This year’s Yorkshire Festival will bring some incredible international artists to our region, as towns and cities across Yorkshire take part in this bi-annual celebration of creativity. The 2016 lineup showcases the work of artists from every corner of our region, whilst giving Yorkshire’s audiences the chance to experience new and exciting work from world-leading creatives.
To celebrate this year’s festival, we’ve hand-picked a few cultural highlights that you need to see during the Yorkshire Festival 2016. A real mix of bold, unusual and surprising work, this year’s programme is making us even more excited for what’s to come in Hull during 2017.
The festival runs from 16 June – 3 July; head to the Yorkshire Festival website to explore the full programme.
Big Disco: Leeds (and across Yorkshire) – July 1
The biggest disco ball in the world is rolling into Leeds on July 1 – and the party will go on all day and all night, right across Yorkshire. This gigantic mirror ball (as big as a three-storey house) will hang from a crane above Duke Studios in Leeds as the centrepiece of a Yorkshire-wide party. Thousands of people will dance to the same track at the same time in their own DIY discos across the region, attempting to set a new world record. There’s even a public vote for which track will be the chosen tune, from a playlist picked by DJs and musos from around Yorkshire. Cast your vote here.
Brutalist Playground: Sheffield – 17 June – 11 Sept
Architecture collective Assemble, winners of the 2015 Turner Prize, have teamed up with artist Simon Terrill to explore the way that we design spaces for play. Taking inspiration from Sheffield’s Brutalist icon the Park Hill housing estate (and the now-lost Brutalist playgrounds that once surrounded such huge estates) this new commission takes a fun and immersive look at post-war urban landscapes. Inspired by 1950s design principles, this interactive exhibition in Sheffield’s S1 Artspace gives you the chance to unleash your inner (conceptual-architecture-loving) child. Find out more.
Sonic Journey: The train journey between Goole and Hull – during the festival and beyond
A uniquely personal creative journey for one audience member, Sonic Journey is a free download created by composer Gavin Bryars and poet Blake Morrison. The composition has been created specifically for the train journey between Goole and Hull, taking its inspiration from the countryside and landscape of the East Riding of Yorkshire. To experience it, audience members download the free track to their own device and listen to the composition as they take the train from Goole to Hull (or Hull to Goole, if they fancy). The experience is open to anyone who wants to take part during the festival and beyond. Find out more and download the track.
Phoenix Dance Triple Bill – York
Now in their 35th year, Leeds dance company Phoenix Dance Theatre are presenting a Triple Bill as part of the Yorkshire Festival 2016. The programme mixes home-grown talent with internationally-acclaimed artists, proving yet again why Phoenix are at the forefront of contemporary dance in the UK. Until.With / Out.Enough, a co-commission by Phoenix Dance and the Royal Ballet from Dutch / Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili, takes an inside look at the what goes on in our minds. Bloom on the other hand, from new choreographer Caroline Flinn, takes us a darkly humorous journey of life and the human condition. Find out more here.
Government Inspector: Sheffield – 17 – 25 June
With some of the UK’s greatest producing theatres on our doorstep, there’s plenty in the Yorkshire Festival 2016 programme for theatre lovers. Look out for Sheffield Crucible Theatre’s production of Government Inspector – a chaotic comedy of errors by Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol. This razor-sharp satire of greed and corruption in government has been created in partnership with Ramps on the Moon, a disability charity whose work is a much-needed shot in the arm for disability arts provision in the UK. Through the creative combination of sign language, captions and audio description, Government Inspector is reshaping the way we think about disability access to the arts. Find out more about the show here.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw: Hebden Bridge, Leeds and York – 28 – 30 June
Hailing from New Mexico (via Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey) A Hawk and a Hacksaw make gorgeous sounds with a violin and an accordion. The duo’s Balkan folk influences combine with a contemporary sound to create surprising, rich and finely balanced instrumentals. One for fans of Joanna Newsom, accordionist and drummer Jeremy Barnes has spent the last two years on the road with Neutral Milk Hotel. Find out more about their gigs in Yorkshire here.
Niche fact: A Hawk and a Hacksaw provided the soundtrack to Astra Taylor’s documentary Zizek! about the life and work of philosopher, cultural theorist and psychoanalytic oddball Slavoj Žižek. The more you know.
Place des Anges: Hull – July 2
Saving the best until last – although we might be biased on this – the finale of the Yorkshire Festival features French aerialists Gratte Ciel performing high above Queen’s Gardens in Hull. A host of acrobatic angels suspended above the city centre slowly begin to shower the crowd below in feathers; what begins as a gentle flutter of white feathers soon becomes an explosive display of feather fireworks, transforming the city and creating a powerful visual spectacle in the heart of Hull. Presented by the Yorkshire Festival and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 in association with the Amy Johnson Festival, 10,000 Place des Anges tickets have already sold out (in just 51 minutes). Expect to see plenty more about these feathered angels in the coming weeks.