Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Festive fun as Christmas panto begins at The Carriageworks

Caption: Marshall Lancaster as villain 'Fleshcreep' with Janine Pardo (Princess Amelia) photographed at final rehearsals for the show (if used credit Robin Savage Photography)

The Carriageworks in Leeds is the place to go for the magic of the Christmas pantomime as the festive favourite ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ has begun.

Running until Saturday 5 January 2013, the show featuring ‘Ashes to Ashes’ star Marshall Lancaster and former CBBC presenter Jez Edwards is already entertaining families and people all ages at the Leeds City Council-managed theatre off Millennium Square.

Marshall Lancaster takes on the role of panto villain Fleshcreep in the show, following on from roles in the hugely successful television police series ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’ as well as ‘Casualty’ and ‘Doctor Who’.

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Media are invited to attend the press night for Jack and the Beanstalk which will take place at The Carriageworks on Saturday 8 December from 6:30pm. If you wish to attend please email with ‘Panto Press Night’ in the subject or call 0113 247 4746.
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Looking ahead to his role playing the villain, Marshall Lancaster said:

“Panto is really good fun, it feels more like messing about than anything! It’s quite a transition from television work to panto, there is less pressure in panto and even though you try not to go wrong the audience seem to really like it when you do. I had a bit of a baptism of fire last year (in a similar role at Newark in Nottinghamshire) as we went wrong and I said the dame had gone wrong. The dame then walked off stage and sat in the front row saying ‘you can carry on without me’, so I learned the hard way that whatever happens never blame the dame!

“Playing the villain again will be fine – last year the first time I went on stage being met by a jet-stream of boos was quite an experience but you get into it no problem. The singing and dancing will be hard, but I don’t need to be Pavarotti as the audience will probably be booing me throughout anyway so it’ll be okay!”

To contrast Marshall’s first appearance in Leeds, Jez Edwards is back at The Carriageworks for a fourth successive year appearing in the show produced by London-based pantomime experts Paul Holman Associates (PHA).

Jez Edwards, who plays Simple Simon, said:

“Leeds is a real theatre city and panto here is great as The Carriageworks is such a lovely intimate venue and you can see how happy it makes the kids as you can see their faces.

“Last year I recognised some of the same faces as from the previous two years, which is great to see and also now lots of my friends have young children so hopefully they will come along to see the show too.

“This is the first time I’ve done Jack and the Beanstalk in over 10 years so it’s nice to do a different story. Christmas for me is pantomime. In about the last 14 years I think I’ve only had one year off from doing panto and that year by Boxing Day I was bored, so I can’t wait for another Christmas performing in Leeds.”

Also appearing in the show produced by London-based pantomime experts Paul Holman Associates (PHA) at the Leeds City Council-managed theatre off Millennium Square are Allan Jay (as Jack), Barry North (Dame Trott) and Janine Pardo (Princess Amelia).

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

“The final run-up to Christmas really does start here with The Carriageworks pantomime beginning. We are delighted to welcome Paul Holman and his team back to Leeds and we know it will be a fantastic show for people of all ages to enjoy in the weeks to come.”

Tickets are available for ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, which runs until Saturday 5 January 2013 at The Carriageworks theatre in Leeds, online at or by calling the box office on 0113 224 3801.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472,

Achievements celebrated for International Day of Disabled Persons

Double Paralympic medallist from London 2012, David Stone MBE, will be the guest of honour at an event to mark the United Nation’s International Day of Disabled Persons in Leeds later this week.

David will visit Osmondthorpe Resource Centre on Thursday 6 December to talk about his own personal achievements and to celebrate some of the many achievements made by customers of the centre.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Photographers are invited to attend the start of the event at Osmondthorpe Resource Centre at 10.45am on Thursday, 6 December to take photographs of David Stone MBE, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon (executive member for adult social care services in Leeds) and service users.

To arrange attendance please contact Claire Macklam on 0113 395 1578 or email

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Osmondthorpe Resource Centre provides a range of services for people with a physical and/or sensory impairment. It has been helping to rehabilitate people after life-changing accidents or illness for more than 23 years by providing a range of opportunities including education, work skills training, day-to-day independent living skills and emotional support as well as creating employment opportunities.

