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Arts & Entertainment

Bradford Council is set to stage a colourful and entertaining programme of high quality local, national and international acts at the Bradford Festival this weekend.

There will be an enormous range of fun things to see and do for young families including flamboyant street theatre, arts and crafts activities, music and dance, and new for this year, poetry, storytelling and readings.

untitled (3)Todmorden-based creators, Spacecadets, will parade their four metre tall, Indian Elephant which will stop for photographs and startle people with a surprise trick up its trunk.

British theatre troupe, Ramshacklicious are to stage Mr. & Mr. Burn, an explosive, chaotic and offbeat double act mixing trombone, tuba, ukulele, and electronic drums with clowning, puppetry and pyrotechnics.

Innovative London troupe, Wet Picnic will perform The Lift where an audience member is invited to step inside and select one of nine different acts.

Planetary by innovative Sheffield theatre troupe, Pif Paf will feature dynamic movement, aerial acrobatics, acting and Russian swing skills performed on a large rotating wheel.

A clever comedy routine featuring contortionism and bottle balancing will be played out on a large half moon slack rope frame in George Orange’s Man on the Moon.

The Rat Race by outdoor puppet company Frolicked, is a darkly funny commentary on modern life told by puppets through the holes in a giant wedge of cheese.

Dance lovers will be treated to a quirky new piece by celebrated New Zealand choreographer, Corey Baker.

Featuring an iconic vintage red telephone box, and an athletic solo performer, Phone Box promises to be vibrant, energetic and surprisingly fun contemporary dance piece.

untitled (2)This year, organisers from Bradford Council have joined forces with the Ilkley Literature Festival to bring a range of new spoken word events to the Bradford Festival.

Internet sensation, Hollie McNish who set the spoken word scene alight gaining millions of YouTube views with her sharp take on modern life, will appear at the Bradford Playhouse.

Some of the UK’s most exciting spoken word performers, beatboxers and DJs will perform on the festival’s temporary gardens stage.

Disk jockeys from DisOriental & No Hands, world record-holding beatboxer and rapper, Testament and BBC 1xtra Words First finalists, Asma Elbadawi and Isaiah Hull will appear alongside local poets Javaad Alipoor, Becky Cherriman, Chijioke Ojukwu, Christian Watson and Rhubarb poets and young poets from London’s Roundhouse Collective.

Highly acclaimed theatre company, Chicken Shop Shakespeare will bring the Bard’s work to life with several pop-up performances across City Park.

The festival’s main stage in Bradford’s Centenary Stage will host a vast range of music from dance, brass, folk, Asian pop and bhangra, ska, jazz and Baulkin gypsy music.

The line up includes dance duo, Sam and The Womp, rousing and energetic folk music by Eastern European band, Paprika and local musicians from the Topic Folk Club in Bradford.

Asian pop sensations, Stereo Nation and Jay Kadn bring an eastern flavour to the music programme whilst ska and reggae lovers will enjoy, London-based, Chainska Brassika and classic 80s roots band, Talisman.

Brilliant, upbeat and comical Leeds-based, Hope & Social will delight festival audiences, and several marching brass bands will surprise people with their strolling music antics.

The festival opens with over a 1000 young artists from local schools staging an eight hour programme of music and specially created musical and dance pieces.

Festival goers will have the opportunity to try out a whole range of arts and crafts including painting, paper craft, calligraphy, poetry, sewing, textile and ceramic tile making, African drumming and chapatti baking.

Children will enjoy storytelling sessions and creative writing workshops.

There will be a large range of international food stalls including Italian wood fired pizza, Chinese noodles, Indian and Caribbean curries, and American hamburgers and donuts.

Craft beers and South American cocktails and mocktails will be served at a pop-up New York style ‘dime bar’.

People will be able to buy locally designed goods and art pieces at Bradford Festival arts market.

