Monday, 13 September 2010

Leeds Town Hall gearing up for red-hot winter

Leeds Town Hall will be the place to be this winter as a host of events including comedy, concerts, films and the world-class International Orchestral Season have been announced.

A new what’s on guide is now available at venues across the city outlining the broad range of events taking place at the iconic building in the coming months.

The varied line-up has been created to cater for all tastes, and includes the Victoria Hall being turned into a state-of-the-art cinema as the Leeds Film Quarter presents an acclaimed environmental documentary, a classic modern sci-fi and a brilliant Australian thriller, all showing around the Leeds International Film Festival itself which takes place in November.

Musical treats include the Houston Symphony performing Holst’s The Planets to a backdrop of NASA’s latest high-definition images from space (9 Oct), An Evening with Lee Mead, the winner of BBC’s Any Dream Will Do singing musical and pop favourites (17 Oct), while Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi performs his best-known tracks (25 Nov) and seasonal favourite, The Lord Mayor’s Carols, returns for another year (16 Dec). A first for Leeds Town Hall comes on October 22nd when the a stand-up night will be held featuring internationally-acclaimed comedian Stewart Francis.

There is also the chance to discover the hidden secrets of Leeds’ favourite building (as chosen by the public in the Leeds Architecture Awards 2009) by joining a Leeds Town Hall Tour. Visitors are given a guided tour of the original Victorian Crown Court, the basement Police Station and prison cells below, as well as learning all about the great organ in the Victoria Hall and climbing to the clock tower to see an unparalleled view of the city.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“The team at Leeds Town Hall have worked exceptionally hard to bring a wider variety of events and activities to the most popular building in the city and the line-up for the coming months looks fantastic.

“The new brochure is full of great events and those wishing to attend will need to move fast as the tickets are sure to sell out quickly.”

The events programme at Leeds Town Hall is supported by the Yorkshire Evening Post. To request a copy of the current brochure, please call 0113 247 8336 or download a copy at For further information visit or


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

Freshly picked and ready to go!

Caption: The Mill by Ockham's Razor will be one of the highlights of the season at The Carriageworks

A festival of physical and contemporary theatre is on its way to The Carriageworks in Leeds.

The Leeds City Council-managed venue off Millennium Square will be host to some of the most acclaimed theatre-makers working in the UK today when the ‘Freshly Picked’ season takes place from September to November.

Showcasing work that has created a big splash on the national scene, the season offers Leeds audiences the chance to see performances from eight of the most exciting creative companies around.

The centrepiece of the season comes from the critically-acclaimed Ockham’s Razor, who specialise in creating spectacular physical theatre on specially-constructed pieces of aerial equipment. Their latest production, The Mill (Sat 30 October), features an enormous wheel of wood and steel, which is powered by the performers and suspended in the air. The show is directed by Tony Sedgwick, who picked up an Olivier Award for his choreography on the National Theatre production War Horse. The team also includes Rufus Norris, who has previously received the Evening Standard Award for Best Director.

The season kicks off in September with The Dinosaur Show (13–15 September) from local company Crushed Arts. Led by Artistic Producer Pete Reed, the company will be premiering the show at The Carriageworks following a week’s residency at the theatre preparing for their performance.

Other highlights include Jonathan Storey’s charming and strange new story Jack Pratchard (1 October). Told through paper theatre, the show uses a rickety ‘machine’ and beautifully coloured cardboard scenes and characters to present a world like an animated painting. This is followed by Little Bulb Theatre’s Crocosmia (5 Oct), which has been showered with critical plaudits, having won a Fringe First Award, a Total Theatre Award and an Arches Brick Award.

The season continues with Tmesis Theatre’s The Dreadful Hours (6 October), directed by Javier Marzan of Peepolykus fame and with a script by Chris Fittock, who studied theatre at the University of Leeds. Angel Exit’s Moonfleet (7 October) is a stunningly theatrical version of J Meade Falkner’s classic, while Wattle & Daub Figure Theatre present their debut show, Triptych (21-22 October). The season rounds off with Finger in the Pie’s Total Theatre Award nominated Sweeney Todd: His Life, Times & Execution.

A special ticket offer is available for audiences who want to make the most of Freshly Picked – just book three or more performances from the season at the same time and get a 10% discount off each show (terms and conditions apply).

General Manager of The Carriageworks Martin McInulty said:
"Freshly Picked is all about bringing exciting and innovative theatre to Leeds. Each and every show has been selected because we think it offers something new and different.

“Our aim is for The Carriageworks to be a venue where you can discover an unexpected gem that you’ll want to tell your friends about. We are confident this will happen with the Freshly Picked line-up.”

