Festival plans for 50th celebration


With just over 50 days to go until this year’s Leeds West Indian Carnival, organisers have announced the first plans to celebrate the event’s 50th anniversary in 2017.

Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival will partner with the critically acclaimed Leeds based Phoenix Dance Theatre to stage Carnival Ballet – a unique, world class dance production which will share the spirit, history and heritage of the Carnival with national and international audiences.

Set for an autumn 2017 world premiere in Leeds, Carnival Ballet will bring together leading artists in dance, music and carnival costume design. With an original carnival music score, stunning costumes and set design, the unique production will be performed by 16 dancers from Phoenix, the UK and other international dance companies.

Carnival Chairman Arthur France said: “The Leeds West Indian Carnival partnership with Phoenix Dance Theatre is a perfect match, reflected in our shared heritage and beginnings in inner city Leeds. Carnival Ballet will be an incredible centrepiece of our milestone 50th anniversary celebrations and will share the stories behind the phenomenal spectacle which brings people together every year”.

The production will receive funding from the Arts Council England Exceptional Award programme for projects of potential national and international impact. The cast of Carnival Ballet will be joined by amateur performers taking part in an education programme which will share carnival arts, dance and music with communities in tour locations.

The world premiere will kick-start a national tour to six venues in major UK cities and then tour Europe and the Caribbean in 2018.