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Audiences at Hull theatres and performance venues boosted by a third during city of culture

The success of Hull's City of Culture has inspired the investment in creative and cultural activities The success of Hull's City of Culture has inspired the investment in creative and cultural activities
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Theatres and performance venues in Hull saw a 30% increase in audiences last year, thanks to the city’s year as UK City of Culture.

Hull Truck Theatre alone saw a 22% increase in visitors, from around 69,000 in 2016 to more than 88,000 in 2017.

More than five million people attended a Hull UK City of Culture event in total, with 95% of local residents engaging in at least one activity, it has been revealed.

These are the findings of an evaluation into the impacts of the UK City of Culture programme on Hull, which held the year-long event throughout 2017.

It had been estimated that around 90% of Hull residents took part in at least one activity during the first three months of the programme, which increased to 95% when the full year was analysed.

Appetite for arts booms in Hull under City of Culture banner

In total 5.3 million people attended more than 2,800 events across the year, which included theatre, dance, music, film and visual art.

More than 60% of ticket-buying audiences were first-time bookers, and the city’s major theatres and other performance venues saw an uptick in ticket sales of 30%.

Other findings from the evaluation, undertaken by the University of Hull, include:

  • An estimated 1.3 million more people visited the city in 2017 than in 2013, when Hull bid for the City of Culture title.
  • 465 new commissions were created, against an initial ambition of 60.
  • The age profile of audiences shows high representation of people aged 55-64 but an under-representation of audiences aged between 16 and 34.
  • Nine out of 10 cultural organisations said the support they had received on the back of UK City of Culture had enabled them to try something new that they would not have otherwise done.
  • 87% of cultural organisations felt optimistic about the future development and capacity of the local arts sector.
  • The projected value of tourism in 2017 is on track to contribute more than £300 million to the economy.

In September last year it was announced that the company set up to deliver Hull UK City of Culture would continue as a permanent arts organisation, called Culture Company.

Culture Company’s creative director Katy Fuller said the evaluation showed that “Hull being UK City of Culture touched the lives of almost everyone living here and across the country”.

“That it had an impact on the bottom line is fantastic, but most important is how it has empowered people, as audiences, participants and artist. It offered unparalleled opportunities for artists to take risks, try new things and flex their creativity due to the huge number of new commissions,” she said.

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