Monday, 20 May 2013

Annual youth festival ready to Breeze into Leeds

Caption: BIYF Live!@Briggate will again be one of the highlights of the festival

The biggest arts festival for young people in West Yorkshire comes to Leeds this week with the start of the Breeze International Youth Festival.

Now in its 17th year, the festival which aims to give young people aged 13-19 the chance to showcase their talents runs for 12 days from Wednesday 22 May to Sunday 2 June featuring 31 events.

Organised by Leeds City Council’s arts development team and partners including the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Phoenix Dance and Leeds Grand Theatre, this year’s programme has been strongly influenced by a group of young people who selected many of the performers and film screenings.

A range of performances, activities, exhibitions and workshops offering music, dance, art, theatre and film will be taking place at venues such as Leeds Town Hall, The Carriageworks theatre, Leeds Art Gallery, Hyde Park Cinema, the new Trinity Leeds and the White Rose Shopping Centre. The majority of events are free, with others on offer at a discounted rate for those with a Breezecard.

One of the focal points of the festival will be BIYF Live!@Briggate, which sees performances of music and dance on an outdoor stage on Briggate on Saturday 25 May. Among those taking part this year will be DAZL, Frenchgirls, Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows and DJ School UK. It will also feature a performance by Digital Cure, this year’s ‘Breeze Choice’ band chosen from the Leeds AMP Awards (Association of Music and Promotion) by members of the Leeds Youth Council.

A photography competition will run this year as part of BIYF Live!@Briggate. Young people can enter by emailing their own images of the event to The winning 15 photos will be displayed in an exhibition at Leeds Town Hall.

Further live performances can be seen at BIYF Live!@The Carriageworks on Saturday 1 June, with an evening of music and dance from youth performers such as Rodillian School, Phoenix Dance Theatre and SAA-uk.

Among other highlights of this year’s festival will be the chance for young people to take a tour of the most iconic building in the city – Leeds Town Hall – and to take in the unique view from the clocktower on Thursday 30 May.

There is a strong focus on reading and events in libraries this year, with the Breeze International Youth Festival working in partnership with the ‘Breezereads Bookfest’ to host storytelling sessions, author visits and workshops at libraries across Leeds.

A special free session as part of Breezereads will take place on Thursday 23 May from 6-7:30pm as Leeds-based writer and storyteller Matthew Bellwood reads a selection of chilling ghost stories in the atmospheric setting of Leeds Town Hall Crypt. For more information on Breezereads visit

The Breeze International Youth Festival and Breezereads are both supporters of child friendly Leeds, the ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to thrive and look forward to a brighter future.

Looking ahead to the events, Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“This year’s Breeze International Youth Festival offers a fantastic range of events and activities chosen by young people in Leeds for all young people in the city to enjoy.

“The Breezereads Bookfest will also see some great events happening at libraries across Leeds so it should make for another fun and exciting 12 days. We are very grateful to all our partners and supporters who help make the festival possible.”

For more information and to book tickets for this year’s Breeze International Youth Festival visit

For more information on the Breezereads Bookfest go to

Notes to editors:

• Photographs from the Breeze International Film Festival will be available on request from Helen Taylor using the contact details below.

• Press reviewers and photographers are welcome to attend the festival. Please contact Helen Taylor in advance to arrange appropriate access.

• Leeds City Council has produced a full colour brochure containing information about all the festival projects, a full schedule of events, a map as well as venue, discounts and booking information. A downloadable programme are available at

• For more information on the child friendly Leeds initiative go to


For media enquiries please contact:

Helen Taylor,
Leeds City Council arts development,
Tel: 0113 247 8539

That’s Amore as Leeds Opera in the Park line-up is revealed

Caption: Performers at this year's Opera in the Park in Leeds will include (from top) Aled Jones, Laura Wright and Amore

Classical music sensation Laura Wright and operatic quartet Amore will join Aled Jones in performing at this year’s Opera in the Park at Temple Newsam Estate.

Organisers Leeds City Council and event partners Classic FM have today revealed the line-up for this year’s picnic-style concert which will take place on the evening of Saturday 27 July.

Popular singer, actor, author, television and Classic FM presenter Aled Jones will return to the event after his first appearance at Temple Newsam in 2011 to perform and compere the evening.

He will be introducing to the stage the Classic Brit Award-nominee Laura Wright, who is one of the biggest-selling classical artists of the decade following a meteoric rise to stardom.

