Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Leeds gets ready for Light Night

Caption: Opera North's majestic version of ‘Titania’s Dream’ (top image) at the Howard Assembly Rooms is sure to be one of the highlights of this year's Light Night, along with a wide variety of illuminations and attractions (lower image courtesy of Jonathan Turner)

Some of Leeds’ most well-known venues will come alive to showcase the weird and wonderful for one night only next week as the annual Light Night takes place.

Details for this year’s event have now been released by organisers Leeds City Council, with more than 70 events taking place at over 40 locations in and around the city centre from 5-11pm on Friday 7 October.

Now in its seventh year, Light Night aims to encourage residents and visitors to see their city and famous buildings from a very different perspective through a range of public performances, light shows and displays for free.

Among the highlights for Light Night this year are two Shakespearean performances of ‘Othello’ at the University of Leeds and ‘Titania’s Dream’ by Opera North at the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds Grand Theatre, complete with an enchanted magical maze, echoing images and beautiful music.

A further challenge to the senses comes at West Riding House, where ‘The Tunnel’ will see visitors travel through the journey of life through a stunning interactive installation, while The Carriageworks off Millennium Square will act as a beacon for information on the night as it will feature a display of illuminated umbrellas.

Leeds Town Hall will be a focal point for the event, with a sneak preview of this year’s Leeds International Film Festival taking place in the Victoria Hall followed by a showing of silent film classic ‘Nosferatu’ complete with live organ accompaniment by organist Simon Lindley.

The town hall will also feature a display of animations by the Quay Brothers, offering a glimpse into the minds of the high-profile American artists who will be putting on a spectacular show in Leeds next summer as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Leeds Festival Chorus will be singing a selection of haunting motets on the steps of the town hall, while a different musical style will see classic William Blake poetry recited through hip hop outside FAB Café on Woodhouse Lane.

The ever-popular tours of the Leeds Town Hall clocktower will also be taking place, as well as guided walks around the city centre where the group may encounter the work of the ‘guerilla knitting group’, who will be leaving their trademark displays on show at various locations and on lampposts.

The guide for this year’s event is now available at, giving details of each activity as well as how the city centre will be split into four sections for Light Night, with attractions on offer in the academic, civic, retail and south side elements.

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.

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

“Light Night continues to get better each year, with more and more venues and artists getting involved which is great to see.

“This year’s event again features a wide variety of performances and activities for people of all ages to enjoy so we look forward to seeing lots of people taking the chance to see the city centre in a very different light and having a great time.”

Printed programmes will be available on Light Night at participating venues, and for more information go to


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Young people given the skills needed to get into employment

A number of young people in Leeds are starting new jobs thanks to an innovative new employment scheme from the council.

David, 18, from Seacroft is one of a group of 140 young people to have already taken part in the scheme and gain valuable work experience, life skills and qualifications, which will give them the employability factor.

David was so successful in his time working with Spectrum for Arcadia that they have offered him a full time role in the warehouse (see more in case study one, below).

Shamoon Iqbal also has had great success with the YOUth Inspire programme, getting a job at The Queens Hotel (see case study two).

Leeds City Council has invested over £400,000 and matched this with resources from Leeds City College and the Skills Funding Agency to support 580 young people aged 16-24 to access the support and skills training needed to help them secure a job, apprenticeship or further work-related training.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for employment and skills said:
“Today’s job market provides a really tough prospect for young people. It is really important that we help get young people into work and also make sure they get into the habit of working and continue to progress their careers.

“This programme which aims to improve young people’s lives and support them on their journey into work is already proving very successful, and it is great to hear that it really is working as seen by the excellent progress made by David and Shamoon.”

Case study 1:
David,18 from Seacroft started his AS levels in 6th form but did not complete and left before the first year had finished.

He undertook some volunteer work for a short while before joining an agency where he worked as a temporary packer for a month. He then attended Leeds City College and gained a level 1 qualification in electronics.

When he started the YOUth Inspire programme he did not have high expectations of gaining employment. However he soon realised the opportunity was there and made sure in his own words he ”knuckled down”. He was quickly employed at Spectrum for Arcadia as a warehouse operative, and has been enjoying work so much that he has offered to work extra hours and proved to be very reliable.

David said:
“Everyone has a “work coach” in the warehouse and there is lots of support. He is extremely happy and is already planning what he will buy his family for Christmas!

The company have spoken very highly of David saying he has proved to be hardworking, reliable and an excellent team player.

Case study 2 - Shamoon Iqbal
Shamoon Iqbal, 24 years old from Burley has been unemployed since April 2010.

Shamoon took his placement at the Queens Hotel in the banqueting department, where he learnt a range of service skills, for example, event preparation for weddings and conferences.

Shamoon, who has gained a lot of experience working at the Queens commented:
‘Youth Inspire did help me a lot. Michelle my caseworker supported me lots. I did not think I’d get the job and was very surprised I got the offer. It was all good’

Leeds City Council is working in partnership with Leeds City College, Jobcentre Plus, Learning Partnerships and other learning providers including Groundwork, Re’new and Health for All to deliver eight week programmes to young people.

The contract to deliver this exciting initiative was awarded to Learning Partnerships, a Leeds-based education charity that works with children, young people and their families in some of the most deprived areas of the city.

Employers already on board with the scheme include: The Queens Hotel, Arcadia, Geomatt Construction, Active Learning and Comet as well as other well established businesses across a range of sectors. Businesses have been keen to support the initiative and realise the difficulties young people face in the current climate.

Notes to Editors
To be part of the YOUth Inspire Programme, you must be either 16-18yrs old and not in Education, Employment or Training OR 18-24 years old and claiming JSA. To find out more and register, please contact your Jobcentre or Connexions advisor.

Any businesses wanting to become involved in YOUth Inspire please contact Debbie Banks at Learning Partnerships 0113 3806714

1. For further information, please contact Sarah Suess – Jobzone Project Coordinator, Learning Partnerships, The Burton Business Park, Hudson Road, Leeds, LS9 7DN. Tel: 0113 3806662/07807 972655. Email:
2. The YOUth Inspire programme is for young people who are ‘work ready.’ Recruits will be required to undertake an assessment and interview
3. Learning Partnerships is a Leeds based charity, established in 1990, which works with children, young people and their families. Registered charity no 1003603.
4. Images can be provided in various file formats by contacting either: or
For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450