The event on Thursday will be a celebration of the achievements made on many different levels by the people that use the centre.

Leeds City Council’s executive board member with responsibility for adult social care, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, will welcome people to the event at 11am on Thursday. She said:
“International Day of Disabled Persons is the perfect time to celebrate the achievements of people with disabilities in Leeds, who are living proof that having a disability need not be a barrier to success.

"As a fantastic illustration of this I'm delighted that David Stone MBE will be joining us to speak about his many achievements. I’m certain that hearing him speak will be a real inspiration to the people there who themselves have many barriers to overcome in their lives.

"People with disabilities have a real role to play in society, and this event is also a great opportunity for them to find out about the support that is available to help them get the very best out of their lives.”

Ian Wallace, manager of the Osmondthorpe Resource Centre, said:
“On the back of this year’s Paralympics and the success of our athletes, we thought that a celebration day to promote the achievements, however big or small, of our service users, as part of the International Day of Disabled Persons would be a great idea.

“The Paralympics didn’t just challenge the attitudes and barriers of society, it demolished them and made people aware of what can be achieved. Individuals such as Hannah Cockcroft and David Stone are now household names in their own right.”

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

Major Tropical World revamp set to be approved

Caption: Tropical World in Roundhay

Senior councillors in Leeds will next week discuss a major refurbishment of one of the most popular visitor attractions in the city.

Proposals for a revamp of The Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World in Roundhay will be debated by Leeds City Council’s executive board at the meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 12 December, with approval expected to be given for the first phase of the plans.

Under the £720,000 scheme, the council-managed attraction which is home to a range of animals including meerkats, butterflies, birds, fish, reptiles, nocturnal monkeys and bats would undergo its most significant improvements since first opening to the public in 1984.

The most eye-catching of the improvements would be the creation of a new ‘walkover’ crocodile enclosure, allowing visitors to enjoy a close-up view of the three Morelet’s Crocodiles which arrived at Tropical World in December 2009.

In the three years since their arrival, the trio have grown significantly and are now ready to move into a larger purpose-built enclosure where they can continue to develop to their expected full size of approximately nine feet long.

Another new addition would be the creation of a semi-dark aquarium where colourful tropical fish would be highlighted by ultra-violet lighting, while there would also be improvements made to the nocturnal zone.

A new bigger entrance would be created along with a children’s party and educational area, while there would be also be an extended cafĂ© area, new shop and toilet facilities.

The proposals have been drawn up following feedback from visitors, as well as a consultation exercise carried out at nearby Roundhay Park Visitor Centre and discussions with the Friends of Roundhay Park and other key stakeholders.

The work will be carried out in two stages to enable the attraction to remain open throughout, with the first seeing the creation of the new crocodile enclosure, entrance and education/children’s zone starting in January 2013 and being completed in March.

The second phase would then be expected to follow in winter 2013 with the revamp complete by Easter 2014.

The improvements will be funded by Leeds City Council along with a generous donation from the Ziff family, who are to continue their long-standing patronage of Tropical World which dates back to the 1980s when Arnold Ziff donated a substantial sum to help Leeds City Council turn the idea of creating a visitor attraction displaying tropical plants and animals into a reality.

In the summer of 2008, the contribution of the Ziff family to Roundhay Park and the city of Leeds as benefactors was officially recognised when Tropical World was renamed ‘The Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World’ in their honour, although for day-to-day use it is still known as Tropical World.

The success of the venue has seen Tropical World become one of the leading visitor attractions in Yorkshire, with over 300,000 visits being made each year.

Leeds City Council executive member for the environment Councillor Mark Dobson said:

“Tropical World is a fantastic attraction for Leeds and has been an amazing success for almost 30 years now. We are keen to ensure it has a strong future and with these exciting new elements and changes we are confident it will attract even more visitors in the years to come. We are hugely grateful to the Ziff family for their generous backing of these improvements and continued support.”

For further information on Tropical World and its opening hours go to or call 0113 237 0754.


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Leeds Arena opening act announced as Elton John

Leeds City Council has welcomed today's announcement that Leeds Arena will open on Wednesday September 4 2013 with a performance from Elton John.

