What’s On in Leeds - July/August 2013

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen - Credit: Archant

Struggling to find fun and unusual activities to take part in through the summer months? Spend July and August discovering the cosmopolitan city of Leeds, working your way through an exciting events schedule which includes an acclaimed music festival, an impromptu performance from a world-renowned rock legend at the new first direct Arena and a visit from CBBC.

Here is your guide to key events in July and August in Leeds. For more information, please go to www.visitleeds.co.uk or keep up to date by following us on Twitter: @VisitLeeds.

Live music

Bruce Springsteen, first direct Arena, 24th July, 7.30pm

The UK’s newest arena – which will officially open its doors in September – will be given an impromptu road test this July at the request of rock legend Bruce Springsteen.

The show will be a special one-off performance during his ongoing ‘Wrecking Ball’ world tour. The 13,500 capacity venue is pulling out all the stops to accommodate the multi-award winning ‘Born to Run’ rocker and his E Street Band.

Party in the Park, Temple Newsam, 28th July

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Jason Derulo and Ed Sheeran are among the list of world-renowned artists set to perform at this year’s Party in the Park, a one day event in the picturesque surroundings of Leeds’ Temple Newsam estate.

Tickets: £10.

Leeds Festival, Bramham Park, 23rd – 25th August

Set to be the biggest yet, Leeds Festival is adding a number of new stages this year to bring more diverse music to the masses.

For the first time, Radio 1 will host the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage while 1 Xtra has its very own BBC 1Xtra Stage.

Over 75,000 fans will descend on Leeds’ Bramham Park this August to see performances from headliner Eminem, as well as Mercury prize winner Alt-J making his debut on the Radio 1 / NME stage.

With live music at the heart and soul of this city, Leeds Festival will continue to grow its reputation as one of the leading lights in new music.


Ghost, Leeds Grand Theatre, 17th - 29th June, various times

Based on the Oscar-winning movie that captured the hearts and imaginations of a whole generation in the 90s, Ghost is a timeless fantasy about the power of love. Sam is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next, trying to communicate with girlfriend Molly through a phoney psychic in the hope of saving her from his murderer.

Ghost is a rollercoaster ride of romance and comedy with state-of-the-art staging.

Tickets: £15 – £43.

Opera North presents: Siegfried, Leeds Grand Theatre, 15th, 19th June, 13th July, 4.30pm

The third opera in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Siegfried tells a story that resembles a fairy-tale. The youthful hero, Siegfried, forges an unbreakable sword from the shards of the weapon that belonged to his father, slays the dragon, seizes the ring from the dragon’s hoard, and penetrates a ring of magic fire that encircles a sleeping maiden, Brünnhilde, whom he falls in love with.

Tickets: £17.50 - £51.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Leeds Grand Theatre, 1st – 13th July

The feel-good international hit sensation is coming to Leeds, starring Jason Donovan as Tick.

Based on the smash-hit movie, Priscilla is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dancefloor favourites, this is a wildly fresh and funny new musical – get ready for the ride of your life!

Tickets: £10 - £39.50.

Royal Opera House Screenings, Millennium Square, 13th June - 18th July

Experience special live relays of some of the world’s best loved opera and ballet productions on Millennium Square’s outdoor big screen.

Starting with the Royal Ballet’s Mayerling on 13th June followed by two celebrated offerings from Puccini, escape to the romance of Paris with La Rondine on 11thJuly and the violent tragedy of Tosca on 18th July.

Free entry.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Leeds Grand Theatre, 16th – 20th July, 7.30pm

Having enjoyed sensational reviews, Bill Kenwright’s “Amazing”, “Superb”, “Wonderful” and “Brilliant” production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical continues to see huge success across the country, with standing ovations at every performance.

Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including Those Canaan Days, Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door To Me. Book your tickets and be part of the magic!

Tickets: £13 - £28.

Noises Off, Leeds Grand Theatre, 23rd – 27th July, 7.30pm

The Old Vic and West-End smash hit comes to Leeds following its critically-acclaimed sell-out run in London.

Hailed as one of the greatest British comedies ever written, Michael Frayn’s multi award-winning backstage farce serves up a riotous double bill – a play within a play.

Hurtling along at breakneck speed, it follows the backstage antics of a touring theatre company as they stumble their way through rehearsals, to a shambolic first night in Weston-super-Mare, and a final disastrous performance in Stockton-on-Tees.

Cast includes Neil Pearson of Monroe and Bridget Jones’ Diary, Maureen Beattie (The Bill, Taggart, Casualty), David Bark-Jones, Simon Bubb, Danielle Flett, Geoffrey Freshwater, Thomasin Rand and Sasha Waddell.

Tickets: £15.50 - £31.

Hairspray, Leeds Grand Theatre, 20th – 29th August, 7.30pm

Baltimore’s Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion – to dance.

She wins a spot on the local TV dance programme, ‘The Corny Collins Show’ and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. But can a trendsetter in dance and fashion vanquish the programme’s reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her ‘do? Only in Hairspray - Welcome to the ‘60s!

Tickets: £19 - £46.

Midnight Tango – Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, Leeds Grand Theatre, 29th July – 3rd August, 7.30pm

Strictly Come Dancing’s Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace have dazzled television audiences for seven series of the BBC show with their stunning Tango routines. Now they have created their own live show – a breathtaking evening bringing all the drama, sensuality and elegance of this most exciting of dance forms to life.

