Arts & Culture

Creativity is just the ticket

Featured image credit: Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

The opening ceremony to celebrate Leeds’ year of culture in 2023 has an interesting way of securing a ticket, while promoting creativity. 

The stadium concert will be free but only those who submit an artistic creation of any kind with their ticket application will be able to attend.

“One unmissable show. One way to get a ticket. We want your art! Paintings, poems, knits, bakes, beats, dances; anything that shows us your creative side,” said organisers in a tweet.

A 15,000-strong crowd will watch broadcaster Gabby Logan host The Awakening at Headingley rugby stadium in January next year. The event will celebrate Leeds’ cultural past, present and future.

Co-director Alan Lane told the BBC: “The mission of The Awakening is to celebrate this in a world that too often decides that not all of us are important but bit players in the epic movie of national news, customers to what others are selling.

“The Awakening will strike back at that, certain of the power and creativity that we all have, and, specifically, to proudly declare that Leeds is full of brilliance – creative, cultural, artistic brilliance – to declare it to the nation.”


Ticket hopefuls can enter the ballot by uploading their creations online or dropping their entry into the yellow art boxes dotted around Leeds.

Some submissions will be included in the event but ticket allocation is not judged on artistic merit, with the seats awarded at random.

The stadium show will feature performers such as musicians, singers from Opera North and rapper, Graft. The events will kick start Leeds 2023, which stems from the city’s application to be European Capital of Culture. Following the UK being dropped from the scheme because of Brexit, Leeds decided to go ahead and hold its own cultural events programme anyway.

Other projects include a mobile observatory that will tour Leeds, and organisers hope that next year’s Eurovision will be one of the highlights after the city made the shortlist to host the song contest.