Morley Arts Festival 2016 set for success

Simon Armitage will be appearing at Morley Arts Festival this year. Picture Paul Wolfgang Webster.
Simon Armitage will be appearing at Morley Arts Festival this year. Picture Paul Wolfgang Webster.
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Crowds will be flocking to Morley Arts Festival’s 17-day programme when its gets underway next month.

Formerly known as Morley Literature Festival, organisers are building on the success of previous line-ups to expand into music, performance and art.

Starting on September 23, the 11th festival will welcome 70’s punk performance poet, John Cooper Clarke, with support from Toria Garbutt, renowned spoken word artist from Knottingley on September 24.

Workshops and productions will be hosted across numerous venues, including Morley Town Hall, Central Methodist Church and Morley Library.

Independent Leeds band, The Wedding Present, who, according to the legendary DJ John Peel, have written some of the finest love songs, will be closing the festival on October 8. This year retains its strong links to literature, with talks and masterclasses from award-winning poet and author, Simon Armitage on September 25.

And there will be an invitation for contributions to social history in a creative writing workshop, inspired by Morley’s Victorian social reformer, Alice Cliff Scatcherd, on October 4.

There will be afternoon tea and an accompanying chocolate themed lecture from TV’s Dr Annie Gray on October 2, who says attendees can expect “luxury, scurrilousness and tips to take home.”

Children aged between 18 months and six years old can take their teddy bears to Northern Ballet’s interactive Goldilocks workshop, which is based on creative play and movement on the October 8.

Festival Director Ella Wild says, “We’re delighted to be bringing leading names from literature and music to Morley.

“With something for everyone - we hope this will be our biggest festival yet.”

On September 8, Watercolour artist Ashley Jackson will be in conversation about his paintings of the Yorkshire Moors - the ticket also includes a serving of pea and pies.

In October, the UK’s biggest selling female historian, Alison Weir, will be discussing her latest novel on Katherine of Aragon.

Morley’s Community Choir are also inviting people to spend an afternoon learning the songs from Joseph the Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Musicians Roger Davies and O’Hooley and Tidow perform on separate nights to bring some folk to the festival.

There will be an introduction to the special collections of Leeds Library on October 8.

A full programme of events and tickets are available online.

More events to be announced.