Set in a late night bar in downtown Buenos Aires and featuring some of the finest Tango dancers in the world performing to live music, Midnight Tango takes you on a journey into the heart of this intoxicating city. As danger and excitement, joy and jealousy, pain and passion all combine – this is an explosive evening not to be missed.

Tickets: £16 - £35.

Opera in the Park, Temple Newsam, 27th July, 8pm

Opera fans gather every year on the beautiful Temple Newsam estate in Leeds for the summertime Opera in the Park.

Experience a magical evening of outdoor opera presented by acclaimed Welsh singer, Aled Jones, together with renowned soloists by some of the most celebrated opera singers in the UK.

Tickets: £12.


The Duffy Collection Exhibition, White Cloth Gallery, ongoing until 12th August, 6pm

Taken from the Duffy archives, ‘The Duffy Collection’ presents David Bowie through a unique collection of photographs and never seen before ‘behind the scenes’ images.

The exhibition will coincide with the Victoria & Albert’s 2013 exhibition, ‘Bowie is’.

Tickets: £7 adults, £5 concessions.

The Seven Eggs, works by Clare Woods, Harewood House and Gardens, from 6th July, 11am – 4pm

This new exhibition presents work by celebrated British painter, Clare Woods.

Tickets: From £10 adults, £9 senior citizen, £6 children / students and £30 family.

Family friendly

CBBC Live in Leeds, Millennium Square, 25th – 27th July

This summer, CBBC will be packing its bags and taking the channel on holiday for three days of action-packed events, live from Leeds City Centre.

Kicking off the summer in style for one weekend only, the channel will be bringing some of its biggest stars and shows to Leeds for three days of fun-filled activities, and everyone is invited!

Blue Peter, Newsround and CBBC will all be broadcasting live from the city’s Millennium Square over the three days. And, as well as watching their favourite shows live, kids will have the chance to meet some of the biggest stars of children’s television and take part in hands-on activities in a variety of interactive zones.

Activities will include preview screenings, science workshops and the opportunity to have a go at presenting and try new digital content. And, for younger family members, there will be a CBeebies zone to keep the little ones entertained.

Free entry.

Kirkstall Deli Market, 27th – 28th July, 31st August

For a great day out shopping and browsing handmade crafts and tasting local Yorkshire produce, visit two markets set in the picturesque 12th century ruins of Kirkstall Abbey. Stallholders include authentic American baker, The Yummy Yank, Really Indian, Nachos Amigos and Spanish Deli.

Free entry.

Beekeeping Taster Day, Harewood House, 10th – 11th August

The perfect opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge from experienced beekeepers, including an opportunity to visit and observe a working apiary within the grounds.

Tickets: From £10 adults, £9 senior citizen, £6 children / students and £30 family.

Leeds Championship Dog Show, Harewood House, 26th – 28th July

Around 9,000 dogs attended last year’s show and now one of the UK’s largest outdoor dog shows returns again with stalls, stands and competitions. It is the qualifying round for Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show which takes place later in the year.

Tickets: £10 adults, £6 children, £30 family.

Tournament, Royal Armouries, 24th – 26th August, 12 – 3pm

Some of the best jousters in the country compete for the honour of being crowned champion in this thrilling jousting competition.

Britain’s national museum of arms and armour, the Royal Armouries displays over 8,500 artefacts in its five galleries of War, Self Defence, Hunting and the newly refurbished Tournament gallery which explores the might of Henry VIII – king and sportsman.


Otley Walking Festival, 22nd – 30th June

Get your boots ready as the 30th Otley Walking Festival returns again with a choice of 50 different walks across Leeds and events each day. Suitable for all ages, they will include everything from short town-based walks and themed walks to waterside walks and strenuous moorland hikes.


Sky Ride, Leeds City Centre, 7th July

Leeds city centre will be filled with thousands of cyclists, as the city hosts a free family-oriented mass-participation ‘Sky Ride’ for the first time.

As part of a new partnership between Leeds City Council, British Cycling, Sky and West Yorkshire Metro, the city centre will become traffic-free for one day to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out on bikes.

Sky Ride will also form part of the ‘one year to go’ celebrations to 5 July 2014, when Leeds welcomes the world’s largest annual sporting event of Yorkshire’s Tour de France Grand Départ.


Festivals and fairs

Unique Gift Fair, The Corn Exchange, 6th – 7th July, 31st August

If you like shopping for unusual gifts and treating yourself to some fabulous products from independent stallholders, then Unique Gift Fair is the place to be.

With a wide selection of different products to choose from, whether it’s shabby chic for the home, scented candles, children’s novelty jewellery, beauty products or photographic images.

Free entry.

Leeds Waterfront Festival, 29th – 30th June

Last year’s festival presented a fantastic range of events, stretching all along the Leeds Waterfront from Thwaite Mills, Clarence Dock, Brewery Warf, Dock Street to Granary Wharf.

This year will be the sixth Waterfront Festival and there’s something for everyone to enjoy, from live music, street entertainers, arts and crafts, guided walks and an art walk.

Free entry.

Leeds Pride, Leeds City Centre, 3rd – 4th August

Expect live music, performances and speeches followed by the Pride Parade which sets off from Millennium Square with floats, music and a march through Leeds towards the Gay Quarter of the city.

The Gay Quarter will host a large street party with music, a funfair, and street stalls until late.

Free entry.