The market will include luxurious soaps, bath and beauty products, quirky cushions and other textiles, unique jewellery and accessories and a selection of artwork and prints from local artists.

There will also be a number of funfair rides.

The Bradford Festival opens on Friday 8 July and runs throughout the weekend closing at 8pm on Sunday evening.

Admission is free aside from the Hollie McNich poetry reading which is pay as you feel.

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “A huge amount of work has gone into preparing for the festival this year and it’s going to be a really exciting weekend.

“The festival attracts thousands of people into Bradford city centre and produces a fantastic atmosphere.

“There is a vast range of great things to see and do, and everyone is welcome.”


Bradford Council is set to stage a host of colourful, creative and flamboyant street theatre acts at the Bradford Festival in July.

Award-winning British acts will perform alongside high quality local creations at the free festival which attracted over 150,000 people to Bradford city centre last year.

Award winning British theatre troupe, Ramshacklicious bring a new act featuring trombone, tuba, baritone ukulele and electronic drums with clowning, puppetry, fire and pyrotechnics.

Mr. & Mr. Burn is an explosive, chaotic and offbeat double act where anything can and probably will go wrong!

image1The combustible theme continues with celebrated British theatre company, Plunge Boom’s Smoke, a comical show where the character becomes increasingly engulfed by fumes pouring from various parts of his clothing.

Bicycle Bistro by women’s circus theatre company, Circo Rum Ba Ba will serve up laughs and delight as two eccentric moustachioed waiters arrive on their bistro on wheels.

They lay the table, wind up the gramophone and unleash 40 minutes of choreographed cafe mayhem featuring hat juggling, spinning plates, tea dancing, acrobatics, musical saw playing and a surprising table cloth trick.

Visitors to Bradford’s premier festival in July will see a gigantic four metre tall inflatable elephant parading triumphantly around City Park.

The elephant’s mahout will allow a lucky few to take charge of the animal and people will be invited to take photographs of themselves with the beautiful beast.

However, the Todmorden-based creators, Spacecadets, are warning festival goers to be careful, this gentle giant has an unexpected trick up his trunk.

Hilarious double act, Dan the Hat and DJ Bobble bring Catching and Scratching, a roving street theatre piece blending world-class hat manipulation with classic tunes and sublime scratching.

Audiences will see another clever comedy routine set to music and featuring slack-rope walking, contortionism and bottle balancing.

In George Orange’s Man on the Moon, an eccentric clown and dancer from Chicago ‘arrives via the moon, bringing a bit of it with him’.

The tricks increase in size and complexity climaxing in a spectacular finale where the audience will help him ‘walk across the moon’.

Australian, Andrew Elliot will perform Jaardu, a cheeky, provocative and flirtatious, caricature of an Indian village magician who blends magic, comedy and a very original snake charming routine.

Jaardu was created during Elliot’s time in northern India where he spent time with a group of gypsy magicians known as Madari.

Also inspired by the sub-continent, Jay Kumar and Dance Asia will light up City Park with colourful and flamboyant Bollywood dance routines.

A Piece of Friendship by Olivia Calder is a beautifully collaborative dance duet inspired by the quirky, comical and often-random aspects that make up friendship.

The piece is based on the existing relationship between two dancers, Inari Hulkkonen and Paul Guenot.

The work plays on the recollection of memories and how friendships can take on a life of their own.

Complementary local street theatre acts announced last week include Bradford Playhouse’s debut of Escape from the Invisible Zoo, Q20 Theatre’s The MirrorMen, Same Difference’sWhere is Wendy? and Cecil Green Arts’ Out of the Ashes.

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This year’s festival is packed with lots of colourful and entertaining things to see and do.

“The street theatre programme is particularly strong with some incredibly innovative and creative acts offering people plenty of opportunities to interact with the performers.

“Admission is free and everyone is welcome.”

The Bradford Festival runs from 8-10 July in City Park, Bradford.


