Leeds’s 2023 plans set to benefit from illuminating partnership

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A MAJOR new partnership was announced today as Leeds continues to bounce back from the scuppering of its European Capital of Culture dream.

Plans were confirmed earlier in the year for the city to host its own world-class cultural festival in 2023 after Brexit controversially put paid to the UK’s involvement in the European capital competition.

Light Night 2017.

Light Night 2017.

Now it has been revealed that Leeds 2023 will be the headline partner for this October’s staging of the city’s annual Light Night arts event.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds’s 2023 festival – and a five-year programme of activity leading up to it – will be delivered by a new body called the Leeds Culture Trust.

And the decision to unite Leeds 2023 and Light Night through today’s partnership agreement has been hailed as the perfect launchpad for the festival and the way it will showcase the city’s wealth of creative talent.

Sharon Watson, Phoenix Dance Theatre artistic director and chair of the steering group looking after Leeds’s 2023 plans until the Leeds Culture Trust is properly up-and-running, said: “Light Night encapsulates the very best of culture in Leeds, bringing together artists from around the world for a stunning celebration of diversity, innovation and creativity.

“As we begin building our momentum towards 2023, we’re incredibly proud to be supporting this year’s event and to be laying down such a strong marker about our intention to invest in Leeds and help build on the city’s reputation as a global cultural city.”

Organised by Leeds City Council and taking place on October 4 and 5, the 14th annual Light Night will see prominent buildings and sites transformed by a dazzling array of visual and sound installations. Its programme this year will be themed around ‘progress and innovation’ and is due to feature work by more than 50 local, national and international artists.

Council leader Coun Judith Blake said: “We’re delighted to see Leeds 2023 and Light Night Leeds coming together to give our city’s world-class cultural offering the platform it deserves.

“Each and every year, Light Night brings together tens of thousands of people from all of Leeds’s communities to experience an inspirational evening of beauty, creativity and ingenuity.

“There could be no better example of our city’s passion and enthusiasm for the arts and no stronger statement of intent about our determination to create a lasting cultural legacy over the next five years.”

Although the council was involved with the decision earlier this summer to set up the Leeds Culture Trust, the new organisation will operate as a standalone body with much of its funding coming from commercial sponsors.