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:

Let there be light

Caption: An image taken from Light Night last year (if used please credit Jonathan Turner)

The countdown to one of the most unique events of the year in Leeds is now firmly underway as there is less than a month to go until Light Night.

On Friday 8th October 2010, for one night only, venues across Leeds including theatres, galleries, shopping arcades, museums and city streets will host a series of strange and scintillating public performances, light shows and displays for free.

Organised by Leeds City Council’s Arts and Regeneration Unit, Light Night is now in its sixth year and continues to get bigger and better, with this year over 100 projects being held across more than 40 city centre venues.

Leeds was the first UK city to host its own Light Night, following on from the success of similar events held in Paris and Amsterdam in encouraging local residents and visitors to see their city and famous buildings from a very different perspective.

Among the bizarre and mysterious events lined up for this year’s Light Night are wandering harvesters, dancing in the Town Hall cells, city centre statues wrapped in winter knits, storytelling under the duvet and a performance in a swimming pool. The River Aire will be renamed for one night as the feared River Styx from Greek mythology, while there will also be the chance to take part in theatre in the Victoria Quarter or listen to spine-tingling opera in the Central Library.

Most events will start from 5pm and run until 10 or 11pm with some continuing into the early hours. Full details of all the projects will be revealed in the coming weeks on the Light Night website at and a print brochure will be available from late September.

Local artists and community groups such as Pyramid of Arts and People in Action play a key role in the success of Light Night, while again this year the event is supported by major arts organisations such as the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northern Ballet Theatre and The Carriageworks theatre.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“Light Night has quickly established itself as one of the highlight events of the year in Leeds and it continues to get bigger and better each time.

“It not only encourages people to explore buildings and parts of the city centre where maybe they have never been before but also acts as a fantastic showcase for the wonderfully talented artists who live in Leeds. We look forward to seeing what they have lined up for us this year.”

One project for this year’s event which is already up and running invites Leeds residents to share their memories of Leeds and their hopes for the city’s future. Contributions will be added to the ‘Collective Citizen Archive’ - a giant, balloon-filled installation by Indivisible Collective that will occupy the Leeds Arena in the Leeds City Museum on Light Night.

Anyone wishing to take part can download a question form from the Light Night website at, pick one up from the Leeds Town Hall reception desk, or send their answers to the following questions to: along with their name, age and contact details.

1. What is your favourite memory of Leeds?
2. What are your hopes for the future of Leeds?

For further information on Light Night visit or follow the build-up on Twitter at Twitter@LightNightLeeds


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

Volunteer for a safer Leeds

Are you interested in community safety? Would you like to help people in your neighbourhood prevent break-ins and car crime? Do you think you have the skills to talk to disengaged young people to help them choose alternatives to getting involved with crime? If so, there are lots of opportunities during September to help you get started.

Lots of people already volunteer to help keep places and people in Leeds safe. Volunteer wardens, special constables and neighbourhood watch schemes are all examples of where local volunteers work with the police and others to fight crime and allay people's fears about crime.

2010 is the Leeds Year of Volunteering, and throughout the month of September will focus on volunteering opportunities to promote a safer Leeds.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“We know that, despite falling levels in recent years, crime is still something that concerns the people of Leeds, and reducing crime and disorder is a key way of improving quality of life for residents.

“Obviously, the police have a major role in this, but its also really important that residents do their bit to show the small minority of trouble causers that their behaviour is not acceptable. Leeds is lucky to have lots of people already engaged in supporting the work of the police and other crime reducing agencies, but we’re always looking for more people to get involved.

“This month is a great opportunity for residents to find out how they can get involved in making our communities safer for everyone.”

Volunteer opportunities
West Yorkshire Police has recently launched a major recruitment drive to encourage volunteers into the service to undertake additional duties to those performed by police officers, police staff and the Special Constabulary. These include:
• Assisting with minor investigative work;
• Help desk support, eg telephone answering, public reception;
• Opening police offices, community points and one stop shops;
• Supporting CCTV operators at times of high demand and monitoring CCTV tapes;
• Divisional administration, eg clerical tasks including filing, photocopying, typing, inputting data on to crime systems, etc;
• Divisional neighbourhood policing support, eg quality of service checks;
• Local policing department, eg community projects;
• Mounted section, eg care of horses and equipment;
• Marketing and media – promotion of organisation;
• Training and development centre, eg. training of staff; and
• Operations support division, eg. countryside wildlife officers.

