Reviewer: Rebecca Jackson
For some reason Leeds is often viewed in terms of its culture as a secondary city. Forever in the shadow of its fellow Northern city, Manchester, it is well known for its shopping experiences, fine eateries and rugby team, but not so much as a hub of culture. However, Leeds deserves its moment in the sun, and while the culture may not be as obvious or in your face (I’m looking at you, Manchester) it is plentiful if you bother to look.
Light Night is an annual event showcasing some of Leeds’ best examples of its culture. For one night only, cultural venues open up for artists to temporarily transform small and large spaces to show their work to the residents of Leeds. The theme this year was Dead of Night, and many of the events reflected this theme in the production.
The choice of events is certainly vast; in fact, choosing what to see is the real problem as the events, workshops and performances are all so interesting in the programme! A number of interesting events are on offer at The Carriageworks including Get Stuffed, a taxidermy photographic exhibition, providing some light entertainment and encouraging visitors to adopt a (very) low maintenance pet – a stuffed animal. You can even get a photo taken with the critters, and believe me the queue for this was huge.
On a more serious note, an Early Intervention on Psychosis – a workshop exploring young people’s experiences with psychosis, touches on a real subject that affects people every day. Applying the theme of scare to an every day reality, the workshop illustrates the frustration and devastation of being able to hear uncontrollable, destructive voices.
Serious or amusing, Light Night provides a good showcase of culture in Leeds throughout the night. When wandering around the event there is a fair amount to see; however, it becomes apparent that planning should be heavily taken into consideration when attending Light Night, especially if guests want to see some of the specialist events which require booking in advance.
The only disappointment of the night is The Zombie Aerobics, or rather lack of. Turning up at 10pm (the latest available time) for a zombie experience on the Town Hall steps expecting an exciting performance especially because of the late time and programme description – ‘A flash mob of REAL ZOMBIES… They need YOU the living to help them get reanimated… Participation by audience encouraged.’ But alas, the zombies do not show up. But after all, it was raining.
As a resident of Leeds it is hard not to feel proud of the fantastic performances and events held in dedication of talent and culture across the city. And it’s certainly safe to say that Leeds has a lot to offer in terms of culture.