Leeds Arts and Culture

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Museums and Exhibitions to visit

Leeds is a vibrant and historic city, full of museums and art galleries, as well as its fair share of theatres and other places of entertainments. If you are visiting Leeds then you shouldn’t leave until you have seen at least some of the attractions the city has to offer.

If you are interested in the rich cultural and social history of Leeds then the recently restored Abbey House Museum has a vivid recreation of life in the Victorian City of Leeds. Experience what it must have been like for youngsters in Blake’s dark, satanic mills when you take a look around Armley Mills.

The Leeds City Arts Gallery and the more recent Henry Moore Institute, house a variety of works from world renowned artists of different periods. The modernistic Institute has a large gallery with bigger than life-size sculptured figure outside. The Institute also houses a large study/research centre and library.

The old Civic Theatre of Leeds is now the Leeds City Museum that houses interactive and informative collections. The interactive side of the museum is especially attractive to youngsters, and you can make it a family day out as the building also houses a shop, a café and some great educational facilities. If museums and art galleries aren’t really your thing then the Royal Armouries might appeal. The Armouries is home to a national collection of arms and armour with five themed galleries, including one that holds the actual tournament armour of Henry the Eighth and the only display of elephant armour in the world. Youngsters will enjoy the live displays of jousting, falconry and other hand to hand combat.

If you like theatre and entertainment then a visit to the Leeds City Varieties Music Hall is a must. Once as the City Varieties, the origins of the Leeds music hall date back to 1865 and is recognized as the largest, continuously running music hall in the UK today. Nowadays the theatre is a venue for top performers comedians, musicians and other variety acts as well as light opera.

The Carriage works Theatre, is a modern, purpose built theatre that puts on a variety of plays, concerts, exhibitions and community events. The Carriageworks Theatre also hosts the Leeds International Film Festival and the Breeze International Youth Festival. The Northern Ballet Theatre is the home of classical ballet performances as well as some contemporary works, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse is noted for performing some of the best repertory theatre in the country.

Many of the recent developments in arts and culture in Leeds is due to the Leeds Arts Partnership, which was first formed in 2000, to broaden the influence of the arts and heritage of Leeds and the surrounding areas. The partnership organizes many public events that are designed to heighten awareness of arts and culture in and around the City of Leeds. The partnership produces a newsletter and it meets four times a year to discuss developments in the arts and culture arena, share problems and devise an ongoing strategy for city arts and culture.