The police want to attract volunteers who reflect their local community, and are looking for people aged 16 and above who are enthusiastic, have an interest in their community and have suitable skills and abilities. If you would like more information please contact headquarters recruitment on 01924 292084, call at your local police station, or visit|Volunteers+in+Policing

Victim Support need volunteers to work with victims of crime in the community. Volunteers are trained to support victims until they feel strong enough to move forward themselves. You'll listen to their concerns and possibly liaise with other agencies to make sure that their needs are met.

Volunteers also support witnesses going to court, which can be a daunting and scary experience. You'll be trained to deal sensitively with both defence and prosecution witnesses to provide them with a friendly face, support and information during a trial. Training is also available to give very specific support to more vulnerable members of the community, such as helping young witnesses at court, or supporting victims of serious crime such as domestic abuse or sexual violence.

Victim Support also need help with administration and fundraising. You don’t need qualifications or previous experience of this kind of work to volunteer for Victim Support. All you need is a willingness to help and a little time. For further information please contact the area office on 01274 530554.


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

A big thank you to Leeds at the half way mark for appeal

Caption : From left, Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Jim McKenna and Eleanor Brazil, interim director of children's services with some of the raffle prizes.

Four weeks into the Lord Mayor’s campaign for the victims of the floods in Pakistan, and Leeds has raised over £40,000.

There have been events happening across the city including raffles, cake sales and dress down days amongst many others, all raising money for the appeal.

At only the half way mark of the appeal, there are still plenty more events happening, and there are still collection buckets at various one stop centres across Leeds, and at Civic Hall. There is also the option to donate directly to the national Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) donation lines, via text, online or cheque donations. Many local business have also joined in with the appeal, and are raising great sums of money.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:

“I would like to say a huge thank you to the people of Leeds who have given their time and money to this important appeal. I am proud of all the support and money that has been pledged.

“I would encourage people to keep donating to help the people of Pakistan, as it will need long term support to get the people back on their feet and stable again.”

One of the most recent events held, was a raffle with plenty of great prizes, including signed memorabilia from the Kaiser Chiefs, Pigeon Detectives and Leeds United. Organised by Education Leeds, and Leeds City Council’s children services department, the raffle raised over £3000.

Kaiser Chiefs guitarist Andrew ‘Whitey’ White, who donated a signed drum skin for the raffle, commented:
“We didn’t have to think twice about supporting this campaign. I’m sure the whole of Leeds will get behind the Lord Mayor’s appeal to raise funds which can save lives in Pakistan.”

Severe floods have been hitting Pakistan for seven weeks now. The floods have so far claimed over 1,500 lives and have directly affected over 17 million people. The floods, triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rain over the upper Indus River basin, have ploughed a swathe of destruction more than 1,000 kilometres long from north to south leaving over 980,000 homeless.

To support the cause please either go to the DEC website or donate through the Lord Mayor’s collection boxes. In the city centre these boxes are at the front desks of 2 Great George Street and the Civic Hall.


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

Rising to the recycling challenge at Leeds tower blocks

New communal recycling areas have opened at four tower blocks in Leeds as the city rises to the challenge of getting as many people as possible doing their bit for the environment.

Residents of four high-rise blocks in Armley and Wortley are the latest to benefit as part of a plan to ensure easy access to recycling facilities for everyone in the city.

Recycling centres have been set up outside Clyde Court and Clyde Grange in Armley and at Wortley Towers and Heights in Wortley.

It will mean people living in nearly 400 flats will be able to place plastics, paper, card and cans in bins just outside their buildings to be taken away for processing for re-use. There is also a mixed glass container for bottles, jars and other recyclable glass items.

Susan Upton, head of waste management for Leeds City Council, said:

“We’re aiming to get as many people as possible recycling across Leeds so we need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. This is part of our project to ensure handy access to recycling for everyone in the city.

“Our target is to recycle half of all the household waste Leeds produces by the year 2020 and this will go a long way towards this by reducing the amount of rubbish we send to landfill.”

In areas where it is too inaccessible for green bins, solutions include green bag collections and communal recycling. Communal recycling is already in place in parts of Little London and other areas are also in line for improvements soon.

Leeds City Council set up the Armley and Wortley facilities in partnership with West North West Homes Leeds.

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


Travel smarter to live better during European Mobility Week

Caption: Carsharing - one of the many ways to join in European Mobility Week.

Go green and jump on a bus, cycle or walk more is the message for European Mobility Week which starts this week.

From the 16 to 22 September, Leeds City Council is hosting a series of events to mark the ninth anniversary of European Mobility Week, with the 2010 theme being ‘Travel Smarter, Live Better.’

