Search on for leader of Leeds 2023 cultural festival

Their brief will be to lead Leeds in an international cultural festival celebrating the best of the city.

A musician with South Asian Arts performing at a Leeds 2023 bid event.

The chair of new body Leeds Culture Trust will spearhead a five-year £35m programme, capturing the energy, enthusiasm and creativity behind Leeds’s previous bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023.

And the search is now on to find the right person for the job.

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Applications for the role of the trust chair are now open.

8 March 2017...... Joe Taylor and Dreda Blow preview Northern Ballets new production of Casanova, at a launch event to Leeds business leaders to back the Leeds 2023 City of Culture Bid. Picture Tony Johnson.

The leader will be tasked with developing the Leeds 2023 International Cultural Festival.

Four years of events and activities will get underway in 2019, and the programme will culminate with a year of celebration in 2023.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The collective purpose, passion and unity which built behind our capital of culture bid was truly unprecedented and we’ve been absolutely determined to see that ambition channelled into something unique and memorable which will give Leeds and its communities the spotlight they deserve.

“The aim of Leeds 2023 is to bring the best in global arts to our city and celebrate life in Leeds in a way we have never seen before and this next step in the formation of the Leeds Culture Trust is a crucial step on the road to making that vision a reality.

“What we need now is an exceptional, experienced chair with the knowledge and determination to drive this project forward and deliver a genuinely transformational occasion that will inspire the whole city and change the way Leeds and its culture are perceived forever.”

The festival will showcase the cultural life of Leeds and be a catalyst for visitors, jobs and economic growth, the council said.

Leeds’s hopes of becoming European Capital of Culture 2023 were dashed last November when the European Commission confirmed a British city could not hold the lucrative title post Brexit.

But, determined the show must go on, in January, town hall chiefs revealed plans for an programme of arts and culture events celebrating the best of Leeds.

Last month, the authority’s executive board agreed Leeds Culture Trust would deliver it.

To find out more and apply, visit