The Ultimate Guide
Leeds is boasting a jam-packed program of events this autumn, from the last of festivals, to spook-tastic Halloween events, to innovative theatre productions, you will find something to suit your tastes in our ultimate guide to what’s on.
Galleries and the theatre
Opera North will take over the Grand Theatre this October, from the 29th of September to the 28th of October, with a stunning programme of events including La Traviata, Orpheus and Orfeo Ed Euridice. Watch as scandals unfold, relationships blossom, heartbreak endures, hope persists, and fate prevails.
If you’re a lover of the theatre, there’s no shortage of offerings in Leeds this Autumn.
At the Grand Theatre you can enjoy Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical from the 8th of November to the 19th, a musical centring the story of the Cornish fisherman who rose to musical stardom, and the iconic Les Misérables from the 24th of November to the 10th of December with brilliant new staging inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo.
At Leeds Playhouse, enjoy an incredible collection of performances, including reimagined Shakespearean classics Much Ado About Nothing (27th of September to 1st of October), Macbeth (27th October) and Twelfth Night (29th October), as well as more contemporary performances, including Natasha Gordon’s Nine Night from the 24th of September to 15th of October, exploring the traditional Jamaican nine night wake. Towards Christmas, the incredibly festive Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical will run from the 18th of November to the 28th January 2023, taking you on a devilishly delicious journey of young golden ticket winner Charlie Bucket and wild confectionary wizard Willy Wonka.
But it’s not just the theatre that represent the arts in Leeds, Leeds Art Gallery‘s Desire Lines runs until the 16th of October and explores the physical and metaphorical paths carved by generations of Leeds residents, taking inspiration from both ordinary and extraordinary life stories. Jill McKnight, a Leeds-based artist, uses sculptures, works on paper, sound and film to convey these inspiring messages.
Then why not extend your visit to the galleries by discovering the Street Art trail throughout the city centre?
For those who’d prefer some comic relief, the Grand Theatre are hosting some superb comedians into December. Enjoy Kevin Bridges (12th and 15th December), Russell Kane (13th December), Joanne McNally (14th December) and Dara Ó Briain (17th December) with everything from shrewd outlooks on life to high-energy hyperactive comedy.
The biggest gigs
The music scene across Leeds this Autumn is unstoppable, with a whole host of events taking place across the city to keep your feet moving and put your vocal cords to work.
Live at Leeds In The City is a one-day music festival on the 15th of October offering the best of Northern musical talent and beyond, with one wristband giving you access to 150+ artists at venues across the city, including Pale Waves, Sundara Karma, White Lies and many more.
The English goth punk rockers The Cure are back with a 2022 European Tour with 44 shows across 22 countries, including Leeds, along with The Twilight Sad who are supporting. The unmissable Rod Stewart will also return with a massive UK wide tour, with shows promising to be filled with show-stopping classics and his unmissable captivating style.
The first direct arena will host both of these amazing acts, with The Cure on the 6th of December and Sir Rod Stewart on the 13th of December.
Events and Festivals
Leeds International Festival of Ideas features some big brains pondering some even bigger ideas. What’s wrong with climate activism? Is the metaverse our future reality? How do we talk about mental health? Join incredible keynote speakers Aisling Bea, David Olusoga, Kevin McCloud and many more as they discuss compelling topics like these at the Howard Assembly Room and various venues across Leeds from the 22nd to the 25th of September.
For the film buffs, Leeds International Film festival is back to champion cutting edge films and filmmakers from across the globe. Leeds has been a leading centre for film culture ever since Louis le Prince recorded the first film here in 1888. Since then, a lot has developed, but Leeds remains a city that promotes innovative, independent film. Individual tickets go on sale on the 6th of October, or you can purchase a pass now. Be sure to catch screenings at Vue Leeds The Light or Everyman Cinema, you won’t want to miss it!
Light Night will return this year with the theme ‘Playful City’ on the 13th and 14th of October, with over 50 spectacular light installations across the city that aim for visitors and residents to interact with the city in fun and innovative ways.
Highlights include a projection of a futuristic rollercoaster on The Queens Hotel, an augmented reality experience based on 1980s video games at Leeds Civic Hall and a giant luminous slinky tumbling over the roof of Leeds Playhouse.
There are a whole host of spook-tastic events heading to Leeds this Halloween that you simply cannot miss!
This October, Spook Fest will head to the gothic Dark Arches where you can roam among it’s stalls and exhibitors, completely free of charge. This year’s highlight will be a scary walkthrough experience set inside the eerie atmospheric arches themselves.
Along with this there are a whole host of activities to enjoy, from haunted houses to horror-themed painting.
Specific dates and venues will be announced over the coming weeks.
Thought Bubble is Yorkshire’s comic art festival, featuring a whole weeklong celebration of comics, their illustrators, their fans and everything in between. Festival week is full of workshops, film screenings, art exhibitions, socials and so much more. Dates and venues are to be confirmed, so keep checking their website for updates.
Every two years, Leeds is animated with interactive live art projects in public spaces like shopping centres, markets, museums and the city streets thanks to Compass Festival. This year’s event will take place between 18th – 27th November 2022.
From Rugby to Ice Hockey
A city with a rich sporting heritage, home to decorated sides like Leeds United, Leeds Rhinos and the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, it’s no surprise that Leeds has a reputation for playing host to iconic sporting events.
After being postponed in 2021, the Rugby League World Cup is going ahead in 2022! The Rugby League World Cup is the pinnacle major event of rugby league, globally contested every four years. It will be a breakthrough moment in the tournament’s history with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being staged together for the first time. Leeds will host the most games of any city involved in the World Cup, at both Headingley Stadium and Elland Road, and is also proud to be the home of various nations throughout the event.
A new but no less exciting addition to the Leeds sports scene would be the Leeds Knights, the professional ice hockey team for Leeds. They only played their first fixture back into 2020, but have already won the Yorkshire cup early this September. They also play in the National Ice Hockey League which begins on the 17th of September with a home game against the Telford Tigers, and spans into 2023. Don’t miss this exciting new team as they begin to make waves in the ice hockey world!