Monday, 2 August 2010

The Carriageworks gets set to turn five in style

Caption: The aerial spectacular 'The Mill' can be seen at The Carriageworks in October

The Carriageworks theatre in Leeds is throwing a party this autumn as it gets ready to celebrate its fifth anniversary in style this November.

The Millennium Square venue’s autumn schedule has now been announced with the impressive line-up affirming why The Carriageworks has quickly attained a reputation for showcasing and developing the best in new performances from around the country.

Highlights include Freshly Picked, The Carriageworks’ annual festival of the best physical and contemporary theatre from across the UK. The season kicks off with Leeds’ very own Crushed Arts, presenting the premiere of The Dinosaur Show (Mon 13 – Wed 15 Sept), and includes eight new pieces from some of the finest theatremakers working today. Among them are multi-award winners Little Bulb Theatre, whose Crocosmia (Tues 5 Oct) has won a Total Theatre Award, a Fringe First Award and an Arches Brick Award.

Anticipation is also high for the first visit to Leeds of the critically-acclaimed Ockham’s Razor, who are renowned for creating spectacular physical theatre on specially-constructed pieces of aerial equipment. Latest creation The Mill (Sat 30 Oct) features an enormous wheel of wood and steel, which is powered by the performers and suspended in the air. The piece is directed by Tony Sedgwick, who picked up an Olivier Award for his choreography on the National Theatre production War Horse.

The Carriageworks continues to support new writing, with one of the first performances of Red Ladder Theatre’s new play, Ugly (Mon 27 Sept – Tues 28 Sept). The Leeds-based company have commissioned the piece from local writer Emma Adams, whose previous collaboration with them, Forgotten Things, was shortlisted for the 2009 Meyer-Whitworth Award and received rave reviews on its visit to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Younger audiences are well catered for, with the latest production from Tall Stories, best known for their hugely successful adaptations of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom. Twinkle Twonkle (Sun 26 Sept) is a new show inspired by nursery rhymes and the Big Bang. This is followed by The Night Pirates (Tues 26 Oct) at half-term, an adaptation of the much-loved book by Theatre Hullabaloo in partnership with the The Egg, which features puppets, song and ballet-dancing pirates.

In the lead-up to Christmas, families will also need to be quick to snap up tickets for The Carriageworks’ hugely popular traditional pantomime, which this year is Cinderella (Fri 3 Dec 2010 – Sat 8 Jan 2011). Last year’s panto broke all Box Office records and this year’s offering, produced by Paul Holman Associates, is set continue its phenomenal success.

The autumn comedy line-up is as strong as ever, with gags-a-plenty from a host of top stand-ups. Robin Ince’s Bad Book Club (Wed 8 Sept) sees the co-creator of Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage combine his twin passions, science and bad literature, with hilarious effect. Dr Phil Hammond presents his Rude Health Show on Wednesday 15 September. The GP and comedian has appeared on The One Show, Have I Got News for You, The News Quiz and many others. Mitch Benn and the Distractions (Sat 9 Oct) sees the Now Show multi-award-winner take to the road with a brand new selection of satirical music-making. And multi-award Irish superstar comic Tommy Tiernan brings his new show Crooked Man (Sun 24 Oct) to Leeds as part of his long-awaited UK national tour.

The Carriageworks will also once again be at the heart of activities for Light Night (Fri 8 Oct) – Leeds’ one-night, all-night, city centre celebration of all that is great about creative activity and the arts in our area. Events at the theatre include two performances of the Fleur Darkin Company’s DISGO, an immersive dance piece in which the audience enjoys close interaction with the performers. The show is performed to a specially commissioned score by Glyn Perrin (who has worked with Richard Alston, one of the most influential choreographers working in Britain today.) Elsewhere in the venue, Tripping the Light Pramtastic will provide a total sensory experience for babies and toddlers up to 2 years old.

Carriageworks manager Martin McInulty said:

"I’m thrilled at some of the talent we’ve got on display at The Carriageworks this autumn. We’ve managed to attract some of the best performers and theatre companies working in the UK, and it shows just how far we’ve come as a venue in the last couple of years. I can’t wait to see people’s reactions to the shows – they won’t be disappointed!”

For further information about The Carriageworks visit the website at

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:
Roger Boyde,leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Judgement day arrives as Leeds looks to Bloom

Caption: Canal Gardens in Roundhay Park will feature on the judges' tour

Parks and green spaces in Leeds go under the microscope this week as the city is judged for the prestigious Britain in Bloom competition.

Following Leeds’ achievement of winning gold in last year’s Yorkshire in Bloom, the competition organisers the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) invited the city to enter the main national category this year.

The judges will be in Leeds on Thursday 5th August to assess how the city’s green spaces and floral arrangements fit in with the competition’s theme of creating a cleaner and greener Britain through partnerships and community action.

The day begins at Civic Hall in Leeds at 9am where the judges will be greeted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna before the assessment begins with a tour of a variety of locations all over the city centre including famous landmarks such as Millennium Square, the 2004 ‘From Freedom to the Future’ Chelsea Flower Show garden in honour of Nelson Mandela, Park Square, The Headrow, Briggate, the Victoria Quarter and the Corn Exchange.

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Media are invited to two photo opportunities around the judges' visit. The first is at 9am at Civic Hall with Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Jim McKenna welcoming the judges to the city. The second is at Canal Gardens in Roundhay Park at 2pm at the end of the judges' tour.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY***********************************

The group will then leave the city centre behind as they travel to the outer villages of Leeds taking in Garforth, Thorpe Park, Cross Gates, Shadwell and Skelton Woods to see the work of community ‘In Bloom’ groups before returning to Leeds for a final tour of Roundhay Park and the ‘Gardens of the World’ section which contains two more of Leeds’ award-winning Chelsea Flower Show gardens.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna said:

“We are nervous and excited at the same time about the judges coming to Leeds – we know they will be impressed but we really want to win!