Award-winning Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi will transform Bradford’s Lister Park and City Park with a major new outdoor commission inspired by the million-strong British Indian army that fought in the First World War.

Garden Within A Garden, which will be on display from 22 June, has been co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, Bradford Council and Yorkshire Festival 2016.

Imran, who lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan, is arriving in Bradford this week to start planning his work.

e9924eb83a7c0e97fc09cfba011cadfaLahore, Pakistan, lies within a region that as part of the British Raj, enlisted a huge number of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu soldiers to fight on the Western Front. It is their experiences of being at war in a distant land and in a hostile climate that will inform Garden Within A Garden.

Imran will paint with acrylics directly onto the paving in City Park and the Mughal Water Gardens in Lister Park in a delicate style inspired by the historic craft of Pakistani and Indian miniature painting.

Garden Within A Garden is part of the Yorkshire Festival 2016, which will present hundreds of performances and events all over the county from 16 June to 3 July.

Born in Hyderabad, Pakistan, in 1972, Imran Qureshi was awarded the Deutsche Bank Award for Artist of the Year in 2013 and had his first UK solo exhibition at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham in 2014.

His current exhibition Where the Shadows are so Deep is on display at the Barbican Centre until 10 July this year.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “Bradford is proud to be part of the WW1 Centenary Art Commissions taking place around the country.

“It is an opportune moment for us to reflect on the experiences of people from across the world who fought on the side of the Allies in the First World War and the invaluable contribution they made to the war efforts.

“We hope local people will engage on the ‘Garden Within A Garden’ in this beautiful setting. Lister Park is much loved and enjoyed by nearby residents and this piece of art will add a further dimension to the Mughal Gardens.”

Yorkshire Festival’s Artistic Director, Matt Burman, said: “We are thrilled to be co-commissioning this significant new work with Bradford Council and 14-18 NOW, as part of Yorkshire Festival 2016.

“Presenting fantastic and important international artists like Qureshi alongside our county’s finest performers and makers is exciting and essential to all of us at the Festival and our producing partners.

“I hope local people and visitors to Bradford will take to enjoy and reflect on his beautiful, thought-provoking works.”


Over 1400 local artists both young and old are set to showcase their talents alongside national and international acts at this year’s Bradford Festival.

The Bradford Council organised festival opens on Friday, 8 July with over a 1000 young artists from local schools staging an eight hour programme of music and specially created musical and dance pieces.

Highlights will include the district’s top youth ensemble, the Bradford Youth Orchestra who will perform a Bollywood dance version of Bizet’s opera Carmen, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Elgar’s Chanson de Matin, a James Bond medley, and themes from Pirates of the Caribbean

There will also be woodwind and junior orchestras, rock and samba bands, dance troupes and percussion groups.

Over 900 school children from 14 schools will combine to perform a Big Sing, a mass choir performance of I’m A Believer by The Monkees, I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas, Rockstar by Vaccarino/Axel and Sing by Gary Barlow.

Later that evening, Bradford band, Nervous ‘Orse will perform a wide range of songs with powerful four-part harmonies.

Bradford Playhouse will debut an original interactive piece of theatre, Escape from the Invisible Zoo.

Children attending the festival will be called upon to use their collective imagination and knowledge to the get the ‘escaped animals’ back into their cages.

Bradford author, Irene Lofthouse, will bring ghosts, headless horsemen, phantom carriages, brownies, boggarts, hauntings and time-shifting gargoyles to life in a selection of spooky stories inspired by local myths, legends, landscape and history in Strange Tales in a Tent.

Shipley arts company, Q20 Theatre, will delight audiences with a mad-cap interactive street theatre piece, The MirrorMen, where the characters reflect each other and everything around them, including their audience.

Puppet and lantern makers, Cecil Green Arts, returns to the festival with a brand new colourful giant puppet performance, Out of the Ashes, which is inspired by the Drummond Mill fire in which they lost all their artworks.

