Archive | Younger Life

AT-iD Project Gives Yorkshire Teens a Voice

Voices from AT-iD (movie shot)

The Adopted Teens Identity (AT-iD) project recently screened its independent film ‘Voices’ at Hyde Park Picture House.

The featurette was produced to raise awareness about the challenges and misconceptions around adoption for older children. It highlights the impact of adoption and its effect on building relationships with families, friends and peers.

The event featured a talk from Mark Owers, Professional Adviser to the Adoption Leadership board, and a Q&A session with the teenagers and group leaders from the film.

“The feedback we have had following the showcase has been quite astounding”, said Tanya Killick, AT-iD project lead from PAC-UK. “Especially regarding the bravery of the teens getting up on stage and answering questions from the audience after the film was screened. We are all extremely proud of those involved and thank everyone for their support on the day.”

“Adopted children represent a minority in society and across the education system, which can leave them feeling misunderstood and isolated among their peers and the adults they interact with”, said Peter Sandiford, CEO of PAC-UK. “The messages in this short film clearly illustrate the complexities of adoption and should be compulsory viewing for all professionals adopted young people might come into contact with. I am proud of the hard work and personal commitment that went into the film – both in front of and behind the camera – and delighted that PAC-UK could play a part in the project.”

AT-iD, a project set up by Yorkshire & Humber Adoption Consortium and delivered by PAC-UK– It was created to provide adopted teens aged between 11 and 18 with a community that offers information and an insight into the experiences of adopted teenagers. The project aims to give a voice to adopted teenagers by providing them with a safe and secure way to discuss problems and issues with their peers or project workers.

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Babe, The Sheep Pig Visits Temple Newsam


Babe, The Sheep Pig had his first taste of Yorkshire farm-life in preparation for a visit to West Yorkshire Playhouse.


Visiting Temple Newsham’s Home Farm, the plucky piglet with a talent for herding sheep put his skills into practice, rounding up the farm’s rare-breed flock and putting them safely away in their pens.


The loveable Babe then went on to rub noses with one of Home Farm’s Middle White piglets, getting well acquainted with his real-life counterparts in preparation for opening night.


Adapted from Dick King Smith’s 1983 novel which inspired the 1995 Oscar-winning film, Babe, the little pig with big dreams, features amazing puppets designed by Max Humphries (Chief Puppet Designer, Cirque de Soleil) and Dik Downey, with puppetry direction by Matthew Forbes (Associate Director in Puppetry & Movement, War Horse). Babe’s heart-warming tale of friendship, adventure and bravery is the perfect half-term treat.


Wed 15 – Sat 18 Feb

Quarry Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse

Suitable for all ages.

Box office 0113 213 7700   Book online  

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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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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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Brighten your Winter with a Bit of Magic for the Whole Family



Imagine a world where Penn and Teller are Victorian Brits and you are on your way to conjuring the magical duo of Morgan & West.  Following smash hit Edinburgh seasons in 2015 and 2016 and sell-out runs on London’s Southbank and around the country, Morgan & West bring their Empire inspired, thoroughly entertaining illusions to Leeds. Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show – For Kids (and Childish Grownups) arrives at Carriageworks Theatre on Sat 28 January 2017.

Witness a mountain of mysterious magic, a hatful of hyper-reality, and of course a truck full of tricks and tea (Mr Morgan is very sad to say there are no actual mountains or trucks on stage during the show, Mr West simply would not have them.) Mixing brain-busting illusion and good old fashioned tomfoolery, Morgan & West present a show for all the family, where magic and silliness abound!

Morgan & West have been performing their unique magic shows across the UK and around the world, including sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Fringe World in Perth, Adelaide Fringe where they were nominated for Best Family Show, and Buxton Fringe where they were awarded Best Comedy Show.

Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show – For Kids (and Childish Grownups)

Saturday 28 January, 2pm

Tickets: £8.50 (£9.50 adults)

Family Ticket: £34

Age 5+

Tickets for all Carriageworks Theatre productions can be booked on 0113 376 0318, online through the website at or in person at the City Centre Box Office, Leeds Town Hall

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New Accessibility Drive for Yeadon’s BIG Pantomime


“Something BIG is coming to Yeadon Town Hall” – that’s the tag line for this year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk. But as well as the dastardly giant Blunderbore there’s another big addition to this year’s production; a performance specially modified to assist people with learning difficulties and people living with Dementia, and also the provision of sign language.

