Archive | Arts & Culture

Music and Cinema at Howard Assembly Room

umbrellas 2

The Howard Assembly Room continues to mash up music and cinema in exciting and innovative ways with its ongoing FILMusic series.

A bittersweet cinematic treat for Valentine’s Day is The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (£5) with a live musical prelude. Exquisitely designed in a kaleidoscope of colour and told through the lilting songs of the great Michel Legrand, this is one of the most revered and unorthodox movie musicals of all time.

On 17th February Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart returns with another David Lynch collaboration. HEXA, his duo with Australian composer and artist Lawrence English, is an uncompromising sonic response to the legendary director’s dark, atmospheric Factory Photographs, taken amidst the ruins of industry in the USA, Poland, Germany and the UK. Tickets: £10
Menschen am Sonntag - Stulkur

Icelandic experimentalists múm present the UK premiere of their improvised live score to People on Sunday (Menschen an Sonntag) (3 March) a vivid portrait of pre-war Berlin and its young inhabitants considered a masterpiece of silent film by Directors Billy Wilder, Edgar G. Ulmer, Fred Zinnemann, Robert and Curt Siodmak, Rochus Gliese. Tickets: £15
Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty (8 April) is a swooning love letter to the decadence of Rome. This extraordinary tragicomedy is a must-see on the big screen. The screening is followed on 13th April by The Great Beauty: A Concert with the string section of the Orchestra of Opera North performing a concert of music inspired by the film’s soundtrack. The programme includes John Tavener’s superlative ‘The Protecting Veil’; Summa, ‘Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten’; ‘Festina Lente’ by Arvo Pärt; and William Byrd’s ‘Fantasia a 6’.
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SingMeanwood is Looking for a New Choir Leader/Musical Director


SingMeanwood is a 50-strong mixed community choir with big ambitions and a lust for life. It loves having a varied, vibrant and sometimes alternative repertoire, and loves performing – especially a capella.

Whilst relatively self-sufficient, in that it has an active, committed steering group, the choir is currently looking for a new Musical Director who will be a safe pair of hands to help it learn and grow.

You will need to be a strong, thoughtful MD who enjoys laughing but who is serious, experienced and clever when it comes to music. You would need to be available on term time Sunday nights from September 2017 and to attend an audition session sometime in Spring 2017.

If you are interested, please email

Closing date for applications is 20th February.


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Open Mic Night for Leeds Recovery Community


Paul Gibbon & Justin Loach who will perform as ‘Euphoric Recall’

Leeds Recovery Academy will host its first free Open Mic Night TONIGHT Friday 27th  January, at The Academy at 43 Westfield Road, LS3 1NQ, just off Burley Road.

It will bring together a number of performers in recovery to mark their success and that of others who attend the Recovery Academy, as well as the achievements of everyone who has taken many positive steps on their road to recovery.

“Our Open Mic Night will be an evening of creativity embracing the spirit of recovery, that is free from substances, but overflowing with inspiration, talent and entertainment”, said Adam Montgomery, a Dual Diagnosis worker from Leeds MIND.

“As well as a great night out, it will be a celebration of the many accomplishments those in the recovery community”.

A number of performers are already scheduled to appear, and creative activities will run alongside the events on the main stage.

“This event is to celebrate recovery in Leeds and will give people in recovery a platform to have a go under the spotlight”, said Jo Byrden, Recovery Academy Manager.

If you would be interested in performing as a musician, comedian, performance poet, etc. contact them on 0113 887 2749. The only stipulation is you must be in recovery.

It will be a dry night with food and soft drinks available, 18+ only. Book your free ticket at

Forward Leeds provides support for adults, young people and families needing help with alcohol and drug use in Leeds.  It is Britain’s biggest multi-agency project tackling alcohol and drug problems. Since it began in July 2015, over 7,000 adults and 400 young people have been seen by the service and its Contact Centre handles over 12,000 calls a month. 


Forward Leeds helps adults and young people to make healthy choices about alcohol and drugs and aims to reduce risk taking behaviours through dedicated prevention, early intervention and tailored programmes. Their ultimate goal is to help people to achieve and sustain recovery.





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Phoenix Dance Revives Nightlife at the Flamingo at WYP


Nightlife at the Flamingo. Photography by Brian Slater (1)

Phoenix Dance Theatre will open their Spring 2017 tour with a four-night run at West Yorkshire Playhouse. The thrilling programme which marks the end of the company’s 35th year anniversary celebrations features a new commission and a revival of one of the company’s earliest and most iconic works; Nightlife at the Flamingo.

Choreographed by Edward Lynch, who also danced in the original production, Nightlife at the Flamingo premiered in Leeds in 1983, under the Company’s first Artistic Director David Hamilton.

