10 things you need to know about LEEDS 2023 year of culture
1. 2023 will be a transformational year. 12 signature events and a range of creative experiences will happen across the city. From dance to design, art to architecture, poetry to pop, sculpture to sport, grassroots community theatre to performances on our world-class stages. LEEDS 2023 will be an explosion of colour, noise and brilliance that will show the city to the world.
2. The LEEDS 2023 programme will be a three-part epic. Three seasons will shape the year, with ‘Awakening’ influencing Season One (January to April), ‘Playing’ the focus of Season Two (May to August), and ‘Dreaming’ a forward-looking end to the year (September to December).
3. LEEDS 2023 journey began in 2015 when the city originally decided to bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023 – hopes were dashed at the last minute when UK cities were banned from entering following the country’s vote to leave the EU. But that wasn’t going to stop them. With cross-party support, the backing of more than 20 local businesses and a public poll, LEEDS2023 was born.
4. LEEDS 2023 is for everyone. Creative events are going to take place in every district. The aim is to celebrate culture in all its forms. Not only is it about putting Leeds on the cultural map of the world, it is also about driving a creative recovery – both economically and socially – for Leeds communities.
5. Independent financial analysis predicts that LEEDS 2023 will bring at least £100m to the visitor economy, creating jobs, increasing visitor numbers and a crucial boost to the retail, hospitality and travel industries so badly impacted by Covid.
6. LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture will start with an unforgettable opening show at Headingley Stadium on January 7, 2023 celebrating Leeds’ cultural heritage and future. The Awakening will be hosted by LEEDS 2023 chair and broadcaster, podcaster, writer and former international gymnast Gabby Logan MBE with broadcaster Sanchez Payne, a Trustee of LEEDS 2023 and former Leeds United footballer. Leading Leeds artists will perform with new commissions and collaborations including Corinne Bailey Rae, Simon Armitage and Opera North.
7. LEEDS2023 have recruited 33 neighbourhood hosts – one person from each ward of the city. These 33 remarkable local people are passionately committed to the places they live in or belong to. They will discover what makes their wards so special, and to shine a light on the creativity and culture that thrives within them.
8. LEEDS 2023 will offer more than 1,000 volunteering opportunities to people in Leeds– from stewarding events, supporting artists to working in the LEEDS 2023 HQ or at satellite locations across the city.
9. LEEDS 2023 will have a focus on minimising the negative impact on the environment. Leeds City Council is committed to making Leeds a carbon neutral city by 2030 and LEEDS 2023 will support this by ensuring high standards of sustainability policy and action. They will place a focus on raising awareness of environmental issues and solutions, aiming to inspire and empower the people and businesses of Leeds to help ensure Leeds is a healthy, thriving city.
10. LEEDS 2023’s ambition is to deliver a transformational year of creative experiences connecting and benefiting people now and in the future. The planned programme will celebrate and transform the city’s identity – creating a lasting legacy of economic and
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