LEEDS 2023 Finale: The Gifting

Following a year of exceptional cultural experiences including The Awakening, Making A Stand, The WOW Barn, Moon Palace, events in all 33 wards of Leeds and many more, Leeds will end its Year of Culture on a high with an original new show this Christmas in Holbeck.

From the imaginations of co-directors Kully Thiarai and Alan Lane, the team whose opening show got LEEDS 2023 off to a dazzling start, ‘The Gifting’ will be the unmissable final chapter of LEEDS 2023.

The year of culture has been a 3-act storytelling epic: ‘Awakening’, ‘Playing’ and now the ‘Dreaming’ season will close with a joyful celebration of stories. With new music from RashDash and designs by artist Keith Khan, this hour-long live performance combines stage illusion, song and story and will take place at Holbeck’s cavernous Versa Studios, in a rare opportunity for audiences to enter Leeds’s newest movie studios.

‘The Gifting’ is co-produced by LEEDS 2023, Slung Low and the British Library and is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.

Kully Thiarai, co-director of The Gifting and Creative Director of LEEDS 2023 said:

“In January the Poet Laureate started our year of culture by reminding all of us in Leeds that we had gold in our veins and diamonds for brains. It was the start LEEDS 2023 needed. As we head towards the year’s end, we let our dreams grow and celebrate the power of the stories we make, the myths we harness and the imagination we unleash. Together, powerfully making and concluding a year like no other.”

Alan Lane, co-director of The Gifting and Artistic Director of Slung Low said:

“It’s such a privilege to work on a new show to mark the end of this year of culture. A magical ceremony that celebrates the power that we all have to tell stories to shape the world we want to live in.  We’ve been lucky enough to assemble the best team of artists and performers to sing farewell to the old year and welcome in a new one, full of promise and hope. A piece of magic in the dark days of winter.”

Alan Lane, Keith Khan, Kully Thiarai. Photo: JMA Photography

Wearing headphones, ‘The Gifting’ audiences will be taken on a magical journey through 12 individual but connected tales.  Stories from a new bookfrom LEEDS 2023 and the British Library, entitled Northern Dreaming, that will be gifted to all babies born in Leeds in 2023 will also be brought to life. This memorable celebration of new myths will feature dance, music, song, performance, and a touch of magic offering audiences a unique experience at Christmas-time.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said:

“This past year has seen culture in Leeds come to the fore like never before, and it’s been truly inspiring to see our city and communities unite in celebration of all the things that make Leeds such a unique place.

“This compelling final chapter of Leeds 2023 will mark the end of that year of celebration, but the start of our efforts to build on the legacy of this remarkable year and ensure the enthusiasm for culture as well as the many new bonds and friendships which have been forged continue to flourish all across the city for many years to come.”

‘The Gifting’ tickets are now on sale here.


This post is based on a press release issued by LEEDS 2023


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