Thursday, 21 January 2010

Leeds theatre blossoms as it launches spring season

Caption: Julian Clary will be appearing at The Carriageworks (if image used please credit JJ Waller)

From big-name stars to the best in family entertainment and the hottest new theatre makers in the country, there’s something to put a spring in everyone’s step as The Carriageworks launches its new season this week.

A packed programme kicks off with The Lost World by the highly acclaimed Paper Cinema (21 - 22 Jan). Featuring live musical accompaniment from Little Boat, Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale is brought to life with beautifully hand-drawn marionettes, which are projected onto a white screen and animated. Paper Cinema, discovered at Battersea Arts Centre, created a massive stir with their debut show at Edinburgh’s Forest Fringe and are now touring the country with their unique blend of puppetry, art, film and music.

Tickets are already flying out for the season’s big names, including a return to stand-up for Julian Clary: Lord of the Mince (20 Feb), as well as BBC presenter and Celebrity Masterchef finalist Hardeep Singh Kohli (23 April). The ever-popular Hull Truck Theatre Company is back at Easter with Me and My Dad by much-loved playwright Nick Lane (7-9 April). And West End star Linda Marlowe performs The World’s Wife (25 Feb), a stage version of poems by the new Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

As ever, The Carriageworks provides an excellent range of shows for children and young people during the spring. Half-term means there’s lots to do for parents wanting to entertain their kids, as Unpacked Theatre present lively adventure in the form of The Jumping Mouse (16 Feb, suitable for 4-11 year olds), and Lyngo Theatre bring the beautiful and charming Fish’s Wishes (17 Feb, suitable for age 3+ and their families). A fun-packed week is rounded off by Blunderbus, with a superbly inventive adaptation of modern children’s classic Giraffes Can’t Dance (20 Feb, suitable for all the family).

The Carriageworks has established a great reputation in the last couple of years for championing new and innovative work from some of the country’s freshest new talent. Paper Birds started their career in Leeds and will be making a triumphant return home for a run of their Fringe First Award winning show In A Thousand Pieces (2-3 Feb), a critically acclaimed exploration of the British sex trade. Other highlights include the unique story-telling styles of Herald Award winner Ben Moor with Coelacanth (11 March) and Glasgow’s Kieran Hurley with Hitch (16 Feb), a show developed in Leeds as part of a mentoring programme with local company PLaY.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“The Carriageworks has come into its own lately as a major part of the theatre scene in Leeds. The venue is going from strength to strength each year, and it’s great to see it building on recent successes with a fantastic range of shows this season. The range of shows the venue has on this season means there really is something for everyone to go and see.”

Notes to editors:

1. Press tickets and interviews available on request. Tickets available from the Box Office on 0113 2243801 or online at

2. The Carriageworks is a thriving theatre at the heart of Leeds’ Millennium Square. It showcases the best new national and regional performance with a dynamic programme of theatre, dance, comedy and film. At the same time it provides support to young and emerging theatre makers, offering them a key platform to develop their work. The Carriageworks also gives opportunities for members of the local community to take part in a variety of high quality arts activities, and is home to the Leeds Civic Arts Guild. This is an umbrella group of performing societies offering the opportunity for local people to experience making theatre in a fully-functioning professional venue.


For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn, Learning and Leisure Communications Assistant
on 0113 247 8285, Email:

Take a route straight to Park Life in Leeds

Caption: This image of Woodhouse Moor from 1906 forms part of the collection

All the people, so many people are invited to go to a new exhibition at Abbey House Museum on the Parks and green spaces in Leeds.

The Victorian origins of most of the city’s parks will be on display from Saturday 23rd January onwards as Abbey House museum hosts an exhibition of Park Life. The exhibition looks at how the green spaces around Leeds were secured amongst the smoke and grime of industrial Leeds.

Among the items on show is equipment for the traditional game of knur and spell (or “poor man’s golf”) which was played on Hunslet Moor contrasting with an early croquet set. The displays will feature both wild animals and those kept in captivity (especially when Leeds actually had a zoo in the 1840s).

