Jeremy Hunt orders report into biennial arts festival

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has commissioned a report to look into creating a major London arts festival to be held every two years.

In a speech made today at the Tate Modern art gallery, which paid tribute to the Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad programme and highlighted the need to build on their success, Hunt said he has ordered a report on how a future festival might operate.

Tony Hall, chair of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board, and Ruth Mackenzie, director of the London Festival 2012, will produce the report, he said.

“One promising idea is to have a London Biennale – a biennial London or UK-wide arts festival to celebrate the best of what we have to offer culturally. I have therefore asked [Hall and Mackenzie] to do a report for me on the feasibility of such a festival, how much it would cost and how it should be delivered,” said Hunt.

He emphasised the importance of attracting more tourists to the UK in the future by capitalising on the success of London’s cultural offerings showcased during the Olympics.

By “binding” the cultural and tourism industries more closely, Hunt said the UK can continue to develop a reputation as the cultural capital of the world.

“Whatever the doomsters may say about the economy, we should be proud that our cultural and tourism sectors are investing in the future with optimism, confidence and panache,” he added.

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The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, London. Photo: Noel Foster