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Joanna Reid on How City of Culture Could Benefit Coventry

Posted on 7 July 2017

Coventry’s people would be the biggest winner if the city lands the UK City of Culture 2021 prize, according to the Executive Director of the Belgrade Theatre.

Hull – the present title holder – has just revealed figures that show the benefits it brought in the first three months of the year and Joanna Reid, Executive Director of the Belgrade, says they are a ‘real eye-opener’ for bidding cities.

The Hull statistics showed that nine in ten residents have attended or experienced a cultural event or activity as part of the UK’s City of Culture.

They also revealed that there have been more than 1.4m visits to cultural events, exhibitions or activities as part of the first season of Hull UK City of Culture activity while hotel occupancy is up by 14 per cent.

And they also highlighted that 70 per cent of residents agree or strongly agree that being UK City of Culture is having a positive impact on the lives of local people.

Joanna said that while venues and organisations such as the Belgrade would enjoy benefits from Coventry being crowned UK City of Culture, the biggest positive impact would be on residents right across the city.

She said, “The Belgrade has been backing this bid since it began – arts and culture are hugely important for the well-being of a city and while we are very proud of what the Belgrade and others in Coventry already offer, we feel there is so much more that we could all do given the resources.”

“Being UK City of Culture would be a great way of putting the spotlight on Coventry, helping to tell our story locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, and that would undoubtedly bring additional visitors and income to the local economy.”

“That, in turn, helps to make what we are offering even stronger – which benefits the Belgrade, our audiences and the people of the city.”

“Hull is a real eye-opener for everybody. We all know from the great media coverage, which is worth around £10million in the first three months, that Hull is making a real success of City of Culture but these new figures really serve to highlight the tangible benefits.”

“From a theatre point of view, it’s very interesting to note that 38 per cent of people booking for The Hypocrite at Hull Truck Theatre were new audiences – which would bode very well for the Belgrade Theatre should Coventry be successful.”

“And what’s clear to me is that while being City of Culture is good for the economy and for arts and culture, it’s absolutely wonderful for people living in the city.”

“In Hull, more of them are engaging with arts and culture, they feel better about the city they live in and have a renewed sense of pride.”

“That, to me, is what is at the heart of Coventry’s bid – our people. We have great diversity in our communities and we have a young population, compared to the national average and the bid looks to celebrate this.”

“This is where Coventry being UK City of Culture in 2021 would have a lasting, positive impact, and that’s why we are all so determined to win.”

Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, and Coventry University are Principal Partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, CEF (City Electrical Factors) and Listers are also Bid Development Sponsors.

To show your support for Coventry’s bid on social media, go to @Coventry2021 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, visit www.coventry2021.co.uk

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RT @JustineThemen: Catch @StrictlyArts @BelgradeTheatre 27-30 sept - a company with a fire in their belly . . . https://t.co/EmPVc7fKX6

Sep 19, 2017, 5:14 pm