Counting Down to Carnival!

The countdown to Leeds West Indian Carnival begins with some great announcements for carnival arts in 2015 and beyond.

Thanks to Arts Council England funding for two years, the jaw dropping Leeds Carnival King & Queen Show will return to West Yorkshire Playhouse (WYP) after last year’s phenomenal sell out debut at the prestigious theatre. The funding will also take Leeds Carnival on de Road to other UK carnivals and provide amazing opportunities for young people to shadow experts in carnival arts and at incredible placements with our BBC Radio Leeds and WYP partners.

And that’s not all! Three year support for our annual events programme from Leeds City Council’s arts@leeds funding will continue our efforts to showcase the spectacle, joy and heritage of Caribbean carnival arts to audiences from near and far.

Young people will gain amazing carnival skills through our Design &Deliver shadowing programme (Pic: Andy Lord)

Young people will gain amazing carnival skills through our Design &Deliver shadowing programme (Pic: Andy Lord)

Back by popular demand…Leeds Carnival King & Queen Show returns to West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2015. (Pic: Keith Pattison)

Back by popular demand…Leeds Carnival King & Queen Show returns to West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2015. (Pic: Keith Pattison)

Amazing costumes will take to the road once again. (Pic: Keith Pattison)

Amazing costumes will take to the road once again. (Pic: Keith Pattison)

With the help of an army of volunteers and talented Carnivalists Leeds West Indian Carnival is in full preparation mode with this weekend signaling 100 days to go until Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival parade takes to the streets of Leeds.

Thousands of visitors are expected to descend on Leeds on Bank Holiday Monday 31st August to experience the glittering parade of floats and hundreds of jaw dropping costumes from across the UK.

Announcing this year’s plans, Carnival Founder and Chairperson Arthur France said, “For almost 50 years, Leeds Carnival has shared our recipe for a great day out with the perfect blend of stunning costumes, mesmerising music, delicious food and a great atmosphere. Our planning for 2015 started the day after last year’s event to make sure that we continue to thrill our audiences and participants alike.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Digital and Creative Technology, Culture and Skills, added; “As Leeds builds a growing profile and reputation ahead of a bid for European Capital of Culture 2023, the Carnival continues to be one of the highlights of the city’s cultural landscape. Each year it takes over the streets with a blast of colour and enthusiasm which is unmatched by any other event. As a Council we’re proud to be involved with Carnival which is a great demonstration of our partnership with communities and a stunning showcase of our city”.

Mr. France commented, “We are delighted to receive support from our long standing partners Leeds City Council and from Arts Council England Lottery funding which will help us to ensure that we bring Carnival arts to wider audiences and to fly the flag for our city”.

Arts Council England support means that the centre piece annual Leeds Carnival King and Queen Show, which brings breath-taking large scale costumes from across the UK to compete for the sought-after Carnival King and Queen titles – makes a return to the West Yorkshire Playhouse for the second year in a row. The biggest of its kind in the UK, this year’s show is back by popular demand after 2014’s sell out debut appearance at the nationally renowned theatre.

West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining commented, “We were thrilled to host the Carnival King and Queen show at West Yorkshire Playhouse last year. This spectacular event was a huge success and provided a fantastic start to our partnership with Leeds West Indian Carnival. We’re looking forward to this year’s show and to more exciting projects in the future as part of our relationship joining carnival and the arts and celebrating the culture, inspiration and imagination this iconic event brings to Leeds.”

The funding will also take Leeds West Indian Carnival to other UK events and to recruit young people to the Design & Deliver scheme, providing hands on experience in practical Carnival skills.

Mr. France said, “We must do what we can to protect and preserve a legacy of Caribbean Carnival arts in Leeds by encouraging young people to get involved in all aspects of Carnival. Design & Deliver will boost those efforts by offering amazing opportunities to shadow experts in costume design and event management as well as placements with our partners at BBC Radio Leeds and West Yorkshire Playhouse.”

Click here for more details of Leeds West Indian Carnival 2015 events, contact us or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @CarnivalLeeds

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