Wed 28 Jun 2023

Our next international festival Transform 23 unfolds across Leeds from 11–22 October 2023. Two years in the making – we’re gearing up to present epic spectacle on big stages, intimate encounters in unusual spaces – created by extraordinary artists from across the globe.

Our last edition was an extended, pandemic motivated edition which unfolded across autumn 2021 and spring 2022. Now we’re back to realising a more compact programme of performance, dance, club culture and encounters across two dynamic weekends this October. As the nights get longer and the moon gets brighter – we invite you to discover, connect and revel in bold performance created for the curious.

Transform 23 speaks to the continued complexity of our current moment, offering a space for reflection and respite. Exploring ideas of community, loss, nature and personal odysseys – Transform 23 will be a future gazing festival exploring how we might live differently. Our first festival as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, and a staple part of the LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture, Transform 23 brings together an amazing range of partners across the city – including some of the city’s most loved arts institutions, brand new venues and unusual spaces.

Ahead of our full programme reveal on Wednesday 26 July, we’re excited to announce two signature productions which will be presented with our partners Leeds Playhouse and that will both go on sale on Wednesday 5 July.

OH DEER! by Australian company APHIDS will run from Friday 13 – Saturday 14 October. Commissioned by RISING Melbourne and co-commissioned by Transform, OH DEER! plays with the orphan trope to explore the reality of losing a parent. Moving away from the idealised orphans of fairy tales to contemplate the reality of coping with bereavement, all with a nod and a wink, this bold and open-hearted production is being created with a cast from Melbourne and Leeds.

We are also thrilled to welcome the extraordinary ONE SONG by Belgian artist Miet Warlop to the festival from Thursday 19 – Friday 20 October. Co-presented with our friends Battersea Arts CentreONE SONG sees an ensemble of extraordinary performers take part in an exhilarating physical struggle, grappling with themes of life and death, hope and rebirth, in a spectacular performance on an epic scale. ONE SONG was featured in the New York Times’ round-up of the best theatre in Europe for 2022, and will mark a rarely seen presentation of Miet Warlop’s performance in the UK.

Led by exceptional international voices and speaking to universal themes of loss, grief and belonging through visionary performance – these two uncompromising shows will be presented at Leeds Playhouse as part of Transform 23. Signalling our commitment to financial access all tickets will continue to be Pay What You Can for this edition.

The full Transform 23 programme will be revealed on Wednesday 26 July. We are inviting friends, supporters, artists and audiences and anyone curious to know more, to join us at Sheaf Street from 6–9pm for our Launch Party. Expect music, food and dancing in the sunshine as we conjure up Transform 23 together and reveal everything that we have in store for you this October.

Book a free ticket here for our Launch Party on Wednesday 26 July, and get ready to be bold and curious across Transform 23 this October.

With love

Amy Letman
Creative Director