a cup of mulled wine while they play party games with Fred – Scrooge’s nephew – and brush shoulders with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come,” said Olivia Race, who adapted the novel and will be directing the show.

“We also hope that courageous members of the audience will join the ensemble in the festive ceilidh dance at Fezziwig’s legendary Christmas Party!”, added producer Alice Barber.

Front Room Productions create high-quality, intimate theatre in unconventional spaces. The company is no stranger to Dickens, having staged an acclaimed adaptation of Oliver Twist as it’s inaugural production at Kirkgate Market back in January, which returned to the space again in October. Over the summer, the company launched its Shakespearean season, first staging a series of Pop-Up Shakespeare Performances in the Market, and later an ambitious promenade adaptation of Twelfth Night that transported Shakespeare’s original text into a fun, rural setting at a working farm in Adel.

The company is immensely proud to have roots in West Yorkshire, and endeavours to stage productions that showcase and celebrate the wealth of talented performers working across the region. A Christmas Carol will open in Leeds before touring to York, Bradford, and Manchester in the run up to Christmas.

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Win a Family Ticket for Pantomime at City Varieties Music Hall


Win a Family Ticket for Four (max 3 adults) to one of the following preview performances of Aladdin the Rock’n’Roll Panto

Fri 24 Nov, 7pm; Sat 25 Nov, 7pm;
 Sun 26 Nov, 7pm.

Just answer the question: What was the title of the first Rock’n’Roll Panto at City Varieties?

Email your answer (with NORTH LEEDS LIFE in the subject line), together with your name, phone number or email address to by noon on 17th November.


The winner will be picked at random from the correct answers. The decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Pantomimes at City Varieties date back at least to the early 1940s when Harry Joseph was proprietor. One famous tale exists of a woman giving birth during a performance of ‘Babes in the Wood’ in 1941… legend has it that the child was gifted free admission to the Varieties for Life.

Pantomimes fell from favour towards the end of the 1940s and it wasn’t until 1968, after Harry’s sons, Stanley and Michael had taken over, that they made a return, with Terry Cantor at the production helm. These often featured Terry’s son, Kenny Cantor, alongside other variety stars such as The Patton Brothers, Wendy King and the hugely popular clown Charlie Cairoli. Productions of ‘Cinderella’ during this period were famed for a coach pulled by real (but very small!) horses and ‘Snow White’ boasted ‘real dwarves’.

In the early 1980s, ownership of passed into the hands of Leeds City Council and General Manager Peter Sandeman was appointed. As well as reintroducing a stage version of ‘The Good Old Days’, he revived the family pantomime. Forming a partnership with writer-director Robin Davies (Catweazle, Shakespeare in Love), these hugely successful shows, ran for over 20 years and established the Leeds tradition of an anarchic ‘rock fight’ with sponges! After ‘Jack & the Beanstalk’ completed its run in January 2009, the venue closed its doors for a major restoration, primarily funded by Leeds City Council, The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Friends of City Varieties.

Following the £9m refurbishment, City Varieties Music Hall re-opened in the Autumn of 2011 and that December hosted ‘Aladdin’ the first of the Rock’n’Roll Pantos – a very different format from the previous style, using a talented troupe of actor-musicians who performed all the classic hit songs and music live on stage. The ‘rock fight’ was given a makeover to become a ‘boulder battle’ with giant inflatable bouncing balls creating bedlam around the auditorium.

Over the past few years, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Jack & the Beanstalk’, ‘Dick Whittington’, ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’ have all been given the Rock’n’Roll Panto treatment with increasing success and a whole new Leeds tradition has been born. This year the cycle begins again when the Varieties revisits ‘Aladdin’ – it’s time to start polishing those lamps!




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Hyde Park Picture House Celebrates its 103rd Birthday and a Century of Local History



On Thursday 2nd November the Hyde Park Picture House celebrates its 103rd birthday. And to mark the occasion, together with the Yorkshire Film Archive and Leeds International Film Festival, it’s set to screen a an exciting mix of fascinating archive film, made in and around the city of Leeds over the past century.

