Headingley Stadium hosted The Awakening on Saturday, 7 January, the opening event in a year-long series of hundreds as part of the Leeds 2023 celebration highlighting the city and its culture.

Leeds 2023 is being overseen by Leeds Culture Trust, an independent charity set up in 2019 by Leeds City Council as part of its Culture Strategy and as a response to the cancellation of the UK’s participation in the European Capital of Culture competition.

Hosted by TV presenter and Leeds 2023 chair Gabby Logan, alongside BBC radio’s Sanchez Payne, The Awakenings saw performances by artists including Corinne Bailey Rae, Simon Armitage and LYR, and The Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North in front of an audience of 15,000.

Forthcoming activity will include a special edition of the Leeds Literature Festival, and The Magician ­– a road movie set in a dystopian Leeds created by James Phillips in partnership with Leeds People’s Theatre. Other highlights include WOW – The Barn – a new temporary structure built by 300 women and non-binary people to host the first WOW – Women of the World Festival.

It will also see Leeds Sauce, a series of events across the city created for Compass Festival by the Popeye Collective to celebrate the city’s food culture, while the Leeds Playhouse will be taken over for two weeks to host 1001 Stories; a collection of new artistic works based on the shared tales of the city’s over 60s.

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said, “We know that our creative talent rivals anywhere in the country, and Leeds 2023 will give people a fantastic opportunity to express themselves, all while boosting our local economy.

“It’s important that we’re also empowering women and girls across our region, giving them the tools to get into work or change careers with boot camps to share and learn construction skills.”