BBC launches Culture UK

BBC launches Culture UK

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Wednesday, 5th April 2017
Hip hop troop Boy Blue at the Culture UK launch (Credit: BBC)

The BBC has announced a far-reaching scheme to improve engagement in the arts.

Culture UK aims to inspire new audiences and enhance the UK’s position as a global creative force.

The BBC has partnered with Arts Council England, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland to launch the scheme which aims to develop UK-wide cultural festivals, increase the platforms for emerging talent and develop content that can be shown on the BBC. 

Among the projects announced this week was work which sees London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony director Danny Boyle direct hip hop dance troop Boy Blue Entertainment and projects from National Theatre Artistic Director Rufus Norris.

The scheme will also bring together companies from across the country, including Leeds’ Slung Low, the Young Vic, Manchester’s Eggs Collective, Scottish Ballet, and Bristol Old Vic.

Director-General of the BBC Tony Hall said, ““We’ve come together because we want the UK to be the most culturally engaged and creative country in the world, where everybody, wherever they come from, can take part. “

Additionally Culture UK is drawing inspiration from events like the Cultural Olympiad and Shakespeare Lives to form a planning and development group drawn from across the country to enable three major broadcast and live event festivals each year.

These projects will follow themes, with the theme for 2017 being Poetry and Opera, while 2018 will mark the centenary of women’s suffrage.

Elsewhere, the BBC is also creating a new £4m Artists First BBC commissioning fund which will assist artists and organisations who want to create new content for broadcast and online.

Additionally, the Battersea Arts Centre’s Performance Live strand is taking place on BBC Two over the next two years. Conducted in partnership with the Arts Council England, the series will feature performances from eight artists or organisations from across the country.

Among the other pieces that will be appearing across BBC platforms as part of the Culture UK scheme is a special adaptation of the National Theatre’s My Country: A Work in Progress, written by Carol Ann Duffy for BBC Two.

Meanwhile BBC Four will tell the story of artist Phil Collins in Ceremony, which sees the star travel across Europe to install a statue of Friedrich Engels in Manchester.

BBC 1Xtra is also getting involved with the resurrection of their award-winning spoken word project Words First later this year.

Director-General Tony Hall added, “There are real challenges that make working together more necessary and more urgent than ever. Culture is one of the things that unites us all and expresses our identity. We ignore that at our peril.”

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The BBC has announced a far-reaching scheme to improve engagement in the arts.