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Arts - theatre, art, classical, opera and dance in Leeds


Liz Coggins reviews Northern Ballet’s Dracula at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Liz Coggins reviews Northern Ballet’s Dracula
at West Yorkshire PlayhouseDavid Nixon’s production of Dracula is a full bloodied show with a dramatic bite.

The ballet, last performed in 2009, is an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s legendary novel published in 1897. It’s a dark and sinister tale played out through Northern Ballet’s unique blend of dance, gripping theatre,gothic sets and costumes.

In this work Nixon has successfully revealed the tormented world of the immortal count and it sits beautifully on the dark, cavernous stage of the Playhouse bringing the action and horror…

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Theatre Review Chicago

The 2012 Uk tour of this classic musical is a roaring success at Bradford Alhambra

A very special gala night at the Bradford Alhambra welcomed the opening of the 2012 UK Tour of Chicago last Saturday – and what a night it turned out to be. I am delighted to say therefore – that even with my most critical eye on – this tour is an absolute joy to behold from sizzling start to perfectly executed finish.

Chicago is a show that lives or dies by its cast, and this all-new cast assembled for the 2012 UK Tour is the finest I have seen in my many visits to Chicago over the years. Ann…

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Theatre Review Waiting for Godot

An all-black production of Beckett's modernist classic comes to the West Yorkshire Playhouse

One of Waiting for Godot’s quirks is its detection of the bleak in the breezy. The first time its protagonists, Vladimir and Estragon, contemplate suicide, their discussion is a relaxed one focusing on logistical hitches. They aren’t joking as such, but leave no suspicion that they might attempt it.

Such is the play’s renown that few will see this production knowing nothing about it. But, if you did, I’m not sure you’d realise that the characters weren’t written as Jamaicans. In choosing to read them this way, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Talawa Theatre have allowed character and culture latitude…

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Feature 12 Months of Neon Love

A look back at a year of glowing lyrics on a roof in Wakefield

It’s been a year since the launch of a glowingly ambitious art project – 12 Months of Neon Love. The project began, appropriately enough, on Valentine’s Day 2011 and this month sees the final in the series of 12 love lyrics light up Wakefield’s skyline in blazing red lettering.

In that time, we’ve seen a host of tender, romantic and heart-broken lyrics, all borrowed from well-known songs – there’s "I’m in Love, I’m all shook up, uh-huh-huh" (Elvis), "Love is a losing game" (Amy Winehouse), and "Love, love will tear us apart, again" (Joy Division).

"12 Months of Neon Love…

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Theatre Review If Walls Could Talk

Tip of the Tongue bring five anecdotal tales to The Carriageworks

Five young strangers sit in front of us, telling stories from their lives and punctuating each tale with a homemade musical segue. Household lamps, a chest of drawers, miscellaneous armchairs and a couple of stools make up the homely set from which the members of Tip of the Tongue recount their bitter and sweet anecdotes. And that’s it. That’s If Walls Could Talk in its entirety. And it’s just great.

Tom Black kicks things off with a story which blends a lingering obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine with the difficulty of having to ‘share’ his birthday with 9/11; Alison…

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Feature Opera North's Little Voices

Tom Goodhand attends a drama and music group designed for parents and their babies or toddlers in the wonderful Howard Assembly Room

Opera North has long been established as one of Leeds’ premier arts companies, and the opening of the Howard Assembly Room in January 2009 gave them a home, a venue that they can call their own. The room has acted in the past as a musical hall, a cinema and an adult cinema, before closing in the mid-80s until Opera North reopened it.

As a built-for-purpose venue which has had significant acoustic work done on it by Opera North, the Howard Assembly Room is an acoustically superb space, built to make the very best of the sounds that…

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News New Gallery GreySpace Gives Fresh Perspective on Art

New gallery space opens at Broadcasting House showing works in progress

Remember maths exams where you got marks for the working out? Well new gallery GreySpace seems to think the world of equations is onto something – sometimes how you get to the end result is just as important as the outcome itself.

Bringing an exciting new idea to the art world, GreySpace Galleries will be exhibiting pieces which are not the final works, but the precursors, mapping a trajectory of the creative process. James Woolley, curator of the gallery, hopes this approach will allow more considered viewing by showing people how artists create their pieces.

Woolley says: "GreySpace Galleries is…

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News Yorkshire Arts Organisations ‘Hacked’ As Part of Leeds Digital Festival

Opera North organised a special 24 hour hack event to show the wealth of information stored by the north's cultural organisations

When we think of the word "hack" nowadays we normally associate it with identity theft and fraud but on 12th-13th November many major cultural institutions from the North happily opened up their digital archives as part of Culture Hack North: Leeds 2011.

The group of 50 computer hackers spent 24 hours in teams using the fountain of information at their tech-savvy finger tips to develop innovate and inspired "hacks". For this non-stop event, organised by Opera North, organisations opened up their cache of "hidden" data.

Organisations from across the North including Breeze Leeds, The Cornerhouse, Culture Grid, Leeds Libraries,…

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Review Top Hat at Leeds Grand Theatre

Classic movie musical is a roaring success at Leeds Grand

It is remarkable to consider that some 76 years after the classic RKO movie musical premiered, we finally have a stage production of – arguably – Irving Berlin’s finest musical, the wonderful Top Hat (1935).

American stage performer Jerry Travers (Tom Chambers) is visiting London to appear in producer/friend Horace Hardwick’s (Martin Ball) new production. Naturally boy meets girl, Dale Tremont (Summer Strallen), and our rather haughty girl immediately takes a dislike to our cheeky Romeo – not least for tap dancing on her ceiling at night. Add in a cast of wacky characters, some spousal violence, comedy foreigners, the…

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News Wolfgang Manz Take up the Role of Visiting Professor at Leeds College of Music

Internationally acclaimed German pianist will be leading students at the Leeds college

Wolfgang Manz, an internationally acclaimed German pianist, officially took up the position of visiting professor at Leeds College of Music last week. The college is first education institution in the UK to welcome a world renowned pianist in an official teaching capacity, and Manz began his tenure in style with an exclusive recital of works by Beethoven and Liszt on the College of Music’s new Steinway Model D Concert Grand.

The recital on 20th November honoured the college’s recently acquired status as an All-Steinway School – the only English conservatoire to hold such a title. Earlier this year Manz’s…

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News The Art Gallery at Flannels Opens

Third floor of the Vicar Lane fashion store becomes a new gallery

Flannels is the home of a new, vibrant art gallery which is open now week on the Third Floor of the shop on Vicar Lane.

This new gallery is a budding enterprise between Leeds City College and The Flannels Group which will be showcasing work from its students and teachers alike. This exciting new venture brings together art appreciation and fine dining as the gallery shares its location with The Food Academy, a new dining experience also run by Leeds City College.

The gallery is curated by the College’s Creative Arts Faculty and will be opening with a…

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