Journalists, chefs, comedians, writers, members of parliament and TV personality aplenty will be filling Leeds with debate over a huge four day festival.
Leeds International Festival of Ideas is set to host the UK’s ‘biggest celebration of new ideas’, with fireside chats and panel discussions with the likes of Davina McCall, Will Young, Dame Prue Leith and Matt Baker.
Just over the Pennines TV barrister and University of Manchester alumni Rob Rinder will be bringing ‘the rule of law’ to life whilst Northern journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy takes on the question: ‘Who does our political system benefit?’ – but that’s just the beginning…
Taking place this September inside new venue Leeds Playhouse, this is set to be LIFI’s biggest year to date, The Hoot reports.
Announcing the full line-up last night, festival organisers have revealed that the likes of Davina McCall, Dame Prue Leith and Will Young, will be taking to the stage alongside huge names from the world of entertainment, politics and business, including Yorkshire’s Michelin starred chef Tommy Banks, Matt Baker MBE, Jay Blades MBE, Gemma Whelan, Amber Rudd, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Rob Rinder, Sir Jon Cuncliffe, and many more.
These exciting names will be joining TV personality Bimini, who will be talking about ‘a world beyond the binary’; author and comedian Ruby Wax OBE will be bringing ‘my journey to mindfulness’ to life with a key note speaker show whilst ‘a new generation of entrepreneurism’ will be covered by Diary of a CEO’s Steven Bartlett.
Working in partnership with LeedsBID, The Hoot Leeds and Weightmans, the idea of the festival is to bring conversations to the surface, using a combination of panels, fireside chats and speeches to inspire, provoke and encourage discussions.
Questions vary from ‘what’s our obsession with true crime?’ to ‘who does our political system benefit?’ and ‘how do we talk about grief?’ – and this year’s line-up certainly won’t be shying away from the hard questions.
Will Young, appearing at LIFI23 says: “I’m excited to be part of a festival exploring many of the things that make us human. It’s so important not only to ask these questions of each other, but to spend time listening when we don’t have all the answers. What a fantastic line up!”
Leeds International Festival of Ideas Full Line-up
Wednesday 27 September 2023
Panel: When will women’s health be taken seriously? with Davina McCall, Dr Christine Ekechi and Lauren Mahon, plus more names to be announced
Fireside chat: A New Generation Of Entrepreneurism with Steven Bartlett
Leeds Playhouse, Artistic Director and CEO James Brining said: “It is so exciting to see the range of artists and speakers attending Leeds International Festival 2023. All are individuals at the top of their game and using their platforms to amplify the voices of others as well as exploring issues of importance and significance for contemporary society.
“At Leeds Playhouse, our aim is to open up our theatre, with its flexible conference spaces and three auditoria, welcoming local, national and international artists to the region, facilitating conversations and sharing stories that reflect the world we live in. We also aim to celebrate Leeds as a culture rich, vibrant city and hosting LIFI in 2023 certainly helps us achieve that goal.”
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Art & Culture
Drunk Histories: Project Halcyon Distillery launch ‘Still Room Sessions’ where you drink whilst learning about drinking
Project Halcyon Distillery is well and truly up there with our favourite new openings in Manchester city centre and after having enjoyed many unique visits already, the speakeasy-style bar is now offering up yet another interesting drinking experience: their ‘Still Room Sessions’.
There’s a lot to it and we’ll get to all that in due course but, put in simplest terms, it’s kind of a bit like if the TV show Drunk History and a tasting event had a baby. Sold.
Still Room Sessions are Project Halycon‘s brand new monthly interactive workshop experience which will be held on the second Sunday of every month.
Each month, a member of their award-winning bartending team — and trust us, they really are worthy of the recognition — will cover a completely new topic as they take guests through a guided talk on various aspects of the history and ongoing drinking culture behind drinking.
Now, before any of jump the gun and say ‘I don’t want a history lesson, I want a drink’, let us stop you right there; each session revolves around tasting various different cocktails and spirits for the bar’s incredible drinks selection, as well as specials that they create for events like this.
Tickets to one of Project Halcyon’s Still Room Sessions include a drink upon arrival, at least two cocktails during the sessions and a spirit tasting. Oh yes, you might have some trouble concentrating by the end but god knows you won’t be even more interested with a few drinks down you.
