New Briggate's hidden histories showcased at Light Night

Two installations inspired by New Briggate’s hidden histories illuminated St John’s Churchyard and 42 New Briggate for this year’s Light Night.

As part of our Hidden Histories of New Briggate project, our commissioned artists Yaku Stapleton and Harry Clayton-Wright gave a glimpse into the fascinating past of the iconic Leeds street with two illuminated artworks, as part of the city’s two-day Light Night spectacular (12 & 13 Oct).

For his work, artist and fashion designer Yaku Stapleton has taken inspiration from the long history of clothing, textile production and tailoring on New Briggate and beyond. Over the past year, he has worked with young people from Leeds to develop characters that time travel to different eras of clothing on New Briggate. The resulting costume collages and plasticine sculptures were 3D-scanned to create augmented reality characters. For Light Night, powered and projected by artist Dan Fox’s imaginative Boom Bikes, Yaku’s characters were live-animated to move around the walls of St John’s Church and the churchyard, creating a playful and interactive experience.

Around the corner, performance artist, writer and radical creator Harry Clayton-Wright’s neon A Light at the Plaza sat in the window of 42 New Briggate, next to Opera North’s eclectic venue the Howard Assembly Room. From the late-fifties to the mid-eighties, the Howard Assembly Room was the home of The Plaza, which was said to be Leeds’ first adult cinema. Harry’s illuminated artwork is his playful response to this less-reputable heritage; responding to memories of the cinema and its original, vibrant neon signage. 

Want to see more of Yaku’s and Harry’s explorations into these interesting pasts? Join Harry for A Night at the Plaza at Howard Assembly Room on Weds 22 November, and visit Yaku’s Envisaging New Briggate’s Tomorrow exhibition at 42 New Briggate, 7-9 December.


The Light Night installations were produced as part of our Hidden Histories of New Briggate project, which is supported and funded by Leeds City Council and Historic England. The project is all about bringing people together, through art, to explore the culture and heritage of the historic high street, New Briggate. Hidden Histories of New Briggate is part of the country-wide High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) initiative.

Related posts