Maxine Peake will pen a play based on Beryl Burton
Maxine Peake will pen a play based on Beryl Burton
© Dan Wooller

The inaugural cross-arts Yorkshire Festival is being staged this year to mark the ‘grand depart' of the Tour De France, which takes place in the county on 5 and 6 July 2014.

The programme of events for the £2million Festival includes art, dance, theatre and film, and will take place in the 100 days leading up to the start of the Tour, beginning on 27 March.

Speaking to WhatsOnStage, executive producer Henrietta Duckworth said: "It's the first ever culture festival to accompany the Tour de France, in its 111-year history. Together with our partners and sponsors, we've created a festival of new commissions, showcasing the work of Yorkshire."

Highlights include a new play from leading actor Maxine Peake at West Yorkshire Playhouse centring on the life of Morley cyclist Beryl Burton (30 June to 19 July), and Sheffield Theatres' dance adaptation of Kes (27 March-5 April).

Elsewhere, a "vast Peleton" of LED-lit cyclists will parade through Leeds, where the tour begins, choreographed by Phoenix Dance Theatre, and there will as exhibitions of work by Yorkshire artists including David Hockney and Thomas Houseago.

Participants in the festival were chosen based on an open commission process that started last September. Over 400 bids were submitted, with 47 projects being chosen to be part of the official festival.

Duckworth said: "The Festival's going to put a spotlight on Yorkshire and hopefully create a new perception of Yorkshire as a cultural heartland. It's an opportunity to showcase the work of the region to a national and international audience. And, as with the Cultural Olympiad, people's involvement in the activities will be absolutely central."

For further information about the Yorkshire Festival, visit letour.yorkshire.com