”Yeadon Charities Association have been staging pantomimes for 78 years”, said Peter Long, the show’s writer/co-director and president of the charity behind the pantomime. “The panto funds our work helping people in the community including the Memory Lane dementia cafe. Making the wonderful tradition of pantomime more accessible just seems like the right thing for us to do, and we think we’re the first amateur pantomime in the area to try this”.

Relaxed performances are becoming more popular in professional theatres and involve alterations being made to the way the show is staged in an attempt to make the theatre experience easier for people with learning difficulties and those suffering from dementia. House lights are kept partially illuminated and loud sound effects and music are quietened down. The pantomime team are also producing a Story Book which will explain the story, introduce the characters and explain any surprises in the show before they happen. It will also help users to understand some of the more confusing quirks of pantomime – such as the leading boy being a girl and the dame being a man! This book will be available beforehand to allow parents or carers to go through it before attending the theatre. Finally there will  be a British Sign Language interpreter signing the show at this performance.

Chris Eddison, the pantomime’s sound designer, was inspired to organise the scheme having seen professional theatres staging relaxed performances. “Professional theatre is opening up far more for people with disabilities”, he said. “Gone are the days of just having a wheelchair ramp or a lift and calling yourselves accessible. There are lots of new and exciting ways for many more people to enjoy the magic of theatre. We’ve got big ambitions for the future to stage productions that are even more accessible, but this seemed like a great place to start. We hope that our work will encourage more local theatre companies to make their performances accessible too”.

A visit to see a pantomime during the festive season is a great family treat and the Yeadon Pantomime team hope these new additions will allow many more people, young and old, to enjoy Yeadon’s modern, funny and award winning pantomime together.

Tickets for Jack and the Beanstalkcan be booked at The show runs from the 20th to the 28th January at Yeadon Town Hall. The Wednesday 25thJanuary performance will be relaxed and signed. It is suggested that people wishing to make use of the BSL interpretation sit to the right hand side of the stalls (view of the signer from the balcony may be restricted).

Twitter; @yeadonpanto #yeadonpanto

Facebook; @yeadoncharitiesassociation


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The Rock ‘N’ Roll Panto Rocks The City Varieties



The famous Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto is rocking City Varieties Music Hall once again, and this year’s show, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ seems to have even more energy than previous years!

And they didn’t waste any time – it was only minutes before everyone was shouting at the stage. Justin Brett as Dame Taffeta Trott was suitably outrageous; Bethan-Wyn Davies made a lovely Princess Susie (cue ‘Wake Up Little Suzie’!); and Hannah Price as the bad witch was superbly nasty. Lisa Goodhand as Fairy Fanciful, who was the main narrator too, never missed a beat. Dyfrig Morris as King Camelot was hilarious and he and his sidekick Harold the Herald (Kenny Davies, who is basically addicted to Rock’n’Roll panto and appears nearly every year), produced some great slapstick moments.


Alex Wingfield was the handsome prince (Simon Steadfast) and Dan Bottomley Morgana’s hapless son and Simon’s competition – his rendition of ‘Sex Bomb’ was something else! Katia Sartini was excellent as a scatty sprite trying to win her fairy wings; and Scott Haining’s opening number ‘Celebration’ got the show off to a great start.


What always surprises me is how supremely talented the cast is – all play at least one instrument and there were some lovely voices. The show was packed with great music, featuring songs from the 50s through to the present. The show was rounded off with the traditional ‘Boulder Fight’, where giant balls (boulders!) are bouncing all over the audience.


“Our Rock’n’Roll Pantos have been extremely popular since they were first introduced in 2011”, says Ian Sime, General Manager at City Varieties. “They have grown year on year and have now become a Christmas tradition for families in Leeds and beyond.”

