A huge weekend of music, theatre and sports events has showcased Stoke-on-Trent’s credentials as a major national cultural destination.
Activities across the city over the weekend saw 32,000 people attend Premier League and FA Cup football matches, more than 3,000 revellers dance the night away at all-nighters, and hundreds of people attend theatre shows.
The events saw Stoke City and Port Vale play at home on the same day for the first time since 1982. Stoke town staged two major music events on Saturday night (2 December) with 2,500 people attending a sell-out rave in the iconic former Spode pottery. Hundreds of people kept up the tradition of Stoke-on-Trent being a birthplace for the Northern Soul movement by dancing the night away at an all-nighter in the King’s Hall.
Theatre-goers also saw smash-hit musical The Band – featuring the music of Take That, and the city’s very own Robbie Williams – at The Regent Theatre, while crowds flocked to the country’s first theatre in the round – the New Victoria Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme – to watch Treasure Island.
City museums also took the limelight over the weekend. The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery launched an acclaimed exhibition of the hit ITV show Victoria, and Etruria Industrial Museum won a coveted IMechE award, which celebrates engineering heritage – the museum is home of Jesse Shirley’s 1857 Bone and Flint Mill, the only remaining operational steam driven potters’ mill in the world.
Now city leaders say that the range and scale of the events demonstrates that Stoke-on-Trent has the ability to deliver major cultural programmes.
Councillor Abi Brown, who is leading Stoke-on-Trent’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, said: “We find out this week if Stoke-on-Trent will be named the UK City of Culture in 2021, and the weekend activities showcase our city’s rich and diverse cultural offer.
“It is fabulous to see so many people coming to Stoke-on-Trent as a major destination for cultural activities.”
Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “Staging a rave in a former 18th century pottery shows new and engaging ways of bring our city’s heritage to life. Not so long ago, the Spode site was redundant and decaying after the pottery went into administration. But now it is a site brimming with innovation and creativity, with a museum, artists’ studios, a café and advanced plans for further developments. It is a sign of how heritage and culture is transforming our city.”
Councillor Anthony Munday, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “We have fantastic facilities and destinations in the city, enjoyed by many thousands of people every week.
“The big weekend of activities shows we have the infrastructure and capability to stage and deliver a wide range of major cultural activities.”
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