Leeds Conservatoire Connections in Year of Culture Closing Chapter

By Gemma Cross


Leeds will end its Year of Culture on a high with The Gifting, an original new show this festive season. The cast includes Leeds Conservatoire Musical Theatre Senior Lecturer Matthew Bugg, and Acting graduate Linda-Ray Ndlovu.

From the imaginations of co-directors Kully Thiarai and Alan Lane, The Gifting will be the final chapter of LEEDS 2023, running from Tuesday 26 to Sunday 31 December (preview Friday 22 December). This hour-long live performance combines stage illusion, song and story and will take place at Versa Studios.

“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.”

Kully Thiarai, Co-Director of The Gifting and CEO and Creative Director of LEEDS 2023

“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, Co-Director of The Gifting and Artistic Director of Slung Low

Wearing headphones, The Gifting audiences will be taken on a magical journey through 12 individual but connected tales. Stories from a new book, Northern Dreaming, 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.

“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.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education at Leeds City Council

Find final tickets and further information about The Gifting on the LEEDS 2023 website

Access additional articles about Leeds Conservatoire’s involvement in the Year of Culture

By Gemma Cross

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