Originally set in an American nightclub, Nightlife at the Flamingo integrated popular culture and modern dance and was performed by five dancers. For this revived anniversary performance it has been re-imagined by Edward Lynch for an intergenerational cast which features ex-Phoenix dancers and current company dancers along with the company’s Youth Academy. Fusing Jazz, Soul and Lindy Hop this dazzling piece captures the atmosphere of a 1940’s American Dance Hall.

Nightlife at the Flamingo. Photography by Brian Slater

Alongside Nightlife at the Flamingo Phoenix present the premier of Calyx the company’s very first internal commission under the directorship of Sharon Watson. Calyx is choreographed by Company Dancer Sandrine Monin who was awarded the commission following the company’s inaugural Choreographers and Composers Lab in 2015. Sandrine’s appointment comes at a time when female choreographers are in the minority, often expressing difficulties in developing their careers as choreographers. Calyx is inspired by and based on the book of poems ‘The Flowers of Evil’ by Charles Baudelaire. The work explores the themes of beauty, desire and decadence.

Beast. Photography by Brian Slater (1)

To complete the programme the company present Beast by Leeds based choreographer and ex company dancer Douglas Thorpe. Beast immerses the audience into the darkest reaches of the mind, using six dancers in a performance that is as powerful and brutal as it is beautiful. Exploring the darker side of the human psyche, Beast’s broken choreography requires extreme strength and articulation, giving the piece an often disjointed and fragmented look. Intimidating and uncompromising, this challenging piece is an unforgettable, captivating piece of theatre.

Beast. Photography by Brian Slater


“In 1989 I was one of the first female dancers to join the Company and it is a privilege to lead the Company in these challenging but artistically vibrant times.” said Sharon Watson. “Recommissioning NightLife at the Flamingo is a nod to the company spirit, and affirms the Phoenix Dance Theatre’s deserved place as prominent agents for change in the arts. It is right that we recognise just how revolutionary the Phoenix phenomenon is and the ground-breaking work the Company’s early members achieved. The commissioning of a new piece by a current Company Dancer is a continuation of this spirit. Many female choreographers have expressed difficulties and frustration as they find it more and more challenging to secure any form of investment to support their careers as choreographers. This is a significant commission, sending a clear message to the dance world that Phoenix is committed to driving diversity in the sector”.

Book online

Box office 0113 213 7700

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Magic, Music and Movement With Opera North


Opera North Little Singers. Photo credit Tom Arber

Singing, storytelling and sharing music are on the cards for Leeds’ youngest residents over the coming weeks as Opera North announces a series of family friendly performances and workshops.

Fairy tales take centre stage on Saturday 21st January, 10.30am and 11.45am, at Howard Assembly Room (£5/£3) and Leeds Central Library on 11th February, 10.30am, 11.45am and 1.30pm, (£4/£3) as Opera North’s magical indoor tent returns for a series of enchanting Happily Ever After performances. Storyteller, Ursula Holden-Gill, accompanied by cellist Polly Virr, will take audiences on a spellbinding journey through an assortment of traditional folk stories, with some surprising twists and turns along the way.

On Monday 6th  February at 11.00am, the Orchestra of Opera North will entertain with an interactive Little Listeners concert in the Howard Assembly Room. This is an opportunity for pre-schoolers, parents and carers to enjoy some classical music while finding out more about the different musical instruments in an orchestra. The children attending will be encouraged to move around to the music and join in with the songs.


Gold, Gods and Giants. Photo credit Amy Charles

Little Singers is held every Monday during term-time for children from 0-4 years. These fun-filled workshops are run by professional vocal delivery artists with the aim of encouraging adults and young children to explore music and movement together. Additional weekly sessions are going to be held at Colton Primary School Children’s Centre in East Leeds and CAST in Doncaster, with more planned at The Deep in Hull in the Easter holidays.

“We’re passionate about introducing children to high quality music and live performance at an early age but also recognise the importance of making it an enjoyable experience for everyone who comes along”, said Jacqui Cameron, Opera North Education Director. “This year, we’re inviting families to join us in a variety of settings to experience the pleasure of making music, dancing, singing and telling stories. All of our programmes are designed to help families find new ways to play, learn, understand and express themselves, while having fun together.”

To book, call 0844 848 2727 or visit  



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Re/Western: A Feminist View of The Wild West

Felice House, Liakesha Cooper in High Noon, 2013. Oil on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist.

Felice House, Liakesha Cooper in High Noon, 2013. Oil on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist.


Leeds College of Art kicks off a new year of exhibitions with a selection of works by American artist Felice House featuring paintings of famous western actors such as Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Gary Cooper and James Dean, reimagined as female cowboys.

Re/Western features seven large-scale portraits taken from iconic scenes from the Western, but with the leading characters repainted as women. By projecting contemporary women into these heroic roles, House asks us to take a critical view of gender stereotypes and the access of women to power.

The exhibition programme will include two free film screenings of classic western films; ‘The Wind’ (1928) and ‘Jonny Guitar’ (1954) Tuesday 31 January at 5pm, and ‘Westworld’ (1973) Tuesday 21 February at 5pm. The screenings, which are open to the public and free of charge (but booking required) will take place in the Blenheim Walk Gallery.

