The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller arrived in Leicester today to experience a small taste of what is hoping to score the city its UK City of Culture title in 2017.
With a wealth of culture and sport for the Culture Secretary to experience, it was a hard task to choose only two activities. However top of the agenda for the visit was experiencing the diversity of Leicester’s performing arts scene, and seeing the world-wide interest generated by the discovery of King Richard III.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby, “There is so much we could show her, with the extraordinary diversity of cultural activity that takes place in our schools, within our communities and across the city, and so many people we would like her to meet – but we’ve had to compress it all into a two-hour visit.”
The Secretary of State enjoyed a sneak preview of rehearsals for the community production of Sweeney Todd at Curve, before meeting the cast and some of the young people who are enjoying Curve’s Young Arts Entrepreneurs initiative. Whilst talking about the arts scene here the Secretary said “It’s a fantastic city which is hugely diverse and I think the investment here, particularly in the theatre, shows how you can breathe new life into the cultural quarter in a really innovative way.”
It was then that she headed to Leicester’s Guildhall to visit the Richard III exhibition before walking to the city council car park where the King’s remains were discovered and visiting the site of the permanent Richard III visitor centre on St Martin’s which is due to open Spring 2014.
After a swift but lively trip to the city, The Culture Secretary carried on her tour of Leicestershire with a visit to Loughborough University.
Ministers from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are visiting the four shortlisted cities for the title in 2017; a label Mrs Miller called “a real seal of achievement.” Once the visits have been completed each city will prepare and submit their final bid by the end of September before the winner is announced in November 2013.
For more information, and to find out how you can help back Leicester’s bid, visit www.leicestercityofculture2017.co.uk