Leeds leads the way for other cities with annual light night
The annual Light Night extravaganza is back in Leeds city centre for one evening only, as Chris Bond reports.
AN enchanted maze, a tunnel taking people through the journey of life and a giant game of Donkey Kong.
These are just some of the unusual creations you might stumble across if you venture out into Leeds city centre tonight. Some of the city’s most recognisable buildings and venues will come alive for the annual Light Night.
The event, organised by Leeds City Council, consists of more than 70 events taking place at over 40 locations in and around the city centre from 5pm.
Now in its seventh year, Light Night allows residents and visitors the chance to see the city in a different light, quite literally, through a range of public performances, light shows and displays, for free.
Among this year’s highlights are performances of Othello at Leeds University and Titania’s Dream by Opera North at the Howard Assembly Rooms in the Leeds Grand, complete with an enchanted magical maze, echoing images and beautiful music.
A further challenge to the senses can be found at West Riding House, where The Tunnel allows visitors to take an interactive journey through life, while The Carriageworks is featuring a display of illuminated umbrellas.
James Hill, senior arts and regeneration officer with Leeds Council, is expecting another bumper crowd in the city.
“We know that 8,500 people visited the town hall on the night last year, which is more than Queen Victoria got when she opened the building,” he says. “Even if people see something that’s not to their taste, if they go 20 yards down the street they will hopefully find something that is.
“People can go from one place to another and we’re pretty confident that there will be something for everyone. There is a light projection at the civic hall and on the site of the Leeds arena there’s a gargantuan version of the 80s computer game Donkey Kong that people can play themselves.”
Hill says Light Night is more than just a gimmick.
“It’s a chance for artists and organisations that are perhaps a bit on the periphery to take centre stage and shine, and if people like what they see they can go and find out more.”
He also believes the city’s cultural scene has never been better. “Every single night in Leeds there is something amazing going on. You just have to be prepared to go out and find it.”
Leeds was the first British city to hold its own light night and now others are following suit.
“We initiated this and now more than 20 cities across the UK have done their own version.
“It’s great because it means London is following where Leeds leads.”
To find out more, go to www.lightnightleeds.co.uk
LIGHT FANTASTIC: Leeds Light Night offers visitors and residents the opportunity to see the city in a different light.