A great time was had by all! The show continues until 8th January. Tickets (£14 – £25) are available from 0113 243 0808 or online at


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School’s Diwali Show Raises Funds to Light Up Lives


Year 6 cast members of the Junior School Ramayan with sixth form student leaders of the Hindu faith: Back (L-R) Varsha Sivakumar, Anushree Joshi, Anika Bansal, Dhaval Sethi, Maya Bhakta, Carody Vyse-Peacock, Naman Gupta; Front (L-R) Rhishi Sharma and Varun Nayak


A Leeds school’s Diwali Show has raised vital funds to bring light into the lives of disabled and disadvantaged people and those affected by disaster.

The show at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) brought together performers of all ages from within the school and the local community to celebrate Diwali with a spectacular programme of drama, dance and music. There were fifteen different acts, as well as a student fashion show, a quiz and presentations about the festival and the charity.

Now in its ninth year the Diwali Show is an annual highlight at GSAL, and has raised thousands of pounds for charity. This year’s show was held in aid of the charity Sewa UK, and is estimated to have raised in the region of £1,500.

From booking the acts to presenting the show on the night, the whole event was planned and organised by the student heads of Hindu faith, upper sixth students Dhaval Sethi, Maya Bhakta, Carody Vyse-Peacock and Naman Gupta, with support from Senior School teacher Amy Yuasa.

A new challenge for the students was writing and directing the Junior School Ramayan, the Diwali play performed by GSAL pupils in Years 3 to 6.


The cast of the Junior School Ramayan with sixth form student leaders of the Hindu faith


“The students worked so hard, writing the script, organising rehearsals and getting the best out of a cast of young children”, said Mrs Yuasa. “It has been a great partnership between the junior and senior schools. The whole event was a wonderful showcase of modern and traditional culture and brought together all age groups across school and the community.”

The Sewa UK charity is so called because in Sanskrit, Sewa means service, reflecting a concept of selflessly performing an act of kindness without expectation of reward. Sewa UK supports relief and rehabilitation efforts following disaster, and projects that cater for people with disabilities, including educational projects, mostly in India and Nepal but with some UK based projects.


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The Clock is About to Strike for Leeds’ Traditional Pantomime!


The time has come to bundle the family into your pumpkin coach and join Carriageworks Theatre and Paul Holman Associates for the classic rags-to-riches fairy tale pantomime Cinderella. Downtrodden Cinders will be singing, dancing and falling in love from Friday 2 December 2016 until Saturday 7 January 2017.

All of Leeds will be charmed by Cinderella’s prince, played by the musical heart-throb and Britain’s Got Talent Winner, Jai McDowall. Following his victory on the popular TV show Jai took centre stage on The Britain’s Got Talent tour, playing to thousands at some of the biggest venues around the country. Having made his mark as a strong vocalist and performer, Jai signed to Simon Cowell’s music label Syco and released a debut album Believe, well-received by fans and critics alike.

It takes a very special comic to help Cinderella transform a pumpkin into a sparkling coach and mice into dazzling horses so brilliant entertainer and funny man Jez Edwards is pulling his red pumps back on to add extra sparkle to this glittering family show.

Tickets start at just £10.

Tickets for all Carriageworks Theatre productions can be booked on 0113 376 0318, online through the website at or in person at the City Centre Box Office, Leeds Town Hall.


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Junior Wows Audience Dancing with Justin Bieber


Leeds lad Junior Frood (12) had the time of his life recently dancing on stage with Justin Bieber at Sheffield Arena.

Junior entered a competition to be one of his dancers. He had to audition by learning a dance routine to Justin Bieber’s ‘Children’ and posting it on social media. Justin Bieber then choose the best dancers to join him. There were over 10,000 entries, and Junior was one of the four boys chosen. His audition video has over 2,500 views!


Before the show Junior got to hang out with Justin Bieber’s dancers, did a rehearsal and got the best seat in the house to watch the show in the VIP area.


Junior danced right next to Justin at the front of the stage in front of 15,000 people. He got to do his own freestyle dancing as well as the choreography he had been taught. Justin was open-mouthed at some of his moves! He asked Junior his name and introduced him to the crowd followed by a high five and a hug.


Junior is understandably on Cloud 9 and will never forget the experience. Because of his love of dance, he has been subject to a lot of bullying

All his life he has suffered bullying for his love of dance. But now he feels he has proved a point – #BoysCanDance!


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