Leicester’s creative streak brings sparkle to Business Festival
Leicester and Leicestershire’s creative businesses are pulling out all the stops in the 2018 Leicester Business Festival (from 29 October to 9 November).
Leicester is famed for its creative sector and is reported to have the largest number of creative businesses outside London with an impressive workforce of around 11,690 people locally across 4,400 companies.
Integral to the sector are an abundance of creative and arts venues in the city centre including Curve, De Montfort Hall, the Little Theatre, the recently-revitalised Sue Townsend theatre, and the Y. Earlier in 2018, the Haymarket Theatre was also brought back to life after an 11-year gap, following a £3.6 million investment from Leicester City Council.
Most of the county’s markets towns including Melton, Hinckley, Loughborough and Coalville also have a local theatre. The Kilworth House Theatre which opened in 2007, hosts a unique 500-seat open-air theatre, whilst Market Harborough’s ‘Arts Fresco’ in September is one of the largest, community-led, free, street theatre festivals in the UK.
City centre state-of-the-art theatre, Curve, has now been open for ten years. In that time, the theatre has established itself as one of the most successful in the UK selling almost one million tickets per year for work in Leicester and on tour. In a stimulating, headline Business Festival event on Monday 29 October, Curve’s chief executive, Chris Stafford, will be sharing the theatre’s business model that balances artistic and financial risk and the role and impact that Curve has had on the creative and financial economy of Leicester.
The creative sector is not limited to theatres alone, however. The industry is diverse and comprises a wide range of specialisms including film and TV, social media, festivals, advertising, music, crafts, to computer games and animation – all in abundance across this great region.
Similarly, Creative Industries similarly plays a vital part in the Leicester Business Festival and as expected, there are a broad range of events spanning photography in business, licensing in the music industry software and web development as well as the annual stand-up comedy challenge.
Leicester has a well-embedded comedy scene with the annual Leicester Comedy Festival first held in 1994, and now featuring over 850 individual events over its 19-day duration. It is one of the biggest, most well-respected comedy festivals in the UK.
Geoff Rowe, (pictured below) founding director of Leicester Comedy Festival, is the Business Festival sector lead for Creative Industries. He said, “Creative industries is a thriving sector in Leicester and Leicestershire and one of the largest creative clusters outside of London. The sector includes design agencies, web companies as well as cultural organisations and arts festivals, including the annual Leicester Comedy Festival, which makes a significant impact to the local economy by attracting visitors to the city and county from across the UK.
“The Leicester Business Festival provides a fantastic platform to not only showcase the fabulous range of sub- industries in the sector, but also to illustrate how Creative Industries as a whole makes an important contribution to the local economy.”
Nearly every event in the Business Festival is completely free to attend, but tickets must be booked in advance through the website www.leicesterbusinessfestival.com or via the new LBF App – free to download from Google Play or the Apple Store.
Along with headline partners, Leicester Castle Business School, the 2018 Festival has the support of well-known business organisations including East Midlands Chamber; LLEP Business Gateway; East Midlands Airport; Brewin Dolphin; University of Leicester School of Business; Highcross and the FSB.
Other supporters include Everards Brewery; De Montfort University; Pattersons Commercial Law; Growth Partners PLC and the Institute of Directors, as well as official app partner Infonote, AV media partner, The Presentation Group and media partners, Cross Productions and Capital Radio.