This press release is issued on behalf of Leeds Arena:

Leeds Arena to stage only UK indoor show by Elton John in 2013

He is undoubtedly one of the biggest artists in the world today, instantly recognisable, adored by his fans and he has today confirmed that he will play his only UK indoor date at the Leeds Arena next year.

Elton John and his band will bring their unique and unforgettable live show to the new Leeds Arena next September, the first time in nearly 30 years Elton and his band have performed in Leeds.

Leeds City Council leader Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“This is a real statement of intent for Leeds Arena as a venue that will compete with the best in Europe and indeed the world. To have a long-established and world-famous artist of Elton John’s calibre opening our venue as his only UK arena appearance of the year is a great coup.

“He can easily sell out massive stadiums and concert halls across America and over the world and we’re delighted to have him for our opening night. This demonstrates very clearly that Leeds Arena will be a key stop on the international touring circuit for the world’s biggest performers.

“Our opening season will showcase the range of acts we are capable of accommodating as bookings are now starting to come in thick and fast. Already we have Leeds’ own Kaiser Chiefs and the very popular JLS booked in and another announcement imminent soon. With shows on there up to one night in three, there’s really going to be something for everyone.”

The concert will take place on Wednesday 4 September 2013. The fully reserved seated concert will give 12,000 fans the opportunity to dance and sing along to his much-loved songs in this new state of the art arena.

Elton John said:

“It is difficult to believe that it has taken so long for such a large city to get its own arena, but it has certainly been worth the wait. I am delighted to have been invited to be one of the first artists to perform in what will be a wonderful new venue.”

“I recently played to incredible audiences in North Yorkshire, but this will be the first time I have played Leeds with the band since 1984 when I played at the Queens Hall, so I am really looking forward to playing to the City of Leeds once again.”

As one of the greatest and most successful live artists, his spectacular stage shows continue to leave the competition standing! Elton’s set in Leeds will include number one hits and classic songs from his 40-year career.

Tickets for the Wednesday 4 September show go on sale Friday 7 December at 9am, priced from £65.00.

Elton John is one of the most highly acclaimed and successful solo artists of all time. Along with long-term lyricist Bernie Taupin, Elton has achieved 35 gold and 25 platinum albums, 29 consecutive Top 40 hits, and has sold more than 250 million records worldwide. Elton also holds the record for the biggest selling single of all time. Over the five decades since his career began in 1969, Elton has played more than 3,500 concerts worldwide.

Besides his cherished knighthood, Elton’s landmark awards include 4 Brit Awards, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 5 Grammy Awards and a Grammy Legend Award, the Kennedy Center Honor and 12 Ivor Novello Awards. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Royal Academy of Music.

In a career that has kept him at the top of the charts for 40 years, Elton’s life work comprises far more aspects than only being a recording artist. Through a partnership with lyricist Tim Rice came the music for both the feature film and Broadway stage production of ‘The Lion King.’ Elton also wrote the music for the stage production of ‘Billy Elliot: The Musical’ and more recently for the box office smash, ‘Gnomeo & Juliet.’

This year Elton had a number one album in the UK with Good Morning To The Night, a collaboration with Australian electronic duo, Pnau. He recently returned to Las Vegas for a three-year residency with his brand new show, The Million Dollar Piano, billed as “a gargantuan feast of music and imagery”. Next year marks the fortieth anniversary of the release of arguably Elton’s greatest album, ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.’ He will also release of a new studio album, and continue to tour throughout the world.

John Knight, Regional Vice President for SMG Europe, who will operate the venue, said:
"For the new Leeds Arena to host Elton's only indoor concert in this country next year is a major coup for the city.
“We promised the new Arena would put the city back on the world map for live entertainment. Bringing Elton to Leeds for his first show in nearly 30 years is the perfect concert for us to open with.”

To book tickets for this event from 9am Friday (December 7) phone 0844 248 1585, visit or buy your tickets in person from the Leeds Arena pop up box office, located at Leeds Town Hall.

For media enquiries about the arena itself (journalists only: all other queries about events and ticketing need to go to the box office) contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335 e-mail: