The Year of the Pig visits Leicester city centre for a cultural celebration

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By Alexandra Smith

Cosmopolitan Arts Celebrations will be celebrating the Chinese new year at the New Walk Museum in Leicester with a host of activities and workshops tomorrow (SatFeb9).

There will be traditional Chinese dance, martial arts and live Chinese music along with a lion and dragon dance workshop, taking place between 11am and 4pm.

Paralympian Julie Rogers, who has Chinese heritage, explains the importance of this tradition and how the athlete and her family celebrate the holiday.

Miss Rogers said: “As a person of mixed heritage, I really value the Chinese side of my culture. I love celebrating the Lunar New Year and all my family coming together to eat good food and gift red pocket to the kids!”

She added: “It’s a good time, after the happiness of Christmas and new year has died down, like a start of new year again.”

Following on from the day-time activities, there will be a spectacular light and laser performance in the Market Square at 5.20pm.

Celebrations for the Chinese new year originate from the Shang Dynasty year end religious ceremony.

The day of celebration at the New Walk Museum is the perfect way for people to engage in the rich Chinese culture and discover more about those in the local community.

 

The UK Pun Championships return to Leicester’s comedy festival

By Jacob Moseley

With applications for Monday’s (FEB11) UK Pun Championships now closed, contestants are preparing for a testing battle of wit and speed in front of a large audience.

The event has sold out for the past four years, with 2018’s winner, Robert Thomas, described by The Evening Standard as: “The sharpest, smartest routine of the night.”

In a boxing ring surrounded by an audience in De Montfort Hall, contestants will perform a rap battle.

Joe Smith is one of the lucky audience members who is hoping to hear some “ruthless rhymes” as he described it.

De Montfort Hall

Classic venue: De Montfort Hall promises to host a linguistic sparring match

Joe said: “I am looking forward to hearing the talent on show in De Montfort Hall, I heard last year’s comedians were really good.

“I haven’t been to many comedy festivals but I’ve heard that Leicester’s is meant to be quite renowned for having a lot of talented comedians.”

The competitors will be judged by the level of applause or boos they receive from the crowd, with the winner going to the next round until there are two finalists remaining.

De Montfort Hall sign

Busy schedule: De Montfort Hall

Joe warned comedians: “I’m going to boo if I don’t think it’s funny, you have to be honest, I think that’s all part of the fun.”

De Montfort Hall played host to leading Bristol comedian Edd Hedges who captivated audiences in yesterday’s show.

Joe said: “I think comedy is a very important part of society and I think comedians should be given more praise for what they do.”

For more information on the upcoming Pun Championships contact alex@bigdifferencecompany.co.uk or visit the UK Pun Championships website.

 

A cultural extravaganza – Cosmopolitan Arts to keep Leicester alight for Chinese New Year

By Perry Johnson

The Leicester nightscape is set to be illuminated this Saturday as Cosmopolitan Arts continues the city’s Chinese New Year celebrations with multiple free events – including a light show.

The team will be kicking off the festivities with a cultural celebration from 11am to 5pm at the New Walk Museum, which is set to include performances by traditional dancers, martial artists and Chinese band Euphoria.

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Happy New Year! Leicester celebrates the Chinese New Year

Following this, a large-scale light show will be held from 5.20pm to 6pm at the New Market Square which will include an original dance produced by Cosmopolitan Arts especially for the event.

Alongside dances in the city centre and a festive lantern display at the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower, the company hopes that these free events will bring Leicester’s diverse communities together.

Cosmopolitan Arts said: “What we aim for with large-scale art based events like these is to break down cultural barriers and bring different communities together through a mutual love for the arts.”

Alongside their larger events, the company also provides community based multi-arts tuition throughout the year in fields such as photography, dance and creative writing.

Cosmopolitan Arts continued: “We organise a variety of arts-based workshops and commission work from individual artists or groups. We want to connect more people with the arts and make a positive difference in the community while doing so.”

The company, formerly known as Kaleidoscope Arts, has already got several successful arts-based events under their belt – including their ‘Youth Arts Project’ and the annual Cosmopolitan Carnival.

For more information about Cosmopolitan Arts and their upcoming Chinese New Year festive celebrations this Saturday visit: https://cosmopolitanarts.wordpress.com

Underground fault leaves Leicester residents without water for more than 24 hours

By Callum Faulds

Residents in two Leicester streets were without water for more than 24 hours after an underground electrical fault.

Buildings along both Grange Lane and Oxford Street in Leicester were affected, as well as Evans Student Living flats, leaving many students without water.

Westmanor Student Living was informed that the services would either be off or interrupted from 4pm onwards on Friday, January 25.

However, Westmanor employees were not aware that it would cause interruptions for the whole weekend, a problem only noticed when they turned up on the Monday morning with no power.

Some students went more than 24 hours without their water working.

Rachael Pengelly, a third year student at De Montfort University, and resident of Evans, said: “It was really inconvenient. I couldn’t have a glass of water when I needed one, have a wash, or use the toilet.

Ms Pengelly continued: “It was a really annoying 24 hours.”

Following the arrival of the Westmanor employees on Monday morning, a meeting was held with Western Power and the landlord.

It was reported there had been an underground fault with electrical cabling causing power surges and then a small explosion.

This caused automatic safety systems to shut down, including all services in Grange Lane and some buildings along Oxford Street.

Although Westmanor staff were absent during the weekend, the landlord, Western Power, Regent Security, and a number of other teams were on site and worked tirelessly to rectify the issues.

Residents in Grange Lane were later assured that all buildings are completely safe and that there is no need for any concern.

DMU art exhibition to support aspiring artists

By Barbara Uzoigwe

Aspiring artist and Arts Ambassador, Brendan Neiland, unveiled his newest exhibition ‘Surface Tensions’ last Friday (1st Feb) at The Gallery in De Montfort University (DMU), which aims to provide work for new graduates.

art

The launch was designed to help support the De Montfort University Art Network, which helps to highlight and solve one of the biggest issues in the art industry – the number of artists who are unable to transition successfully from students to being professional artists.

The Art Network aims to bring together current students, alumni, friends of the university and the local art community to help young artists gain easier access to financial, or technical resources that are required in order to stand out and be successful in the ever-changing art industry.

Mr Neiland, who is also the Ambassador for the Art Network, said: “If you’re going to succeed in art, you’ve got to have dedication and give your life to it.”

The Art Network will help promote De Montfort University’s aspiring artists across the Leicestershire area and the national art community, through running exhibitions for these artists so they may network with successful curators, buyers and other award winning artists currently working in the field.

The event also introduced the Aspiring Artist Fund which is due to become a vital part of the Art Network.

The fund will provide support to a selected number of recently graduated students, to support them in the purchase of materials to develop their portfolio and to help fund their future projects.

Mr Neiland has contributed more than just his time as Arts Ambassador to the programme, by putting two of his art pieces from the exhibition up for auction, with the proceeds going back into the Aspiring Art Fund as a donation.

His advice to all aspiring artists is to “Be honest, be dedicated, believe in yourself and put yourself in the right place at the right time.”

This will not be the only art exhibit hosted by DMU Art Network which is hoping to host more regular exhibitions around the country to display various artwork from aspiring artists and their completed portfolios.

If you are a current student interested in applying, or are interested in donating to the Aspiring Artist Fund; visit dmu-alumni.myshopify.com/ or email dmuforlife@dmu.ac.uk.