- The Stage - https://www.thestage.co.uk -

Appetite for arts booms in Hull under City of Culture banner

Slung Low's Flood Part Two: Abundance in Hull. Photo: Thomas Arran

Nine out of 10 Hull residents took part in cultural activity during the first three months of the UK City of Culture celebrations.

According to interim findings from a study being undertaken across the year by the University of Hull’s Culture, Place and Policy Institute, this is more than double the number of people participating before Hull acquired its UK City of Culture status.

The figures relate to the first of four seasons in the UK City of Culture programme, Made in Hull, which took place from January to March 2017.

Further figures released by Hull Truck Theatre show that 37,510 people saw a production there between January and June, which is an increase of 8,000 people on the same period in 2016. According to the theatre, 40% of these were new visitors.

City of Culture is also having an impact on the local economy, with hotel occupancy increasing by 13.8% in season one compared to the same period in 2016, and Hull Trains reported a 17% increase in train journeys during the first month of the year.

John Glen, minister for arts, heritage and tourism, said: “It is fantastic to see the huge benefits Hull is enjoying as UK City of Culture. That nine out of 10 residents have experienced one of the cultural events is truly remarkable and shows how the city is embracing this special year.

“Cultural investment can help transform communities and we are already seeing the positive impact it is having on people’s lives, local businesses and tourism in Hull. The renewed focus on culture in the city will also help secure a lasting legacy that goes far beyond 2017.”

Martin Green, director of Hull 2017, added: “We are thrilled that 90% of people living in the city have tried at least one cultural activity. Let’s not forget, this is just a snapshot – there is plenty more to come and we hope people will continue to try things out, not just this year, but beyond 2017.”

The chair of the UK City of Culture independent advisory panel, Phil Redmond, added that Hull had “raised the bar for whoever follows in 2021”.

Season three of the year-long programme, entitled Freedom, will begin in July.