In collaboration with Corridor8 magazine, the exhibition will also feature a micro-residency by Elspeth Mitchell (PhD candidate, University of Leeds) who will develop an accompanying text alongside the artist and curators.

Re/Western: Felice House is curated by Sharon Bainbridge with Joanna Craddock and Catriona McAra. It runs from 20 January – 24 March at Blenheim Walk Gallery.




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Open Days at the Academy of Northern Ballet




The Academy of Northern Ballet is holding Open Days on 22nd, 28th and 29th January for budding young dancers to explore the training programmes on offer at one of the UK’s leading ballet schools. Free to attend, the open days are aimed at children aged 9 -15 and offer the chance for prospective students to meet Academy staff, tour the facilities and take part in taster classes.

The Academy of Northern Ballet embodies a 21st century approach to ballet training, capturing the talent and imagination of individuals and nurturing their passion for dance. It offers a wide range of open classes for anyone from toddlers to adults as well as providing outstanding training for the professional dancers of the future through its Centre for Advanced Training Programme. The Academy of Northern Ballet is the only Centre for Advanced Training Centre in the UK specialising in Classical Ballet, and 100% of its graduates aining have gone on to secure places at top-vocational schools including the Royal Ballet School and English National Ballet School.

Open days for all training programmes will be held with two sessions on 22nd  January (9am -12.30pm & 1 – 4.40pm), and one session on 29th January  (9am – 12.30pm) for those aged 9-15.

The open day on 28th January (9.30am – 3.30pm) is dedicated to the Academy’s Centre for Advanced Training Programmes for students aged 9 -12 interested in pursuing dance as a career. It includes the opportunity to observe Northern Ballet dancers in their daily training class before themselves taking part in a technique class and sessions with teaching staff from the Centre for Advanced Training. There are also boy-only options available which include an energetic class led by former Northern Ballet Premier Dancer Christopher Hinton-Lewis.

The open days are free to attend but booking is essential. For more information and to reserve a place email or call 0113 220 8000.


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A Showcase of Young Musical Talent at The Venue


Caption: Jane Barrow with students Martha, Christa, & Simeon Shackleton


Music teacher Jane Barrow is organising a concert on Saturday 28th January, 2pm at The Venue, Leeds College of Music, to showcase the talent of around 30 of her past and present students.

Ranging from those relatively new to playing the piano, through to those post Grade 8, and some who are now perusing music as a career, it should be an entertaining afternoon with many different genres of music, including Naomi Adams (16) who will play and sing her own composition. There will also be vocals, guitar and an acoustic set from other students.

Jane has been a private piano tutor for over 25 years. As a child she performed widely and won the under 16 piano section on the programme Junior Showtime for three consecutive years. In recent years, she noticed a lack of opportunity for young pianists to experience the thrill of a live performance and to develop their confidence and skill, so she is thrilled to be arranging this concert at such a great venue with its two beautiful Steinway pianos.

Tickets (£8/£5) are available from Leeds College of Music Box Office on 0113 222 3434 or online.




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Pygmalion at WYP



‘The science of speech. That’s my profession. I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.’

How far do accents define us? Is status still dictated by our mother tongue?

Sam Pritchard directs a radical new staging of Bernard Shaw’s acute comedy Pygmalion, a hilarious and poignant tale of two opposites, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, trying to find a common language.

Shaw’s celebrated play was first staged over 100 years ago and is recognised as one of the most enduring and perceptive of comedies. In this audacious new staging, Sam Pritchard playfully carves a contemporary world on stage using sound and video technology which examines class identity and questions how far accents and speech can define us in Britain today.

Pygmalion is a co-production between West Yorkshire Playhouse, Headlong and Nuffield Southampton Theatres. This is the third year that West Yorkshire Playhouse has partnered with Headlong, following their acclaimed co-productions of Spring Awakening in 2014 and The Glass Menagerie in 2015.

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Courtyard Theatre

Saturday 4 – Saturday 25 February


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Leeds Photographic Society


Photo: Norman Robertson


Over the next few months Leeds Photographic Society have scheduled a number of talks, including Ian Day, Assistant Editor and Group Picture Editor of the Yorkshire Post (24th January), who will explain the many situations and images that a press photographer needs to master; and John Fox (21st February) on ‘Then and Now – 50 years as a professional photographer’. (Entry £5 for non-members, refundable against membership fee).



Photo: Norman Robertson

There will also be illustrated talks by members, as well as in-house and inter-club competitions.

Leeds Photographic Society is a friendly group of enthusiasts meeting regularly to share and develop an interest in photography. Membership includes skill levels from beginner to enthusiast and professional. New members of all abilities are welcome. They meet on Tuesdays, 7.30pm at St Edmund’s Church Hall, Lidgett Park Road, Roundhay, LS8 1JN. Details are available at

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