Inspired by Where’s Wally?, Where is Wendy? by local theatrical company, Same Difference, is an interactive street theatre piece where the audience helps two lost characters to find each other.

Bradford-based visual artist, Zareena Bano Saeed, brings a spiritual Eastern flavour to the festival with Sufi Soul workshops where painting and music will be combined to evoke lands of the East, Persia and Andalusia.

Proving Bradford produces interesting and unusual cultural fusions, Shah-e-Mardaan band members of Pakistan Muslim, Punjabi Sikh and Polish Catholic descent will play ‘Qawwali’, a form of mystical Sufi devotional music.

People will have the opportunity to learn spiritual and therapeutic rhythms of the ancient Ibos from Eastern Nigeria in African drumming workshops run by Bradford-based musician, Moses Ekebuisi.

African outfits will be available for those who want to dance to the rhythms.

Discarded fabrics will be transformed into reusable shopping bags in sewing workshops by Bradford textile arts company, Creative Flare Yorkshire.

Festival goers will be able to see beautiful charcoal drawings created right before their eyes in Lou Sumray’s Promenading Artist.

Folk music fans will enjoy the York-based multi-award winning Irish folk musician, Paula Ryan and celebrated Leeds acoustic band, Phil Cockerham Trio.

Local favourites Gerry Cooper and Phil Snell bring their repertoire of blues, rags and hokum songs from the 1920s and 1930s.

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This year’s festival is packed with interesting things to see and do, and we are delighted to see so many local artists taking part.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for local people to work alongside, national and international artists and showcase Bradford’s vibrant music and arts scene.”

The Bradford Festival will be staged in Bradford City Park from 8 to 10 July.

For more information visit or follow the Bradford Festival on Facebook and Twitter.

Bradford Council has confirmed the first acts for the 2016 Bradford Festival which will be staged in July. Known for its colourful range of street theatre, music, dance and activities, this year’s festival (8-10 July) should have something for everyone.

Dance lovers will be treated to a quirky new piece by celebrated New Zealand choreographer, Corey Baker.

Ruby_Slipper_SlideFeaturing an iconic vintage red telephone box, an athletic solo performer and an exhibition of precarious manoeuvres, Phone Box promises to be vibrant and energetic, surprising and fun, with lots of opportunity for audience interaction.

The Bradford Festival has a reputation for staging flamboyant and colourful street theatre.

This year’s programme includes the hilarious and innovative London troupe, Wet Picnic.

In The Lift, an elegant elevator arrives accompanied by three bellhops.

One of the audience members is invited to step inside and choose a moment by selecting one of nine different floor buttons.

A mesmerising, interactive and slightly strange theatrical experience unfolds.

Planetary by Pif Paf features dynamic movement, aerial acrobatics, acting and Russian swing skills all performed on a large rotating wheel.

The piece takes audiences on a journey of unstable alliances, misplaced trust, and greed, revealing what happens when you finally get what you want.

The Rat Race by outdoor puppet company Frolicked, is a surreal and darkly funny commentary on modern life told by rats through the holes in a giant wedge of cheese.

Intelligent puppets highlight the absurdities of society showing what’s it’s like to be part of the rat race.

A lucky few will be invited to enter the cheese for a surprising series of sticky situations and, with help from the insightful rodents, will attempt to complete the tasks required in order to escape.

Brilliant, uplifting and inclusive rock band, Hope & Social will play on the festival’s main Centenary Square stage.

The innovative Leeds-based band likes to break through the boundaries of what most people know and expect from a rock band, involving people in almost everything they do.

Taking the best aspects of reggae’s musical heritage, Bristol band, Talisman are set to play political and ‘roots’ songs which resonate with classic sounds from the 1970s and 80s, the golden age of British reggae.

Hailing from Romania, Serbia and the UK, Paprika unite traditional Eastern European, Balkan, Gypsy and Classical Music.