As well as many items from the Leeds museum collections, Abbey House is also borrowing in a few star items including a Leeds Carnival costume from the City of Leeds High School, instruments from Otley Brass Band and a uniform of Garforth Brass Band. There is also a chance to watch historic film footage (courtesy of the Yorkshire Film Archive) showing Golden Acre Park in the 1930s and the Leeds Children’s Day events in Roundhay Park.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter
“The Park Life exhibition is going to be very interesting. Leeds is a very green city, and it will be great to see what the processes were to keeping the city so green.”

The exciting look of the exhibition is a result of a new partnership with students from the Leeds Metropolitan University School of Architecture, Landscape and Design and Abbey House Musuem. The displays have been designed and constructed by a student team who won a competition in which over 40 students submitted designs.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 23rd January, 12pm and runs until the end of December 2010.

For further information on the exhibition and Abbey House, visit;


For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn, Learning and Leisure Communications Assistant
on 0113 247 8285, Email:

Statement on Leeds City Council-managed sports pitches

Leeds City Council have announced that all council-managed sports pitches will be available for use this weekend.

A spokesman for Leeds City Council said:

“All Leeds City Council-managed sports pitches have now recovered from the recent extreme weather and have been passed fit to be reopened for play this weekend.”


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Getting in a spin for the victims of Haiti disaster

Youngsters dedicated to improving their communities are to go round in circles to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Junior Wardens recruited by East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) are staging a sponsored hoola hoop session to raise funds for the relief effort for the three million people affected by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on 12 January, which struck close to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

The novel idea was struck upon by two of the girls on the scheme, one 10 and the other 11-years-old, and all 14 Junior Wardens will be taking part along with Ronnie the Rhino from the Leeds Rhinos rugby team.

**************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ****************

What: Junior Wardens taking part in a sponsored hoola hope session in aid of the victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Where: Cross Gates Primary School, Poole Crescent, Leeds LS15 7NB
When: Monday 25 January from 12.30pm until about 1.15pm

ENEHL recruited the Junior Wardens to help improve communities and set a great example to other young people. They have three basic rules:
1. Junior Wardens will have respect for themselves and will show this through their behaviour
2. Junior Wardens will have respect for others
3. Junior Wardens will have respect for their environment.

Working with ENEHL, the new recruits get involved in practical projects such as litter picks, as well as having the chance to meet other members of their communities to better understand and appreciate how people get along. They also act as extra eyes and ears for the community by spotting where graffiti or fly-tipping has appeared, reporting broken streetlamps and spreading safety messages among their peers.

All the Junior Wardens are Year 5 and Year 6 pupils, nine to 11-year-olds, at Cross Gates Primary School on Poole Crescent. They all receive a hoodie and an ID badge, and remain Junior Wardens for one year. Each group is helped by ENEHL’s Community Involvement team.

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
“This is a really fun, enterprising way of raising funds for the victims of the Haiti earthquake and I hope everyone will support them as much as they can.
“It’s great to see young people taking the initiative and helping those less fortunate than themselves – that’s exactly the reason we set up the Junior Wardens scheme and it’s wonderful to see.”

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods, said:
“This is a great idea for the young people to come up with and I’m fully behind their efforts, the best of luck to them in raising funds for this worthwhile cause .”

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937

Conservation area reviews – Bramham and Woodhall Hills

Residents in the village of Bramham and the hamlet of Woodhall Hills are being asked for their views about the future of their local conservation areas, and to comment on what makes the villages special to them.

Both are recognised conservation areas - Bramham was designated in 1975 and Woodhall Hills in 1984 - which helps to safeguard their special architectural and historic characters, and protect important buildings from demolition. A review of both boundaries is now due.

Periods of public consultation will start for both villages on Monday, 18 January, and public meetings where residents can meet the local community conservation officer and discuss what make the villages special, which buildings and spaces they value the most and how they could be enhanced, will be held as follows:

Bramham - Saturday, 20 February between 10am and 2pm at Bramham Village Hall
Woodhall Hills - Saturday, 6 February between 10 and 11am at The Barn, adjacent to Calverley Church

The Bramham review will run for six weeks until Friday, 26 February, and the Woodhall Hills review will last for four weeks until Friday, 12 February.

Councillor Andrew Carter, council leader and executive board member responsible for development, said:
“It is important that we safeguard the special architectural nature and historic character of these villages and protect important buildings from demolition.

