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One night a year each October, some really beautifully bizarre stuff happens in Leeds. A hundred-piece choir singing love songs on the steps of the Town Hall, as firebreathing stilt-walkers amble past. It must be Light Night.
Light Night is an annual multi-artform festival, which takes place at numerous venues across Leeds city centre. It’s wonderful. Every year it grows and expands, and there’s some great stuff going on in 2013. Discover the story of Pablo Fanque, the UK’s first black circus master, who died in 1871 and is buried in the University of Leeds campus, or wander down to the new Trinity shopping centre and visit the house of Mr Tumnus the faun and meet many of the creatures that live in Narnia.
I chatted with Joanne Wain, Project Manager for Light Night, to find out more about it.
Can you sum up Light Night for me in ten words or less?
Multi-art form festival across Leeds City Centre. Blinding.
How did Light Night come about?
To shine a different light on the city at night. We want to open public buildings and spaces to artists, so that Light Night transforms how the city feels and looks. We want more people to come and use the city at night and enjoy what Leeds has to offer.
What’s going on this year?
65 events in over 30 venues across the city – a range of exciting events including light installations, street theatre, storytelling, performance, dance, music and film for all the family.
Highlights include Illuminos’ Momentous, who will transform the Civic Hall into a giant clock. Fridge Poetry and Narnia in Trinity shopping centre, Phase Revival in the stunning Arena space in the City Museum. Experimental intimate theatre with Paper Birds at the Corn Exchange, Opera North’s celebration of Benjamin Britten and the Sea Interludes and aerialist spectacle on Briggate with Urban Angel Circus Human Sect.
What’s absolutely not to be missed on this year’s programme?
Illuminos’ Momentous on Civic Hall on Millennium Square.
What is it about Leeds as a city that makes it so perfect for events like this?
Small and perfectly formed city centre.
What’s the future looking like for Light Night?
So bright. You gotta wear shades!
It’s fun, it’s fantastical and it’s free. Check it out: www.lightnightleeds.co.uk