WAKEFIELD Business Improvement District (BID) could be the catalyst that makes the city a cultural and entertainment destination for visitors from afar.
Jon Ingham is Head of Fundraising and Partnerships at Theatre Royal Wakefield, which has ambitious plans of its own to revitalise the entertainment offer with an extension to the existing Westgate venue, but he said that the BID could act as a spur to attract funding for cultural events and attract new audiences.
“Our audiences at Theatre Royal Wakefield come from across Yorkshire to see the wide range of productions that we offer.” he said.
“Our plans for the centre for creativity will provide opportunities for local artists to create work in a smaller and more accessible space. The Wakefield BID will help us to achieve our goals and make Westgate a more desirable leisure destination.” he said.
Existing BIDs have already helped boost cultural and entertainment offerings in other locations by attracting match funding for live events and investment into capital projects that boost inclusivity. Theatre Royal Wakefield produces two major UK tours each year of work by John Godber. They are also now working with award winning playwright Jim Cartwright.
“The new auditorium will allow us to present a wider selection of work, some of which is not suitable for a large traditional space,” added Jon. “It will give us the opportunity to work with schools and other small groups of theatre makers and artists. It will also allow us to offer wrap-around hospitality and extra activities that are linked to the productions taking place on the stage.”
And Mr Ingham highlighted the role of the cultural sector in enhancing the evening economy in Wakefield attracting audiences to nearby pubs, restaurants and clubs.
“Wakefield BID can be the catalyst for the entertainment and cultural sector to create a joined up approach to making the city a destination for visitors from far and wide. We have the chance to attract people to Wakefield to enjoy shared experiences and see the city in the same light as those of us who work and live here.”
David Owens, chair of the BID said: “Wakefield’s cultural heritage has a vital role in the growth of the city’s economy. The ripple effect it has on the rest of the city’s economy can never be underestimated. The BID will help it flourish so I would urge every theatre loving voter to support it.”