From the kids at Ellerby Lane School, and the huge Children’s Day events in Roundhay Park, through to the 1980’s planning controversies of Leeds Market – the event offers a unique opportunity to experience some truly wonderful and rarely seen archive material, prepared and presented by the Yorkshire Film Archive.

As a city steeped in film history, with the first ever moving images shot on Leeds Bridge in 1888 by Louis Le Prince, this specially curated screening will take the audience on a trip through time with a rich and varied mix of footage revealing parts of Leeds long forgotten, to events still fresh in everyone’s memory.

Graham Relton, Archive Manager at the Yorkshire Film Archive, will also be on hand to provide introductions and context to the clips, which demonstrate just how much Leeds has changed and developed over the decades.

“As a Leeds lad the pressure is on but I’m delighted to say that this event is packed full with fantastic film heritage, taken from and about the city over the past one hundred years,” said Graham. “From home movie collections, which are steeped in local events, people and places – to award winning Yorkshire Television programmes – there is something for everyone. So whether you’re new to the city or have lived here all your life, the Leeds on Film screening is a wonderful window onto the history of Leeds, and fitting programme to bring to an historic venue like the Hyde Park Picture House!”

The Leeds on Film event also marks the beginning of the 31st Leeds International Film Festival, which from the 1st – 16th November will hold hundreds of screenings in venues right across the city, including the Hyde Park Picture House and Leeds Town Hall.

Leeds on Film, presented by the Yorkshire Film Archive, takes place at the Hyde Park Picture House on Thursday 02nd November, with performances at 3pm and 7pm. Tickets are £5 for adults and £3.50 for concessions, and can be booked via the Hyde Park Picture House website:

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A Work of Genius From Anjali Dance Company


Anjali Dance Company brings its new production Genius to the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre on 7th November with a double bill of world premières by award-winning choreographers Gary Clarke and Lea Anderson.

Anjali celebrates the creative abilities and artistic potential of people with learning disabilities through dance. Through their innovative and pioneering work, the Company engages the dance community in a debate about aesthetics, form and inclusion. In this new double bill, which marks the Company’s debut Leeds performance, Anjali’s exceptional group of talented dancers perform two dramatic explorations of genius.

In a series of touching and darkly humorous short sketches, Gary Clarke’s Beethoven looks at the extraordinary personal life of composer Ludwig van Beethoven through gothic, cinematic and highly theatrical choreography.

The second half of the programme, Bloodsucker by Lea Anderson, is based on the legend of the vampire Nosferatu and his depiction in film. With a specially commissioned soundtrack by composer Steve Blake, the piece is performed in a three-sided box to create the impression of film edits, and is brought to life by designer Simon Vincenzi’s fairground and carnival setting.

Tickets are on sale now and can be booked online at or by calling the Box Office on 0113 220 8008.

Tickets are priced at £12.50, and the 1pm matinée will be a Relaxed Performance.


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Brighton Beach Returns for Anniversary Special

Brighton Beach began in 1994 at The Cockpit in Leeds, playing classic 60s mod and soul tracks, alongside songs by the great British groups of the 90s. As Britpop emerged, the night could not have been better timed. Bands like Supergrass and Shed Seven hung out at the club and performed frenzied secret gigs there too. Local heroes the Kaiser Chiefs spent many formative nights at the Beach before starting the band.

DJs from the vinyl-obsessed underground UK 60s scene were brought in to host a second room at the club, playing pure northern soul, R&B, jazz and freakbeat, introducing fuzzed-up garage and speed-fuelled psych to salivating kids. On the dancefloor, mods from the local scooter clubs were teaching the new Britpop scenesters how to dress and dance, with tight ties and perfect hair. Brighton Beach went on to have residencies in Sheffield, Newcastle, Leicester and London.

To celebrate its 23rd anniversary, the legendary club night  returns to The Wardrobe on Saturday 11th November.  “We’re very excited about this anniversary special, particularly as three of the club’s original DJs from 1994 – Red Helen, Dan Guest and Mark Ellis – are joining us,” said club founder Richard Todd. “You can expect the classic Brighton Beach music policy of pounding 60s soul, Motown, indie, northern soul and Britpop. It’s going to be one hell of a night!”

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