They have become renowned for their highly skilled arrangements of traditional Balkan music and regularly perform sell-out shows at venues across the country.

Local artists will stage a variety of interactive and fun workshops and activities.

People can watch as beautiful charcoal drawings inspired by the hustle and bustle of the Bradford Festival are created right before their eyes by visual artist, painter and passionate drawer of people, Lou Sumray.

Bradford-based textile artists, Morwenna Catt will help festival-goers make their own colourful, Koinobori, traditional Japanese windsocks which are hung outside homes in Japan to celebrate children during the Tango No Sekku festival.

People will make their own fragrant and decorative spice pouches complete with freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and coriander.

Pungent spices and brightly-coloured fabrics and beads will be brought together in Mirch Massala workshops by local artists, Musarat Raza and Nasreen Akhtar.

Visitors to the festival are invited to join Touchstone Bradford, Uzma Kazi and fabulous Bradford women in a fun, listening, connecting, sharing space at The Square Chapatti Club.

Personalised chapattis will be produced and they will be added to an ongoing art installation for everyone to see.

Students from Young Masters Visual Art School in Bradford will produce beautiful Habotai silk painted banners using textile patterns from India and Pakistan in Banners Sari of Bradford.

The colours will contrast the greens, blues and warm stone colours of Bradford with the vivid pinks, yellows and oranges and rich gold found in sari fabrics and traditional Indian art.

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to come into Bradford and enjoy three days of high quality entertainment.

“This year’s Bradford Festival has a rich variety of music and talent on show in the city centre. We have something for everyone here and entry is free.

“Last year we had thousands enjoying the music and stalls, this year’s programme promises to create a really vibrant, dynamic Festival to pull in the crowds.

“The festival is part of a varied programme of events and activities designed to support economic growth in the city centre.”

The Bradford Festival will be staged in Bradford City Park from 8 to 10 July.

Entry is free.


Eighteen more incredible acts, including Sigala, Lightning Seeds, All Saints, Black Grape and We Are Scientists, are the latest acts to join the line-up for Bingley Music Live 2016.

The Myrtle Park festival, which takes place 2-4 September, already boasts headliners Tinie Tempah, Travis, Echo and the Bunnymen and Sigma.

The headlining act on Friday 2 September are Echo and the Bunnymen, who are set to thrill the crowd with hits such as Nothing Lasts Forever, The Cutter, The Killing Fields and Bring On The Dancing Horses.

Joining them are the Lightning Seeds, with Ian Brodie and band delivering a plethora of super pop hits like Lucky You, The Life of Riley, Pure and Three Lions at the Bradford Council-run festival.

On Friday, revellers will also be treated to a DJ set by Sigala, best known for his number one ‘Easy Love’ which sampled ‘ABC’ by The Jackson 5 and hits ‘Sweet Lovin’ and recent single ‘Say You Do’ featuring Imani and DJ Fresh.

There will also be a special slot dedicated to David Bowie where a number of acts will perform their favourite David Bowie track.

Saturday headliner and multi Brit Award winner, Tinie Tempah brings mammoth hits such as Pass Out and Wonderman, Written In The Stars and the Jess Glynne guest track Not Letting Go. Supporting will be chart topping exponents of Drum and Bass, Sigma with their smash hits like Higher, Glitter Ball and Changing.

Back by popular demand following a triumphant performance at last year’s BML is former Joy Division and New Order founding member Peter Hook with classics such as Blue Monday and Love Will Tear Us Apart.

The Canadian band Barenaked Ladies will air their array of super pop hits like One Week, Brian Wilson, If I had a $1,000,00 and the theme tune to the hit America comedy The Big Bang Theory.

The Coral founding member and hugely talented songwriter and producer Bill Ryder Jones also joins Saturday’s line-up having also guested on guitar for the Arctic Monkeys tour, and provided guitar for The Last Shadow Puppets recordings.

John Robb brings The Membranes with a very special performance which includes a choir. The Age of L.U.N.A, fresh from supporting acts like Public Enemy complete the Saturday line-up.

Sunday will be headlined by Travis with two Brit Awards for Best Band they will bring their arsenal of mega hits such as Why Does It Always Rain On Me, Flowers In The Window, Turn, Sing and their recent returning single Closer.

Multi-Brit and MTV Award winning All Saints will join Travis on the Sunday night. The band has just gate-crashed the album top three again with Red Flag, after reforming following their previous split. Huge former hits like, Under The Bridge, Lady Marmalade, Pure Shores, Black Coffee and the second biggest selling girl group track of all time Never Ever, make the band a must see.

Also appearing on Sunday, are We Are Scientists who are regarded as one of the best festival acts on the circuit.

Happy Monday’s members Shaun Ryder and Bez bring a Sunday dose of tracks from their Black Grape outfit. The band are most noted for their outrageously clever It’s Great When You’re Straight Yeah album with hits such as Reverend Black Grape and Kelly’s Heroes.

To see the full line up for both stages the Main Stage and the Discovery Stage visit the Bingley Music Live website

A tiered ticket system is in place this year, which means the sooner people buy tickets, the cheaper the price. And for those who prefer to spread the cost there is a payment plan where the ticket price can be paid in instalments.

Weekend tickets for the three day festival are available on-line via Ticketline on the website and at other local outlets. Day tickets will be released closer to the festival, subject to availability.

Also new for 2016 is on-site camping. Details of tickets, camping and other accommodation providers in the area can be found on the website.


Jamie Wilson and Leicester Curve are delighted to announce a brand new production of the musical comedy SISTER ACT directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood and starring Alexandra Burke as ‘Deloris Van Cartier’.

Sister Act comes to the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford from Monday 20 February 2017 for one week only.

Craig said; “I am truly thrilled that Alexandra is going to be our leading lady in this all new production of Sister Act. Alexandra is such a fantastic singer and actress that I know she is going to be amazing. I couldn’t think of anyone better to play the role of the smart and funny Deloris.”

Based on the smash hit movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith, Sister Act tells the hilarious story of ‘Deloris Van Cartier’, a disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder. Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a Convent! Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.

Alexandra said; “I’m over the moon to be given the opportunity to play the wonderful Deloris in Sister Act. It’s such an iconic role and a part I’ve always wanted to play. I love touring the UK and I’m thrilled to be working with Craig and his amazing creative team. I can’t wait to get started!”

Featuring original music by Tony® and 8-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Disney’s Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Enchanted), dazzling dance routines and songs inspired by Motown, soul and disco, Sister Act is the funniest and funkiest musical around.

Alexandra Burke can currently be seen starring as ‘Rachel Marron’ in the national tour of The Bodyguard, a part she also played in the West End. She originally rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X

Factor. Her debut number one single Hallelujah sold over one million copies in the UK, a first for a British female soloist. Burke’s first album, Overcome saw the release of her subsequent number one singles Bad

Boys and Start Without You. In 2011 she embarked on her first solo tour and was invited by Beyoncé to support her I Am… Tour. Her second album, Heartbreak on Hold, was released in June 2012.

Sister Act is on general sale from Monday 18 April please call the Box Office on 01274 432000 or visit for more information.

Please Note: Alexandra Burke will not be appearing at any midweek or Saturday matinee performances




Madness front-man Graham McPherson brings his show Suggs: My Life Story to King’s Hall, Ilkley on Monday 25 April. Tickets have nearly sold out for this hilarious, yet moving, one-man tour de force, which has played to rave reviews.

The death of Suggs’ beloved cat on his fiftieth birthday triggered a personal quest to discover what happened to the father he never knew. Stunned by what he learns Suggs is taken back to his childhood on the tough streets of 1970’s Soho and his first appearance on Top Of The Pops at the age of eighteen.

Is it a play? Is it stand-up comedy? Is it Music Hall? Whatever it is, the audience should hold on to their seats as Suggs goes on to stumble and plummet through the trapdoor of failure – then trampolines back up to catch the passing trapeze of show business success!

The show includes musical accompaniment and interjection from Deano, his loyal manservant-cum-pianist.

The show takes place on Monday 25 April 2016, 7.30pm and tickets are priced at £30*


Womenzone has recently secured a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £69,900 for an exciting heritage project, Loving Grannies Music, in Bradford. Led by volunteers from the local community, the project focuses on the origins of South Asian folk music, a tradition that has changed over time in modern day Britain.

LGM Launch Event Flyer FRONTTraditionally women recited folk songs and passed them down from generation to generation and there is a wide range of folk songs for every occasion from birth and weddings to festivals, fairs and religious ceremonies.

Thanks to National Lottery players the project will enable local young people to learn about their heritage by documenting stories of women who migrated from the South Asian subcontinent to Bradford in 1960s and ‘70s to capture their memories of first arriving in a cold, damp and often hostile environment. During this time many women felt socially isolated with no extended family and friends close by and often they would make connections with other women from similar backgrounds through these special occasions that involved reciting folk songs.

Womenzone will be hosting a community launch event on Sunday 15 May 2016, 2-6pm, for local people to find out more about the project and how to get involved. The event will include a live performance by renowned singer Shabnam Khan who will take audiences on a journey to discover the roots of traditional South Asian folk music.


Now in its fifth year, the Golden Owl Awards showcase Leeds’ budding film talent with a glittering ceremony planned to take place in the city centre on 31 March.

Organised and run by a partnership of Leeds Young Film Festival, Leeds City Council Artforms, and Armley-based communications agency Vista, the awards welcomed entries from individuals, schools and community groups aged 3-19 years all around the city, with a record number received this year.

Entries ranged from stop motion animation to live action, and horror to comedy, and all of the films were judged by a panel of Northern film experts including Casualty screenwriter Mark Catley and Leeds Beckett University’s Northern Film School Director Larra Anderson.

The Golden Owl Awards will roll out the red carpet on 31 March 2016 at Leeds Town Hall, with all entrants invited to attend the mini Oscars-style ceremony.

The black-tie event will screen and applaud all the shortlisted film entries, with the overall winners invited to the stage to receive their trophies from celebrities and VIPs from the film, civic, education and business worlds (plus a few surprises they’re keeping under wraps!)

James Wilkins, MD at Vista, says of the awards: “In the past five years we’ve worked with almost 10,000 young people and invested over £1 million into our local community. Our team believes that championing creative talent is key to the success of our industry, and that’s something the Golden Owls has succeeded in doing. This is a fantastic project and it’s great to see more entries than ever before, showing off the wealth of young talent we have in the North of England.”

Sarah Westaway, Head of Arts Development at Artforms says: “This year we are delighted to be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Leeds Young Filmmakers Golden Owl Awards.

“Each year the awards grow from strength to strength and we are very impressed by the quality of the films entered from schools, groups and individuals from all over the city.

“This annual event set in the magnificent Town Hall celebrates and showcases the creativity, hard work and enthusiasm of our young filmmakers in Leeds.”

Debbie Maturi, Director of Leeds Young Film Festival, says: “Once again delighted to showcase the talent, creativity and commitment of the young people of Leeds; it will be a fantastic closing event for what is set to the biggest and best Leeds Young Film Festival ever.

“It’s also a great testament to the value film adds to young people’s lives, from film watching, to programming to making and we want to support individuals and schools to continue to reap the rewards.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Golden Owl Awards will once again be giving some of the city’s best and brightest young film talent the chance to showcase their work.

“Leeds has a great track record of nurturing creative talent and a rich history in the film industry and it’s wonderful that we can continue that tradition with these awards.”