“The opinions of local people are an integral part of the process and these two public meetings are an opportunity for people to speak to conservation officers and make their views known to the council.

“I strongly urge residents in Bramham and Woodhall Hillls to take part in the consultations to help us protect their local environment.”

Buildings within a conservation area are protected from unauthorised demolition, and new developments have to meet higher standards of design than elsewhere. Other planning rules are slightly different and permission from the council is needed for certain activities such as tree felling.

Local councillors in the Wetherby and Harewood, and Calverley and Farsley wards have both made these reviews a priority, and have allocated money to ensure the conservation areas are up to date.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Emergency action plan for cold weather damage to city road network

Leeds City Council is rolling out an emergency action plan to repair the damage caused by the cold weather on the city’s road network.

Around £500,000 has been earmarked to carry out extra safety inspections and repairs to potentially dangerous pot holes.

The council is one of the country’s highest spending councils for road repairs, spending an extra £91.3m above normal funding levels, over nine years.

Before the cold snap arrived, many roads had been resurfaced and these have held up well in the bad weather. However, the recent cold weather has set back progress causing some serious damage to the city’s 2,000 mile road network.

Potholes are one of the main problems causing major problems to motorists. They are caused when water gets into the tarmac which then freezes and expands, pushing the tarmac up from underneath, causing potholes to develop.

Council leader, Councillor Andrew Carter, who is responsible for the city’s highways said:
"The bad weather has left us with a massive problem in terms of damage to road surfaces. We have to deal with the most dangerous potholes as a matter of urgency, and its important that we respond speedily to reports from the general public.

“It is a very serious problem, and one which we have to deal with ourselves, as we will not and do not get any extra funding from the Government for these sorts of issues.

"We are not through the winter yet, and will probably have a lot more cold weather, which will make the situation worse. Clearly we cannot allow the situation to deteriorate.

"Our highways staff, supplemented by other council employees, are working extremely hard to carry out the necessary repairs as a matter of urgency. We will continue to try to find additional funding from within our budgets, to keep our roads and footpaths properly maintained."


For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602

‘Fantastic four’ lead the way in new council fitness drive

Caption: Bodyline members (left to right) Bev Lambert, Brian Lindley and Elisia Ray go through their paces with Leeds City Council Head of Sport and Active Recreation Mark Allman stretching in front of them.

Four committed gym-goers in Leeds are proudly on display all over the city as part of a drive to encourage people to improve their fitness.

Images of the quartet - 75-year-old Brian Lindley from East Ardsley, 43-year-old Bev Lambert from Morley, 37-year-old Dave Vickers from Pudsey and 26-year-old Elisia Ray from Cottingley - can be seen on posters and billboards all over Leeds to promote Leeds City Council’s new fitness campaign ‘My Body, My Bodyline’.

The four have been rewarded for their devotion to their local gyms – between them they regularly use seven of the 11 Bodyline gyms in the city - with starring roles in the campaign which aims to encourage people of all ages to make use of council-managed leisure centres and Bodyline gyms to improve their levels of fitness.

The campaign, which will run until the end of March, is focused on what motivates people to get fit by showcasing four of the most committed current Bodyline members rather than local celebrities or famous sports stars in Leeds.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“We were looking to do something a bit different with this campaign, so rather than bringing in famous faces or top sports stars from Leeds we have decided to focus on four of our most committed gym members and what drives them to improve their fitness.

“Everyone has their own story to tell and reason for wanting to perhaps be a little more active, so hopefully by finding out about our four Bodyline members and what motivates them people of all ages will be inspired to give it a go themselves.”

The Bodyline membership scheme is the largest fitness provider in Leeds, with approximately 13,000 current members. They make use of the facilities at 18 leisure centres located across the city, including 16 swimming pools, 11 Bodyline gyms and a choice of over 500 fitness classes.

These facilities are to receive a major boost this year with the much-anticipated opening of two brand new state-of-the-art leisure centres at Armley and Morley in a £33m project as well as further improvements being carried out at Scott Hall, Kippax, Kirkstall, Aireborough and John Smeaton leisure centres and continuous upgrades of the equipment in all the Bodyline gyms.

