Theatre network in £2,500 appeal to save festival for emerging Leeds talent

Leeds Corn Exchange. Picture by Simon Dewhurst.
Leeds Corn Exchange. Picture by Simon Dewhurst.
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A creative group has launched a crowdfunding campaign to save a Leeds arts festival, as its £15,000 Arts Council funding grant hangs in the balance.

The Leeds-based West Yorkshire Theatre Network’s (WYTN) NEXUS festival is due to take place at up to five city venues including Belgrave Music Hall and Leeds Corn Exchange from September 12 to 14, as it pulls together around 75 emerging Yorkshire acts in everything from theatre and comedy to music and dance.

But, in line with the terms of its £15,000 grant, the group must match £2,500 of the funds itself within the next few weeks, or face losing the money altogether – something organisers are determined wont happen having had over £500 pledged so far.

WYTN’s managing director Steph Upsall, 29, fears that if the call for online donations fails she may have to dip into money left for her by her late mother.

She said: “I’m hoping, because we have been working for nothing for so long, that there’s so many people we have helped out there and they will give us some help. If we didn’t get the funding we would either run a series of fundraising events that would take a lot of time and take away from the festival or I would have to put money in myself which I really don’t have.”

The NEXUS festival is the product of months of work by seven local creatives from WYTN, who are trying to give emerging performers a platform.

WYTN was set up by Steph in 2009, who wanted to meet likeminded artists, and it has since snowballed into a support network. NEXUS is its first major Arts Council-funded project.

Steph added: “We are bursting at the seams with creativity in Leeds and people just don’t know it. I’m hoping we can bring that to the fore.”

To donate visit before August 12.


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