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Leeds International Festival reveals Helen Sharman OBE, June Sarpong, Viv Albertine, Steve Lamacq, Yo La Tengo, Circuit des Yeux


Space travel, the ethics of robot sex, special film score commissions, intimate audiences with…, and some serious tunes - Leeds International Festival is back

Helen Sharman OBE, June Sarpong, Viv Albertine, Steve Lamacq, Yo La Tengo, Circuit des Yeux and many more

Tickets on sale Friday 2nd February – 9am


Helen Sharman CMG OBE, The first Briton to go in space, features at the festival. Credit National Wa

Helen Sharman CMG OBE: The first Briton to go in space, features at the festival. Credit: National Waterfront Museum in Swansea


 Leeds International Festival is back for its second year, with an unforgettable fortnight of events to excite, entertain and inspire.

The UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation celebrates local creativity and international culture whilst creating one of the biggest events in Leeds.

Launched in 2017 to critical acclaim, this year’s festival, running from 28th April – 12th May, promises not to disappoint.

The eclectic programme boasts an array of original performances, world firsts, premieres and debates with big names from across the worlds of music, technology, moving image and fashion, popping up in venues across the city.

From space travel with the first Briton to go out of this world, and sex, love and Artificial Intelligence, to music from the UK’s only blind orchestra to a celluloid trip down memory lane with Leeds United – to name but a few.

Topping the bill are names including Helen Sharman CMG OBE, Sarah Beeny, June Sarpong, Steve Lamacq, Jamie Jones Buchanan and Nick JD Hodgson (former founding member of The Kaiser Chiefs).

New events announced include a special LIF hour long commission from the Inner Vision Orchestra, performed in the dark; a look at space travel – past, present and future with three experts in their field; a charity chinwag with cultural icon Cosey Fanni Tutti; an empowering conference showcasing a panel of female speakers’ career journeys into and through the digital domain and a re-worked score with an exciting collaboration with Opera North and Circuit Des Yeux as they take on the film Salomé.

Andrew Cooper, Chair of Leeds International Festival and Chief Executive of LeedsBID, said:

“Leeds International Festival is back in 2018, celebrating new ideas, local creativity and international culture in the city, with an inspired programme of events from original performances, international speakers, intriguing debates and discussions, new music, alongside some excellent visual treats.”

“This festival, bought to you by LeedsBID, aims to encapsulate all that is great about Leeds, providing the opportunity for business and cultural organisations to collaborate on showcasing the city’s strengths to audiences from near and far.

“The ambition is for the international festival to become a showpiece annual event, growing in status, calibre and appeal each year.”

Tickets go on sale for a number of new events on Friday 2nd February, with more programme details revealed in the coming weeks.



June Sarpong hosts Empowering Women with Science & tech, Leeds International Festival
June Sarpong hosts Empowering Women with Science & tech
An audience with Steve Lamacq at Leeds Brudenell Social Club, Leeds International Festival

An audience with Steve Lamacq at Leeds Brudenell Social Club


AQL, Salem Chapel

Today, providing access to technology is no longer the priority. A bigger concern is beginning to emerge - when technology invades all moments of our lives, is it possible to disconnect?

Three experts - Rohan Gunatilake, founder of meditation app Buddhify, BBC presenter and neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis and BT’s Head of Customer Insight and Futures Dr Nicola Millard - will help navigate the balancing act, of enabling the benefits of both tech connection and offline time.


Sex, love and Artificial Intelligence with Dr Kate Devlin
Hyde Park Picture House

Dr Kate Devlin talks us through the history of sex and technology in this fascinating look into the innovations that are bringing together the worlds of love and AI in new (and controversial) ways.

What are the ethical and social implications of a future where computer interaction moves beyond the mouse and keyboard? How intelligent does technology need to be before we award it empathy? Can a robot consent?

After the talk, there’ll be a screening of Oscar-nominated Lars and The Real Girl, a quirky and critically acclaimed comedy featuring Ryan Gosling and Emily Mortimer. Lars’ ‘RealDoll’ girlfriend may lead him, and his town, to a new place – a place of acceptance, and perhaps love?

Stalls: £10.50 adult, £9.50 concession. Balcony: £12.50 adult, £11.50 concession.


Astronauts required, no experience necessary
AQL Salem Chapel, 13-15 Hunslet Road LS10 1JQ

This event is a chat with three space experts -Helen Sharman CMG OBE, who was the first Briton to go to space, alongside Bas Lansdorp (CEO and co-founder of the Mars ONE mission, which is planning a one-way journey to populate Mars in the next decade) as well as BBC TV presenter Dallas Campbell.

They’ll be discussing space travel - past, present and future.

£12 for adults, under 16s go free.


Live At Leeds
Various venues

This festival-within-a-festival sees hundreds of bands descend on venues across Leeds city centre (and as far as Hyde Park’s Brudenell Social Club), gifting us with performances from bands both undiscovered and already successful.

Now in its eleventh year, the festival has featured names such as Bastille, Ed Sheeran, Rag’n’Bone Man and Royal Blood on their way to chart-topping international success – it’s THE festival to attend to catch future stars on their way up.

This year’s festival features big names such as The Horrors, British Sea Power and Circa Waves, alongside upcoming names such as BBC Sound of 2018 nominees Pale Waves, Tom Walker, Lewis Capaldi and Sam Fender.

Tickets: £36 ADV + booking fee


For the full programme of events, more information and to buy tickets:

@leedsintfest #leedsintfest