For further information on Bodyline contact any council-managed leisure centre, visit the webpage at or call 0113 3950160.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

2010 GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon under starter's orders...

Caption: Runners at the launch together with 96.3 Radio Aire presenters JK & Joel (kneeling) with the Yorkshire Cancer Research clanger mascot and Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Cllr John Procter standing behind

Leeds’ most famous shopping street was temporarily turned into a mini running track today for the official launch of this year’s GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon.

Shoppers heading for Briggate this morning were met by the unusual sight of a start and finish line and course complete with markers signifying each of the 13.1 miles which thousands of runners will take to in May for one of the biggest mass-participation events of the year in Leeds.

Organised by Leeds City Council and sponsored by utility company GDF SUEZ in association with media partner 96.3 Radio Aire and kit suppliers Up and Running, this year’s event takes place on Sunday 9th May.

Over 5,000 people of all ages are expected to take part in the GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon and corporate challenge which starts and finishes on Millennium Square. The fun run and junior run element of the event will be launched separately by organisers Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All later this month.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“The Leeds Half-Marathon is an event which attracts thousands of people from all over the city and beyond to take part, so we look forward to seeing a full entry once again this year.”

Chief Executive of GDF SUEZ ENERGY UK Marc Hirt said:

"GDF SUEZ is extremely proud to once again be the sponsor of this year’s Leeds Half-Marathon, continuing our long-term association with the race. We believe it’s a great event and a fantastic way to raise money for charity. Staff from our offices in Yorkshire and across the UK will be taking part and we hope they'll be joined by many thousands from across the region.”

Entries are now open for the half-marathon and corporate challenge elements of the event. The main GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon takes in a course around the city and is open to anyone 17 and over. Everyone who successfully completes the course will receive a race medal and t-shirt at the finish line, while certificates and the official results will be able to be downloaded from the website at There are also a range of prizes on offer, including £500 for both the first female and male runners to finish.

The GDF SUEZ Corporate Challenge offers the chance for businesses to take part in the event. Teams of six employees each run a section of the half-marathon course in a relay format, with various prizes up for grabs. With no limits on the number of teams each business can enter, it is hoped up to 150 teams will be taking part this year.

96.3 Radio Aire’s Breakfast Show presenters JK and Joel, who will be broadcasting the event live from Millennium Square, said:

“This is our first chance to experience the Leeds Half-Marathon and we are told it is a fantastic event so we can’t wait to see it this year. It would be brilliant to see people of all ages either taking part or coming along to show their support on the day so we hope to see thousands of people on Millennium Square having a great time.”

All the runners will be asked to raise sponsorship money for official event charity Yorkshire Cancer Research, which carries out research into the causes and cures of cancer across the region.

Yorkshire Cancer Research Events Manager Emma Young said:

“We are thrilled to be the official charity partner for the 2010 GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon, especially as this year marks our 85th anniversary and it is such a positive way of reinforcing the fact that our research work in Yorkshire is only possible because of the continuing generosity of the people of Leeds and throughout Yorkshire. We are hoping to raise about £20,000 from the event, from individual sponsorship and from corporate teams running on our behalf, and that money will go back into funding research here in Yorkshire.”

New for this year, anyone keen to take part will be able to follow regular updates via twitter at

Last year’s half-marathon was won by Andrew Pearson of Longwood Harriers in a time of one hour seven minutes 46 seconds while the ladies section was won for the second year running by Sue Harrison of Leamington in one hour 18 minutes five seconds.

The entry fee for the GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon is £18 for affiliated club runners and £20 for those not affiliated to running clubs. Entry into the GDF SUEZ Corporate Challenge is £84 per team.

For more information or to receive an application form go to or call Leeds City Council’s Sport Development Unit on 0113 395 0001. Application forms can also be collected from Leeds City Council leisure centres and the 96.3 Radio Aire reception. The deadline for entries is Friday 9th April.

Notes to editors:

Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR), now in its 85th year, is the UK’s largest regional medical research charity and provides millions of pounds worth of funding for research into the causes and cures of cancer – all of which is carried out in Yorkshire through universities and associated teaching hospitals in Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and York. More information on YCR and the work it funds can be found at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: