Leeds’ West Indian Carnival countdown begins

Lorina Gumbs, 40, wearing the Leeds Pop-Up Carnival Queen's costume
Lorina Gumbs, 40, wearing the Leeds Pop-Up Carnival Queen's costume
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THE build up to the Leeds West Indian Carnival starts today.

And with just 50 days to go until the August Bank Holiday event, which attracts more than 100,000 people, the annual street party looks set to be bigger and brighter than ever.

The feelgood factor begins with the announcement of the King and Queen Show, when the carnival stars with the best costumes are revealed in a magnificent showcase.

The event, which attracts entries from around the UK and beyond, is taking place on Friday August 22, on stage at the West Yorkshire Playhouse for the first time.

The King and Queen show has been held at Leeds Town Hall in previous years, but this move announces a new partnership of culture and arts with the region’s major theatre.

Arthur France, chairman and carnival founder, who organised Europe’s first carnival in 1967 in Leeds, said: “We are delighted that this brings together two organisations which have both had such a great impact on arts and events in Leeds for decades. Working with West Yorkshire Playhouse will open up carnival arts to wider audiences so that we can share the culture, creativity and the passion that are the inspiration behind Caribbean carnival.”

This is just one of a number of new collaborations in the making as part of the Carnival organisers’ plans to raise the profile of the event in the run up to the 50th anniversary in 2017.

James Brining, West Yorkshire Playhouse artistic director, said: “It’s a great pleasure to be joining forces with the fantastic Leeds Carnival. Hosting the King and Queen Show is just the start of a great new era. We are excited to have this iconic show on our Quarry stage and we look forward to developing our creative relationship in the near future.”

Mr France added; “It will be a brilliant showcase for the amazing creations as the space is a costume designer’s dream and a great platform to present Carnival related performances.”

Tickets on 0113 213 7700, at www.wyp.org.uk.

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