See out 2023 with The Gifting

It’s time for one last dream with The Gifting, an original performance of 12 interwoven stories that bring LEEDS 2023, Year of Culture, to a fitting close this Twixmas.

The Gifting is an intoxicating mix of promenade theatre and song, merging myths and legends in an hour-long performance of folklore, magic and promise in celebration of the power of storytelling.

Audiences will gather outside Leeds’ very own film studio – Versa Studios in Holbeck, put on headphones and enter the cavernous space to be transported into new realms of imagination by twelve individual, but linked stories inspired by LEEDS 2023.  ‘The Gifting’ celebrates 12-months’ of letting culture loose in the city that dared to dream, passing on the gift of creativity and imagination that will fuel the city into the New Year and beyond.

With Shape-shifting narrator Khorin Khorin Gurav as their guide, the audience will piece together a travelogue of new sagas and old rituals.  They will unravel the Myth of the Returning Brick Man, wonder at The Tale of the City of the Forest and the Forest of the Song understand The Legend of Joy in the Ground and learn from The Parable of a Women’s Place.  The twelve allegories also include stories from the new book Northern Dreaming gifted to all babies born in 2023 and will culminate in a farewell to the old year and a joyful welcoming of the new.

This memorable celebration features new music from RashDash and stage designs by artist Keith Khan.  The Gifting is a fitting finale to what has been an exceptional year of cultural experiences.  What better to celebrate the year when Leeds ‘let culture loose’ than an original production from co-directors Kully Thiarai and Alan Lane, the creative powerhouse behind The Awakening, the dazzling launch of LEEDS 2023.

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.”

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.  The original piece celebrates 12-months’ of letting culture loose and the gift of creativity and imagination that will fuel the city into the New Year and beyond.

This hour-long show is a great way to see out LEEDS 2023

The Gifting runs at Versa Studios, Whitehall Road, Holbeck, LS12 1AP with afternoon and evening performances on Friday 22 December (Preview) and Tuesday 26 to Sunday 31 December 2023.

Suitable for ages 7+

Standing: this is a promenade performance of one hour.

Tickets £15 (concessions start at £7.50)

Click here for details and to book


This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of LEEDS 2023


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