A Tour de force of culture

Beach'From Bike Show, The Gallery@Barnsley Civic 'Yorkshire Festival 2014
Beach'From Bike Show, The Gallery@Barnsley Civic 'Yorkshire Festival 2014

Details were announced this week of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, the first arts festival to precede the Tour de France, which will run over 100 days from March 27 to the the weekend when the world’s biggest annual sporting event starts in God’s Own County.

Events in store range from bell-ringing along the Tour route to a woolly bike trail, from opera (Wagner’s Ring Cycle, naturally) to testing how many cyclists can pull a grand piano up a challenging ascent to musical accompaniment.

Sheffield’s share includes a Festival of Colour Light and Space in the centenary year of Sheffield Cathedral, involving a spectacular Colourscape arts installation on the forecourt while Site Gallery will show Dust, two interactive installations by the Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung.

The Sheffield Steel Peloton will see iron ore extracted from the ground (for the first time in hundreds of years), smelted and sculpted to produce a specially-designed bike head post badge .

Yorkshire in Yellow will invite artists to design T-shirts in homage to the Tour’s famous yellow jersey for a show at the Millennium Gallery.

The previously-announced world première of a new dance-theatre adaptation of Kes at the Crucible Theatre is also part of the festival instigated by Welcome to Yorkshire with backing from Yorkshire Water, Arts Council England and Yorkshire local authorities. Out of almost 400 bids, 47 projects were commissioned for the programme which will also include hundreds of fringe events.

Among the major projects, Yorkshire-born Los Angeles-based sculptor Thomas Houseago will create two giant sculptures for Leeds city centre and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park while Phoenix Dance Theatre will stage the world’s first Ghost Peloton in downtown Leeds , involving 50 road racers, stunt cyclists and dancers all utilising unique remote controlled light suits,

In Tour de Cinema programmed by Sheffield Doc/Fest director Daisy Asquith teams up with cult musician Bill Nelson to create a new film as part of a series of screenings to be shown at 10 outdoor locations across Yorkshire. Other films, including Alan Bennett’s BBC play, A Day Out, about a cycling club and Jarvis Cocker’s The Big Melt will also be seen in 35 local town halls and city centre big screens.

Young farmers and artists will create eight major land art pieces across the South Pennines for Fields of Vision capturing the spirit and impact of the tour on the landscape of Yorkshire . Barnsley Civic will host the Bike Show, an exhibition exploring the culture of cycling.

Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure said: “It’s a great platform to highlight the wide diversity of Yorkshire’s cultural mix and the amazing range of artistic talent particularly in Sheffield.”