Take a bow: Leeds theatre duo tops our ‘cultural jewels’ poll

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WE asked you to pick your favourite cultural jewel in Leeds’s brimming crown of theatrical, literary, musical and artistic highlights - and you responded in your thousands.

We can now reveal that Yorkshire Evening Post readers have chosen sister theatres the Leeds Grand and City Varieties as the joint winners.

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The historic venues, which have clocked up almost 300 years between them, were the runaway winners of our online poll, leading from the front from the start and securing 29 per cent of the total vote.

Runner up was the First Direct Arena, the new kid on the block that has been a sensational hit since it arrived in 2013.

Other big hitters making up the eclectic top five were homegrown rockers the Kaiser Chiefs, Armley-born playwright Alan Bennett and Leeds West Indian Carnival.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for culture, said: “We are extremely fortunate in Leeds to have a rich cultural offer, and it has been fantastic to see so many YEP readers take the time in this poll to vote for their own personal favourite.

“It could not have been easy for people when voting, given the selection they had to choose from, but many congratulations to both the City Varieties and Leeds Grand Theatre on topping the poll, which are both brilliant venues.”

Ian Sime, general manager of Leeds Grand Theatre and City Varieties Music Hall, added: “We are delighted to have topped this readers’ poll to find the city’s cultural jewel.

“Leeds has a great offer of theatre, music, comedy and cultural events and we pride ourselves on being central in that by staging a huge variety of productions that attract a wide range of audiences.

“It’s great that we are recognised by the very people that we are here for - the people of Leeds and Yorkshire.”

The YEP launched the poll to coincide with ongoing discussions about whether the city should bid for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2023.

See tomorrow’s YEP for an update on the bid.

Leeds’s favourite cultural offerings, assets and names, as voted by YEP readers in our online poll, are:

1. City Varieties/Leeds Grand Theatre (29%)

2. First Direct Arena (19%)

3. Kaiser Chiefs(11%)

4. Alan Bennett (9%)

5. Leeds West Indian Carnival (8%)

6. West Yorkshire Playhouse (7%)

7. Leeds Art Gallery (5%)

8 = Opera North/Leeds Festival (4% each)

9. Northern Ballet (3%)

10. Community Arts Festivals (1%)

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