Get our free email newsletter with just one click

UK cities submit bids to be 2023 European Capital of Culture – despite Brexit

Leeds Town Hall – the city's bid for European Capital of Culture 2023 includes a promise to increase arts attendance in its most disadvantaged areas
by -

Five cities in the UK have put themselves forward to become European Capital of Culture 2023, even though Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union before then.

Dundee, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Nottingham, Belfast and Derry have all submitted their final bids for the competition.

Although the UK will no longer be a member of the EU in 2023, the government said it was “committed” to hosting the event once again.

Whether the 2023 ECOC title can be held by a UK city will be dependent on the outcome of Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The competition has been hosted by the UK only twice before, first in 1990, when the title was held by Glasgow, and in Liverpool in 2008.

Leeds’ bid includes a promise to increase arts attendance in its most disadvantaged areas as well as extending its two-day-long Light Night Leeds festival, while Nottingham put forward a bid including two flagship programmes, one of which will invite local communities to work with European artists.

The successful city will receive increased investment, which the government promises will lead to a better local economy and new jobs in the area.

The UK winner will also share the title with a Hungarian city, and will be judged by a cross-EU panel of cultural experts.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.