“We all know Leeds is renowned for its fantastic parks and green spaces but a huge amount of hard work goes into making them look so impressive, often by volunteers giving up their time for free, so we just hope the weather is kind and Leeds can look at its wonderful best and wow the judges on their visit.”

For further information on the Britain in Bloom competition, visit the website at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Football Fridays for young people

Young people will get the opportunity to try out cage football and DJing on Friday afternoons throughout the summer for free.

The multi agency run project, organised by Leeds City Council aims to engage young people in the Meanwood area with positive activities such as sport and music.

The project, funded by the inner north east area committee will run every Friday throughout the summer months and will allow young people to try out two on two cage football sessions and have a go at being an MC or get involved with one of the DJ sessions.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, chair of the inner north east area committee said:
“This is a great opportunity for young people to try out new activities such as cage football and DJing during the summer months, and really get a feel for what the activities are all about.

“It will also give them a chance to find out about other activities that they can get involved with in their local area.”

The events will run at Beckhill Avenue, Meanwood, and are open to all eight to 19 year olds in the area. Leeds Play Network will also offer activities for those aged five to 13.

The activities will run on Fridays 2-4pm on 30 July, 6 August, 13 August, 20 August and 3 September. On the 10, 17 and 24 September the activities will run from 6-8pm.

There are also four further cage football and DJ sessions taking place on Queenshill Avenue in Moortown, on Friday evenings on 6 August, 13 August, 20 August and 3 September between 5.30 -7.30pm.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Families to move in to new affordable homes in west Leeds

Families are due to move into new affordable housing in Highfield Gardens, Wortley, at the end of this month.

The 41 new homes are the latest in a series of new affordable housing developments being built across the city through the Affordable Housing Strategic Partnership.

Local people who have been living in overcrowded homes have been able to apply for the new houses, delivered by Accent Foundation and Unity Housing. The scheme is made up from 22 new homes for rent including eight two-bedroomed bungalows built for people over 55. A further 19 homes are available for shared ownership.

The new houses and bungalows will free up more homes for families in west Leeds.

Highfield Gardens is one of a number of schemes being delivered by through Leeds City Council’s innovative Affordable Housing Strategic Partnership. Since 2007, it has used council-owned land to attract investment for affordable housing.

The Partnership was able to buck the trend during the early days of the credit crunch while in other parts of the country the recession dampened efforts to increase the number of affordable homes. The partnership’s approach led to the delivery of 413 affordable homes across the city in 2009/10. The coming year this total will be more than double, with more than 900 homes provided by April next year.

The Affordable Housing Strategic Partnership is aware of the challenges which lie ahead. However, it aims to continue delivering the maximum number of new affordable homes by using its own land, making use of the planning process and working with other organisations in the public and private sectors.

The council is working with the Homes and Communities Agency to develop an investment plan for Leeds, funding levels will be determined by the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will be announced in October.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing and chair of the Affordable Housing Strategic Partnership Board, said:
“The council believes that people across Leeds should have the chance to live in a proper decent home. Our commitment towards affordable housing is central to this.
“The new homes at Highfield Gardens have been built because of the work of the Affordable Housing Strategic Partnership. Its achievements are something that the whole city should be proud of.
“New developments like the one at Highfield Gardens will free up much needed accommodation for other families. It is vital that this type of work should continue. We need to build on the work of the partnership and do all we can to create more affordable housing in Leeds.
“We want to continue to improve people’s lives and provide opportunities for them to live in good quality homes that meet their needs and aspirations.”

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

Inner-city clean-up hit squads disbanded as funding is axed

People in inner-city areas of Leeds are being advised that their street cleaning service will be affected as national funding for specialised “hit squad” clean-up teams has been axed.

Although normal street-cleaning will continue, a dedicated squad of eight mobile teams which target inner-city areas in need of greater attention has been disbanded.

The 20-strong staff have been found other jobs within Leeds City Council’s Streetscene service after the cash was withdrawn. They have been redeployed to posts held vacant since previous workers left.

A Government-funded Local Public Service Agreement (LPSA) grant which paid for the programme has now ended and the council can not afford to come up with cash to replace it. However, it is stressing that standard street cleaning services will stay the same.

Cllr Tom Murray, executive member for environmental services, said:

“We’re pledging to do our best to keep streets in the inner-city as clean as we can. Unfortunately, however, there has been an unexpected cut in Government funding which leaves us little money to do more.

“The mobile street cleaning teams provided a fantastic, high-quality rapid response in areas that needed it most and really contributed towards improving the quality of life in neighbourhoods by making the environment more pleasant.

“So it is with deep regret that we have had to disband these excellent teams. Unfortunately we simply do not have the money to fund the service ourselves now this funding has been taken away, especially when in the current financial climate we are being asked to reduce spending, not increase it.

“We have found alternative work for our permanent workers and there will be no redundancies.”

The mobile street cleaning teams were originally known as neighbourhood management pride teams and played a major role in improving environmental quality, street cleaning and in supporting crime and grime initiatives such as Operation Champion.

Part of the teams’ work in inner-city neighbourhoods was to inspire residents by example to appreciate how pleasant their environment can be if it is kept clean and tidy. Communities are being encouraged to continue playing their part in keeping neighbourhoods clean.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335