SOME of the city’s most influential figures have backed plans to become the City of Culture 2021, saying it will ‘showcase Worcester to the world’.
It comes as members of Worcester City Council’s cabinet agreed to move forward with the bid at a meeting on Tuesday (April 15).
Council chiefs described it as an “ambitious proposal”, but if successful, Worcester will follow in the footsteps of current holders Derry-Londonderry and the 2017 UK City of Culture, Hull.
The news has also been welcomed by a number of prominent people in the city’s arts and music scene, including Chris Jaeger, chief executive at Worcester Live.
“This is a chance for the city to come together and to show itself off to the world,” he said. “The benefits of putting itself forward as the City of Culture 2021 will be felt in all areas of business and tourism, as well as the arts, and will benefit everybody.”
Ben Humphrey, who was speaking on behalf of the Worcester Festival, The Battle of Worcester Society and Elgar School of Music, hailed it as a “wonderful step forward” for the city.
“As well as being a geographical centre in the UK, Worcester is a thriving hub of cultural activity,” Mr Humphrey said.
“The city deserves recognition for its place and I am thrilled that the idea of Worcester as the City of Culture is being taken seriously.”
The Very Rev Peter Atkinson Dean of Worcester said he believed the title of City of Culture would attract more people to the city, while Rachael Savage, artistic director at the Vamos Theatre, said: “We have seen in previous years what a difference the City of Culture title has made to the artistic life of cities such as Liverpool and Londonderry – enhancing people’s quality of life and sense of community.
“It would be an opportunity for our city to celebrate and improve the visibility of all the fantastic work that goes on here, whilst promoting access to the arts for all.”
At the meeting, Coun Adrian Gregson, leader of Worcester City Council, said they would now work with cultural, artistic and business organisations to prepare the bid before its submitted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Coun Gregson added: “We will have to do some leg work first before we get to that point. But given our track record on various projects and our record within the city as an attractive and cultural place we do stand a real chance of making it a worthwhile bid.”