The title of Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture has been officially handed on to St Helens during a special event held at the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot.
At the event, Cllr Graham Morgan Leader of Knowsley Council presented Cllr David Baines, Leader of St Helens Council with the Borough of Culture sculpture, created by artist Emma Rogers.
Assembled guests from across the city region heard from both leaders as well as Mayor Steve Rotheram and Sir Phil Redmond, who co-chairs the Liverpool City Region Cultural Partnership.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:
“2022 has been a special year for our Borough of Culture programme. Knowsley put on an incredible series of events – from the Owl and Pussycat trail, a mass-vow renewal and the 10-day musical and cultural spectacular that was the Knowsley Music Festival.
“To top it all off, there was the opening of the eagerly-awaited Shakespeare North Playhouse, which was made possible with £10.5m from the Combined Authority. The theatre adds another gem to our cultural crown and is a fitting venue to hand over to next year’s host, St Helens.
“They will have a hard act to follow but I know that David and the team have big ambitions for 2023. What I love about Borough of Culture is the way it empowers local areas to showcase their own unique blend of creativity and culture, which all contributes to our wider region’s vibrancy. We aren’t the UK’s cultural capital for nothing!”
The theme of Knowsley’s year as Borough of Culture was storytelling and for the last 12 months there has been a jam-packed programmes of events, activities and celebrations sharing the many stories about the borough.
The year started with New Dawn, a series of spectacular light installations which put Knowsley in the spotlight, Gaia, the 6-metre-wide replica of the earth landed in Kirkby, the Owl and Pussycat trail captured the attention of hundreds of visitors and Shakespeare North Playhouse welcomed thousands of visitors through its doors on its opening weekend. There’s been sporting events, village parades, huge land art, world class art exhibitions, a sporting relay, a music festival and so much more!
Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said:
“We had big plans for Knowsley’s year as Borough of Culture and I am proud to say that we really did deliver on those plans – and so much more!
“We’ve had the most amazing year telling Knowsley’s story, from community activity to large scale events, there was something for everyone of every age to enjoy. And not just for Knowsley residents but for everyone in the Liverpool City Region and beyond. This year has been a really special one for Knowsley and something that people will be talking about for years to come.
“I just want to thank everyone who has played a part in our year as Borough of Culture – we couldn’t have done this without you!
“Whilst we have officially handed over the cultural baton for the region, the year is not over yet for us. We still have events to come and are already working on more exciting cultural initiatives to keep the excitement and passion for culture alive in the Borough.”
Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said:
“It is with great pleasure pride that we accept the formal hand over of the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture title from Knowsley to St Helens Borough. I’d like to congratulate Knowsley on their successes their year, not least the opening of the spectacular Shakespeare North Playhouse, which helps to remind us of the importance of storytelling in our culture – it defines who we are, how others see us, and how we see ourselves.
“Stories of our sporting triumphs, our homegrown stars of national stage and TV, our workers whose ingenuity and backbreaking work drove the Industrial revolution, and stories of the incredible strength and solidarity we saw in our communities through the pandemic and other challenges. In the coming year we will look to celebrate all this and more – celebrating our past, and building our future.”
Knowsley Hands Borough of Culture Baton to St. Helens
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram introduced the Borough of Culture initiative in 2018, as part of the Combined Authority’s ‘1% for Culture’ programme, which commits to invest 1% of the annual budget directly in culture and creativity. The title rotates around the six areas that make up the Liverpool City Region, showcasing the unique cultural attractions and identities in each part of our region, and how they merge together.