Headline performance to mark the start of Our Year 2024 announced

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Wakefield poet Ben Taylor will be the headline act at the launch event of Our Year – Wakefield District 2024.

Ben, who is also known as Yorkshire Prose, has written a new poem celebrating the district’s unique identity and heritage and you are welcome to see him read it for the first time at Wakefield Cathedral on Saturday 13 January.

Residents from across the district have contributed to Ben’s latest poem, which features popular Wakefield locations that are a favourite of so many, from Yorkshire Sculpture Park to the infamous Pie Shop. 

It also captures aspects of the district’s heritage, including its Roman connections, coal mining history, and the character of the district in his renowned dialect verse.

“We’re so excited to unveil Ben’s poem at the beautiful Wakefield Cathedral and will be sharing it far and wide to celebrate the official start of Our Year 2024.

“Our ultimate aim for Our Year is for people to be inspired and we hope people across the district and wider will come along to join us on 13 January for the start of this exciting journey.”

Cllr Michelle Collins

Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, and Sport

Cllr Michelle Collins

Ben has brought his recognisable poetry style to numerous projects including a Remembrance Day poem for the Royal British Legion, as well as collaborations with brands including Yorkshire brewery, TandR Theakston.  
On the Our Year collaboration he said: “It’s a real honour to be performing at the launch of Our Year 2024 with a poem celebrating my hometown. I’m so proud to be from a place which has so much to offer from art and history to food and sport.

Ben Taylor sat in a chair by an open fire reading a book and cuddling a small dog

“For me, it’s the people who create Wakefield’s unique character and charm, and I hope that shines through in the poem. By coming together for celebrations like Our Year, we can meet new people, learn new skills, share our local pride, and give the Wakefield district the time to shine that it deserves.”

As well as this headline performance, the 24 in 24 launch event features 23 other exciting free activities and experiences across the district which take place throughout the day.

There is something for everyone, including an Open Learning Disability Rugby League session at Featherstone Rovers, a Zumba class at Thornes Park Stadium, a demo at Neon Workshops, and a curated tour of the Martyn Pitt photography exhibition at the National Coal Mining Museum.

Cllr Collins added: “The 24 in 24 events will be a taste of what’s to come throughout Our Year’s 366-day programme and the day will feature 24 free events spanning walks, exhibitions, and interactive workshops.” 
Between 1pm and 3pm on Saturday 13 January, Wakefield Cathedral will offer a range of interactive activities including print your own tote bags, craft activities and free face painting for guests to get involved in. 
Alongside this there will be introductions from Councillor Michelle Collins, before the much-anticipated unveiling of the Yorkshire Prose poem at 2pm. 
A full list of the 24 in 24 events on offer is available on the Experience Wakefield website with early booking recommended for events with limited spaces, however booking is not required for the headline cathedral performance.

To find out more about the full Our Year programme head to ouryear2024.co.uk or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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