The Gifting
22 to 31 Dec
Magic, music, theatre and dance come together in The Gifting, the final event from LEEDS 2023.
A star filled skyscape with a hand holding a jar in the air. The jar is releasing light into the sky.

About the project

The directors that brought you our opening ceremony - The Awakening - invite you to a very special closing show, The Gifting. With original music by Rash Dash, and design by Keith Khan, this is a rare theatre experience.

Drawing from the magic of the darker winter nights and the dawning of a new year. The Gifting is a story-telling ceremony in which the past collides with the present and welcomes in the future.

Gather outside Leeds' very own film studios, Versa Studios in Holbeck. Put on headphones and enter into a surprising world to experience 12 stories inspired by the Year of Culture. A final event that promises beauty, joy and hope in equal measure.

You won't want to miss it!

Join us at The Gifting

A star filled skyscape with a hand holding a jar in the air. The jar is releasing light into the sky.
Fri 22 to Sun 31 Dec

Versa Leeds Studios

A unique event with beauty, song and stories at its heart. Something special and unforgettable to end the year. Gather outside Leeds’ very own movie studios - Versa Studios in Holbeck, put on headphones and enter the large, cavernous space to experience twelve individual stories inspired by the Year of Culture told through performance, dance, song and illusion. You’ll be guided on this journey by Khorin Khorin Gurav; an experience which will live long in the memory.   

We cannot wait to see you there.

Child holding stick with purple flame
An interview with Alan Lane, co-director of The Gifting

Alan Lane, co-director of The Gifting and Artistic Director of Slung Low appeared on Sanchez Payne's show on BBC Radio Leeds on 5 October to discuss The Gifting.

You can read the transcript and find our more about The Gifting now.

Book cover with northen dreaming on it and a child in the clouds jumping from book to book
Northern Dreaming

The Gifting is, in part, inspired by Northern Dreaming. Northern Dreaming is a free book published by LEEDS 2023 and the British Library that will be gifted to every child in Leeds born in 2023. The book is a collection of poetry and stories by 18 early career and published writers. The book is available to collect, for free, from various locations in Leeds, including from all Leeds libraries.

The story so far...

As our final celebration of this wonderful year it feels like an appropriate time to look back on 2023.

    A wide angle view of the crowd at The Awakening looking up at the giant
    Flashback to where we started things
    From the creative team that brought you The Awakening

    Rediscover January in Headingley Stadium by reading all about our premiere event, The Awakening.

    Young children pose on arch

    LEEDS 2023 is a Year of Culture like no other, discover more about the year. Take a look back at the year so far.

    Dreaming in neon text above the clock in kirkgate market striking 11pm
    1 September - 31 December

    This is the final season in our year-long act of epic storytelling for the city from Awakening, Playing and now to Dreaming. As the winter approaches, and summer comes to a close we look to the future and encourage you to continue to let your imaginations fly and dream.


The Gifting will be co-directed by Kully Thiarai and Alan Lane and co-produced by LEEDS 2023, Slung Low and The British Library. 

Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.

Co-produced by

Leeds 2023 Logo
'British Library' logo
Slung Low

Supported by

Heritage Fund

Discover more behind the scenes stories

    Girl hulahoops outside The WOW Barn
    The WOW Barn
    Apr - May

    What happens when you raise a barn, then fill it to the rafters with hopes for the future?

    Following a spectacular 24 hour build by 300 women, girls and non-binary people, The WOW Barn was a place to enjoy activities, gatherings and inspired by this dream of an equitable world; a world in which all women, girls and non-binary people have the space, time, support and permission to live their dreams.

    Two children look up at the screen
    Children's Day: Reimagined

    Children’s Day: Reimagined was a free, family-friendly event in Roundhay Park, celebrating the children of Leeds.  

    Inspired by the Children’s Day event of the past and boldly reimagined for the future, it imagined what the world would look like if children were in charge.

    illustration of a child skipping across some  stepping stones in the sky made of books
    Northern Dreaming
    Sept onwards

    LEEDS 2023 and the British Library have come together to gift a collection of stories to babies born in 2023. 

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