What’s On In Yorkshire This January

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Light Organ

Until 21 January

Yorkshire Sculpture Park
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Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) has launched a stunning new interactive light and sound artwork to brighten up this winter. Light Organ has been installed in YSP’s Chapel as part of the Wakefield’s Light Up 2023 programme. Audiences of all ages are invited to sing, talk and clap into microphones to activate Light Organ – a series of elegant pipes that transform the noises into a sculptural display of colourful, glowing lights. Created by artists Akeelah Bertram and Adam Glatherine with creative technologist Simon Fletcher, Light Organ is a beautiful, vibrant work that allows visitors of all ages and abilities to interact with something very uplifting and playful.



Heart of the Nation

Until 18 February

Migration Museum
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The Migration Museum is opening Heart of the Nation: Migration and the Making of the NHS, a national touring exhibition to mark the 75th anniversary year of the National Health Service (NHS), at its new pop-up museum in Trinity Leeds shopping centre. Featuring dozens of personal stories contributed by people who have come from all over the world to work at all levels of the NHS from the 1940s to the present day, alongside photography, film, newly commissioned artwork, unique artefacts and historical ephemera, Heart of the Nation shares the stories and experiences of the migrant healthcare workers who built and have sustained our health service.



Strictly Come Dancing

23 January

Sheffield Utilita Arena
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The full line-up of celebrities and professional dancers for next year’s highly anticipated Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Tour are announced today: actor and model Bobby Brazier dancing with Dianne Buswell; tennis champion and presenter Annabel Croft dancing with tour partner Graziano Di Prima; journalist and broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy dancing with tour partner Jowita Przystal; broadcaster and presenter Angela Scanlon dancing with Carlos Gu. They will join Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola, Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington and Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin to complete the sensational line-up of participants from the current series.



The Nature of Forgetting

31 January-1 February

Sheffield Crucible
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Tom is living with young onset dementia. We meet him as he prepares for his 55th birthday party and past memories come flooding back. Following sold-out performances across the globe, Theatre Re brings its explosive, powerful and joyous piece about what is left when memory is gone, back to the UK.



York Residents’ Festival

28-29 January

york festival

Organised by Make It York, and sponsored by Grand Central, explore the city and be a tourist for the weekend – for free! Organised by Make It York, this annual festival is their way of saying a big ‘thank you’ for the warm welcome you give to York’s 8.4 million visitors. To get involved in Residents’ Festival, present a valid York Card, student card or identity card that proves York residency. You can also win dinner for two at The Principal York by taking part in a special survey – see the website for more information.




9 January

Whitby Pavilion Theatre Cinema
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Napoleon is a spectacle filled action epic that details the chequered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix.

Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte’s relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.


On the rise

A new sculpture from Yinka Shonibare CBE RA is revealed as part of LEEDS 2023

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‘Hibiscus Rising’, a striking new 9.5m tall sculpture by international artist Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, has been unveiled in Leeds. As originally covered in Absolutely Yorkshire two months ago, it is a major part of the programme for LEEDS 2023, Year of Culture. ‘Hibiscus Rising’ is Shonibare’s first permanent public commission in the North of England.

Forming a powerful legacy in celebration of the life of David Oluwale, ‘Hibiscus Rising’ also acts as a symbol of unity and hope, and shows how far Leeds as a unified, inclusive city has moved from a less tolerant past. The piece was co-commissioned by LEEDS 2023 and the David Oluwale Memorial Association (DOMA) to honour the life of Oluwale, a British Nigerian Leeds resident who was hounded to his death on 18 April 1969, drowning in the River Aire as a result of systematic police harassment and violence.

‘Hibiscus Rising’ is inspired by the hibiscus flower, a plant ubiquitous in Nigeria where both Shonibare and Oluwale spent their childhoods, and features Shonibare’s African-inspired batik patterns, which in-turn have their origins in Indonesian culture, and which explore themes of cultural and national identity.


Located at the heart of Leeds’ extensive regeneration area of the South Bank on Meadow Lane within the new Aire Park development, ‘Hibiscus Rising’ is close to the river where Oluwale lost his life, the new David Oluwale Bridge and the blue plaque dedicated to him on nearby Leeds Bridge. The sculpture will be at the centre of a landscape designed by urban and rural place design practice Planit whose vision of ruptured ground giving way to the growth of the sculpture creates a striking setting.

Yinka Shonibare says: “I wanted Hibiscus Rising to be a place where people could remember David Oluwale, but also to unite the community of Leeds and bring people together. Seeing it today, I am incredibly happy with how it looks and hope that it’s enjoyed by communities in Leeds now and for years to come.”

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