The 22-year-old soprano topped the classical music charts in 2011 with her debut album ‘The Last Rose’ before embarking on a series of sell-out tour performances with Alfie Boe and Russell Watson. Last year Laura opened for Andrea Bocelli and performed Faure's Requiem at the Royal Opera House for the Royal Ballet - all during her final year studying at the Royal College of Music.

Laura was given the honour of being chosen to perform the official song of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee ‘Stronger As One’ last year, and also sang the national anthem at all of England’s home matches in this year’s RBS Six Nations rugby union championship having been announced by the Rugby Football Union as the national team’s first official anthem singer.

Also featuring at Temple Newsam will be rising stars Amore, the operatic quartet of Royal College of Music graduates who shot to national prominence last year as they braved the cold and driving rain to continue performing for Her Majesty The Queen as part of the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.

After ending 2012 with three shows at the Royal Albert Hall, the group again sang for royalty in March by performing for Prince Harry at an event for charity WellChild.

The group were also seen by an audience of millions on national television last weekend, as they appeared at the FA Cup Final at Wembley between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City performing the traditional pre-match hymn ‘Abide with Me’.

The music for the evening will once again be performed by universally-acclaimed Orchestra of Opera North together with the Leeds Festival Chorus conducted by Martin Andre.

The event, which will feature a stunning firework finale, is again being supported by the UK’s most listened to classical music radio station Classic FM, while further backing comes from official media partner the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“This year’s Opera in the Park is a great line-up. We are delighted that Aled Jones has agreed to again perform and compere the evening after his first appearance two years ago, and we are very excited that some of the next generation of British classical music stars – Laura Wright and Amore – will also take to the stage at Temple Newsam.

“Together with the Orchestra of Opera North and the Leeds Festival Chorus it should be another magical and memorable evening to enjoy.”

Managing Editor of Classic FM Sam Jackson said:

“Classic FM is delighted to partner with Leeds City Council once more for Opera in the Park. Laura Wright and Amore are great friends of the station – and as one of our presenters, Aled is already part of the family!

“We're also thrilled to be working with Classic FM's Orchestra in Yorkshire, the Orchestra of Opera North, for what's set to be a brilliant evening of live music in a stunning setting."

Tickets for Opera in the Park are available now and can be purchased online at ( or in person/by telephone from the city centre box office at The Carriageworks (0113 224 3801) or from Leeds Visitor Centre at the train station (0113 242 5242).

Tickets are also available in person only from the Temple Newsam gift shop in the stable courtyard. Advanced car parking tickets are also available to purchase this year online and from the city centre box office.

Tickets for Opera in the Park are priced at £5 for Breezecard holders, £6.50 for LEEDSCard Extra holders, £8 for those with Leeds Active, LibraryCard and standard LEEDSCards and £10 for general admission. Discounted tickets for groups of friends/family members will also be available at £7 each for bookings of between five and 10 people. Children aged four and under will be able to attend free of charge although a separate ticket will be required.

Tickets will also be available in person only from the Temple Newsam gift shop in the stable courtyard. Advanced car parking tickets are also available to purchase this year online and from the city centre box office.

A special 10 per cent early-bird discount offer will also be available for all Opera and Party in the Park tickets purchased before the end of May.

For further information on Opera in the Park visit or contact Leeds City Council’s events team on 0113 395 0891 or email

Notes to editors:

The LEEDSCard scheme is open to anyone aged 19-59 in Leeds on an annual membership and offers discounts and exclusive offers across the city all-year round at leisure facilities, events, shops, museums, theatres and restaurants. For more information on how to get a LEEDSCard visit or call 0113 224 3636. Breezecard is FREE for persons under 19 and for further information visit

A booking/transaction fee will apply to bookings made online or by telephone.

Classic FM

Global Radio-owned Classic FM attracts an audience of over 5.6 million people each week, confirming its position as the UK's most listened to classical music radio station. Programmes are hosted by a diverse range of broadcasters and musicians including John Suchet, Alan Titchmarsh, Aled Jones, Myleene Klass, Alex James, Margherita Taylor and Nicholas Owen. Since its launch, Classic FM has aimed to break down the barriers to classical music and in so doing, introduce an entirely new audience to the genre. The station seeks constantly to expand its listener base through groundbreaking new audience initiatives and partnerships. Classic FM is available across the UK on 100 - 102 FM, digital and online at


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