80s Icons return to Leeds for open-air symphonic spectacular: Guest vocalists join the Orchestra of Opera North for the finale of 80s Classical on Millennium Square in 2019 credit Sarah Zagni

11 Aug 2021

80s Icons return to Leeds for open-air symphonic spectacular

Millennium Square Events

Icons of the 80s Jimmy Somerville, Nik Kershaw, Go West, Carol Decker and Yorkshire’s very own John Parr will be taking centre stage in front of a live audience once again at the rescheduled 80s Classical at Leeds Millennium Square on Friday 10 September 2021.

After a joyous reception for the sold out world premiere of the concert back in 2019, and following two enforced postponements due to COVID, the 60-piece Orchestra of Opera North returns to the outdoor venue in the heart of Leeds for another spectacular symphonic reboot of the chart-topping sounds of this momentous decade, joined in person by the original artists.

After wowing the crowds in 2019, Jimmy Somerville (of Bronski Beat and The Communards) will return to perform electrifying, orchestrally enhanced versions of some of his most iconic songs, including Never Can Say Goodbye, Don't Leave Me This Way and Smalltown Boy. “The first 80s Classical  was such a memorable evening, and after everything that we have all been through over the past two years I can’t wait to perform to a packed live audience in Millennium Square once again – it is going to be truly special”, says Jimmy.

Also returning from the 2019 edition to perform pure 80s gold is synth-pop superstar Nik Kershaw with a number of songs from his hit collection including Wouldn't It Be Good and I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me, and T’Pau singer and songwriter Carol Decker with her timeless classics Heart and Soul and China In Your Hand.

New to the 80s Classical family and performing with a live Orchestra for the very first time, Brit Award-winning duo Go West, made up of lead vocalist Peter Cox and rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist Richard Drummie, will be performing their hit single from the Pretty Woman soundtrack King of Wishful Thinking, together with other top ten smash hits including We Close Our Eyes.

Also making his debut with a live orchestra, Yorkshire’s ‘Man in Motion’ John Parr will be performing his world-wide famous hit title song to the cult 80s movie St Elmo’s Fire.

Completing the line-up is a talented ensemble of backing vocalists, Bianca Claxton, Gavin Condor and Adetoun Anibi, who will perform an array of crowd-pleasing 80s favourites including Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, Toto’s Africa and The Jacksons’ Can You Feel It, amongst many more. Liverpool-based club and 80s event specialist DJs Sonic Yootha will also help get the party started in the lead up to the main performances, and keep the crowd entertained during the interval.

The musical masterminds behind 80s Classical are composer and arranger Cliff Masterson and Musical Director Steve Anderson whose credits include Kylie Minogue, Emeli Sandé and Leona Lewis. “We’re absolutely thrilled to be back at Millennium Square for a second instalment of 80s Classical after what seems like a lifetime ago now” says Cliff. “We have all so dearly missed live music and to be able to work once again with such iconic singers and the amazing Orchestra of Opera North in front a live audience is going to be such a magical feeling and provide a night full of pure joy, drama and excitement” adds Steve.

Phil Boughton, Director of Orchestra and Chorus, Opera North, comments:

“Building on the success of our previous Millennium Square events, the first 80s Classical reached new heights. The atmosphere created by over 4,500 people – not to mention the talent and charisma of the pop icons who took the stage with us – made it one of the highlights of our year.

“After such a difficult year for us all we are thrilled, finally, to be returning to Millennium Square. Our ongoing relationship with the show’s producers and Leeds City Council gives Opera North the chance to showcase the incredible versatility of the Orchestra in this amazing venue, right in the heart of our home city.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “After such an incredibly tough year for music and live events, we’re thrilled to be welcoming people back to Millennium Square for what in the past has proved to be a hugely popular and exciting performance.

“We’re also incredibly proud to showcasing the remarkable talents of Opera North and to give people the opportunity to once again see first-hand the incredible quality of our city’s cultural and musical offering.”

Tickets for the event are priced at £33 (standing) or £39.50 for reserved seating (limited number) and are available to purchase now either online at www.millsqleeds.com, by telephone (0113 376 0318) or in person from the City Centre Box Office in Leeds Town Hall.

Doors for the event on Friday 10 September will open from 6.30pm, with DJs from 6.45pm and the main performances from 8.15pm. A licensed bar and several street food catering concessions will be available within the specially created outdoor arena. The venue is also fully accessible with a raised viewing platform, disabled toilets and a Changing Places unit. Full accessibility information and companion ticket details are available from the venue website or by calling the City Centre Box office.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus concerns and in the interests of protecting the safety and welfare of everyone attending, the event will take place with a reduced capacity and with additional cleansing and hygiene measures provided. In line with latest government guidance for large-scale events, all customers, performers, staff and contractors will also be required to present proof of their COVID-19 status, either through a negative NHS Lateral Flow Test result with 24hrs of the event, or proof of full vaccination or natural immunity before entering the venue. More detailed event information on how we are keeping people safe, together with additional ticketing, venue and visitor information, can be found at www.millsqleeds.com




For further information images and interview requests, please contact:


Stuart Robinson, Communications Officer

Stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk 0113 378 9182

Rowland Thomas, Press Officer, Opera North

rowland.thomas@operanorth.co.uk 07929 268 124



Friday 10 September 2021, doors 6.30pm, performance 8.15pm

80s Classical

Hit after hit of pure 80s gold, reworked into breath-taking orchestral versions and performed live in person by the original artists. Featuring Jimmy Somerville, Nik Kershaw, Go West, Carol Decker and John Parr with Opera North’s 60-piece orchestra, arranged and conducted by Cliff Masterson.

Hits include: Don’t Leave Me this Way, Never Can Say Goodbye, Wouldn’t it Be Good, I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me, We Close Our Eyes, King of Wishful Thinking, China in Your Hand and St Elmo’s Fire, plus many other 80s classics.

Millennium Square, Calverley Street, Leeds LS2 3AD

Tickets: £33.00 (standing) / £39.50 (seated)

Box office: 0113 376 0318
Online: www.millsqleeds.com

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team