Hull named as UK City of Culture 2017
The east coast English city beat off competition from Leicester, Swansea Bay and Dundee
After months of speculation and following some fervent bidding last week, Hull has been named UK City of Culture for 2017, fending off stiff competition from rival cities, Dundee, Leicester and Swansea Bay. Hull will follow Derry-Londonderry, which is currently enjoying the title with a jam-packed year of events.
Each of the bids brought considerable cultural clout to the table, with Scottish hope Dundee shaking off the shackles of its ‘jam, jute and journalism’ moniker of old and promising a £25m programme boasting outdoor concerts, landmark exhibitions, cutting edge street theatre and creative contributions from many of the country’s leading talents and organisations – as well as a proposal to host the Turner Prize and the Booker Prize, plus a mammoth celebration of comics.
Leicester’s bid was similarly rich with a three-day production of Richard III, complete with mammoth cast, named as just one of 145, largely free, events being imagined as part of the celebrations. Radio 1 Big Weekend and Proms in the Park would also feature as part of their programme, which would see local Leicester landmarks such as the Cathedral, the National Space Centre and Curve all being used as part of the celebrations.
Swansea Bay (covering Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire) has shown there is much more to Wales than its more famous capital, Cardiff. With Doctor Who producer and writer Russell T Davies and actor Michael Sheen lending their voices to the bid, organisers have revealed hopes for a festival for unsigned songwriters and a history lab, as part of their year of culture, as well as 12 new productions for Swansea’s Grand Theatre, a Celtic music festival, dance events, and a comedy festival.
But fellow bidder, east coast city Hull proved triumphant pitching a line-up, which includes 25 festivals – with popular events like Hull Jazz Festival, Hull Fashion Week and the Humber Mouth Literature Festival lining up beside new cultural festivals, showcasing the city’s architecture, commissioning international artists, celebrating national drama and much more.