Also, it is worth reiterating that the subject matter the guys will be covering is genuinely interesting stuff, not just if you’re a history buff but a fan of drinking in general. In fact, we can personally vouch for that.
After going along to their first session in September, simply entitled, ‘A Century Later’ — an exploration of the effects of the infamous American prohibition 100 years on, its lasting impact on today’s drinking culture, bartending style, as well as how the whole idea of a speakeasy bar came about — we were hooked inside the first five minutes.
After being presented with a refreshing G and T on arrival, we were welcomed into the still room for our first couple of drinks, which came in the form of their irresistible Bees Knees cocktail (created exclusively for this first event) as well as a taste of their house gin. Strong start — literally.
Then, as we prepared for the second 30-minute segment of knowledge and knocking back a few, everyone received an Apple Blossom cocktail along with a taste of Calvados as a nod to both gin and the distilled type of cider being two of the most bootlegged spirits ever.
Finally, to tie things off, the last 10 minutes saw them open up the floor for a more casual discussion and Q&A of sorts, with people asking everything from ‘why do people shake instead of stir for certain cocktails?’ (that one’s for you, Mr Bond) to tips on how to make a proper drink at home.
Oh, and did we mention that everyone got 33% off their bill for the rest of the night? Oh yes, all 12 of us stayed behind to enjoy a few more drinks afterwards. We could hardly turn an offer like that down.
Their second session kicks off this weekend next week on Monday, 9 October, with ‘The Journey of Juniper‘, which will see the staff talk about the world of gins and its illustrious history.
Starting all the way back with Dutch genever and the bathtub gin craze of 18th century London, to newer, more modern style expressions, including their very own, made on sight in the back of house, guests won’t just be sat listening, they’ll also be taught how to make the perfect martini at home.
We’ve always believed in the importance of education…
We think this is a really exciting opportunity for guests to learn and interact with Halcyon’s already rich, culturally-infused drinking space. Each event is limited to just a dozen tickets, so these talks and tasting sessions really are exclusive. You can secure your place on the next one HERE.
A magical new lantern festival with 12 ‘vivid dreamworlds’ will light up Gulliver’s World this winter
A new lantern festival is coming to one of North West’s best-loved theme parks this winter, and it sounds like the most magical family day out.
In what is a first-of-its-kind attraction for the local area, Land of Lights is set to transform Gulliver’s World in Warrington into an immersive winter wonderland with 12 “vivid dreamworlds” full of dozens of gigantic lanterns that are inspired by animals, mega monuments, and wonders of the natural world.
As the sun goes down and the nights draw in, visitors will be able to explore an amazing array of light installations as they walk all around the park.
More than 7,000 individual lanterns and hundreds of thousands of LED lights create the spectacle.
Setting the festive scene and bringing the magic from 11 November, Land of Lights is arriving in Warrington after it was held for the first time ever at Gulliver’s Land down in Milton Keynes last year, and proved to be a smash-hit success that was visited by thousands.
Land of Lights is the award-winning work of the Zigong Lantern Group, and more than 100 people have been involved in the production process.
With each lantern and light installation in the festival having been carefully-handcrafted by skilled artisans, the Warrington attraction has taken more than six months to design, manufacture, and artistically finish.
As well as all of the show-stopping lanterns and light installations to marvel at, visitors will also have the chance to tuck into a feast of festive-themed street food and drinks all throughout the festival too.
Craig Clews, who is the Land of Lights festival manager, said organisers “can’t wait” to welcome the festival to Warrington in a couple of weeks time.
Speaking ahead of the festival’s arrival, Craig said: “Land of Lights is a spectacular, illuminated attraction that will provide people from the local area with a great night out, as well as attract visitors from far and wide to the area to experience the breathtaking moments and awe-inspiring installations bursting with energy and culture.
“The festival proved to be enormously popular in Milton Keynes last year, so we’re confident it’ll wow audiences here too.
“Alongside our usual must-visit Christmas events and activities, it’s definitely going to be an autumn and winter to remember here at Gulliver’s World.”
Land of Lights is arriving at Gulliver’s World in Warrington from 11 November, and will run right through to 25 February 2024 – with tickets now already on sale and prices starting from only £12, so it’s best to get booking early if you want to save a few pennies.