The week will see the official opening of Leeds Core Cycle Network, Route M which runs from Middleton to Leeds city centre, along with a safer cycling demonstration in Victoria Gardens involving a heavy goods vehicle, among many other events to raise awareness of smarter travel choices.

The week will start with the launch of a competition. New members are being encouraged to sign up the scheme and then be entered into a competition to win £50 of shopping vouchers. Entering the competition could not be easier, simply log on to for more information, and to register as a member.

Along with the option to car share there will be a display on Briggate on Friday 17 September of the new Toyota Prius club cars, part of the City Car Club, that allow you to rent the cars by the hour to save bringing you own car into the city.

Saturday 18 September will see the continuation of the week-long public transport promotion, “Try it ‘First’ for Free”, that will give 100 car drivers the chance to try the First bus service for free on a day of their choice.

There will be other opportunities for a short family bike ride on the Sunday 19, and from Monday 20 the focus will be on the simplicity and enjoyment of walking, with the option to try out Nordic walking.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development and regeneration said:

“It is great that Leeds is involved in raising awareness of sustainable travel alternatives during European Mobility Week.

“There are some really good events coming up over the next week, and I encourage everyone in Leeds to get involved in the week somehow, whether that means using public transport instead of the car or going out on a bike ride or walk at the weekend.”

For more information about the events happening in Leeds during European Mobility Week, visit

Notes to editors:

European Mobility Week is a European campaign to raise awareness of the need to act against pollution caused by an increase in motorised traffic in cities and improve the quality of urban life. Its aim is to encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking and promote investment in new infrastructure to support more sustainable methods of travel.

Leeds car share scheme has over 3500 members, but is looking to expand to increase everyone’s chances of finding that perfect car share match. There are thousands of empty seats in cars around Leeds every day and so we want to encourage people to share their journeys. The Leeds car share scheme competition will run until Friday 8 October.


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

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY TODAY: Sign of the times for Chapeltown gives visitors a warm welcome

Visitors to a part of Leeds are to be welcomed in a way only this unique and vibrant neighbourhood knows how – with a new sign, a song and a celebration.

A new welcome sign for Chapeltown, which has been designed by the community, is to be unveiled today.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Jim McKenna, will unveil the new “C for Chapeltown” sign and thank all the local groups who have helped produce it. Local children from Hillcrest Primary School will accompany the Lord Mayor and sing a short song about ‘the value of being a good neighbour and the strength of community spirit’.

Photo opportunity
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Jim McKenna, will unveil a new welcome sign for Chapeltown and thank all the local groups who have helped produce it.
When: Today (Monday 13 September) at 12.30pm
Where: On out-bound carriageway from Leeds city centre, just before 101 Chapeltown Road. Parking is available in nearby Leeds Media Centre’s car-park.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:
“Anyone who has driven down Chapeltown Road recently will have noticed the investment being made to build on its strong history and vibrant community, and the council is investing in Chapeltown to support its renaissance.
“This is a great example of a resident-led project that enables people to work together to show how much they love their community as well as inviting others to share in its future development.”

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, chair of Inner North East Area Committee, says:
“I hope that this welcome sign helps spread the word that Chapeltown is a cool, creative, cosmopolitan place to live and visit.
“Abdul’s inspiring words and the work put in by the community have resulted in this unique welcome to Chapeltown.”

To celebrate the vibrancy and opportunity within Chapeltown, local resident and artist Alan Pergusey worked with the community to design and create a piece of public art to mark the entrance to Chapeltown.

The community was involved in the design process from beginning to end – three artists did a ‘dragons den’ style pitch to a public meeting and the winner selected by public vote. The winner then worked with local groups, school children and residents to come up with three designs. In January, Chapeltown residents were invited to vote for their favourite design at Union 105, a new art space on Chapeltown Road, where an exhibition was held. More than 226 votes were cast and just over half chose the winning design.

Drawings from local school children inspired the winning design, and community groups helped with the mosaic. A poem that appears on it was written by 13-year-old Abdul Kanyi from the Leeds Young Authors group.

The project work with the community and the cost of the materials has been paid for by a mixture of an external grant, council money and the local budget of Inner North East Area Committee.

Recently, Leeds City Council has secured nearly £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve historic buildings in Chapeltown, improvements are being made to the road and pathways, Unity Housing is building new apartments to rent and the new £12m Reginald Centre is due to open in October.

As well as providing new services and opportunities for the local community, the investment will boost the local economy and enhance Chapeltown’s claim to be one of the up-and-coming areas of the city.

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