What things do you want to see happen?

ON STAGE Rizzle Kicks at the Olympic torch relay party
ON STAGE Rizzle Kicks at the Olympic torch relay party

Portsmouth on cusp of agreeing £2.1m deal for new mental health hub

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Culture leaders have drawn up ideas of what they want to see happen if Portsmouth is crowned UK City of Culture.

Dom Kippin, literature development officer and leader of the bid, said that he would love to see the city’s thriving music scene grow even more.

‘We’re coming from a really strong base because we know what the music scene is like in Portsmouth,’ he said.

‘We have got a strong scene, and a strong touring scene which go to places like The Wedgewood Rooms, in Southsea and the Guildhall.

‘We’ve also got Portsmouth Festivities and we would like to expand on that.’

Dom also wants to build on the selection of music festivals on offer – and said something like a three-day punk festival could come to fruition if people called for it.

Councillor Lee Hunt, cabinet member for leisure and sport, would like to see more performances in Guildhall Square.

‘We want to see some amazing events,’ he said.

The UK City of Culture initiative was set up following the success of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Portsmouth and Southampton jointly applied to become this year’s culture cities in 2009 but lost out to Derry-Londonderry.

Cllr Hunt said: ‘We are in a much better position now.

‘We have the joint city deal in place, which means the government will give us extra powers.’

Below we outline ways the city could mark the honour if it were crowned City of Culture in 2017.


THE year 2017 will be an exciting time for theatre.

Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal will have undergone its extensive expansion, creating more opportunities for people to perform.

The council is in early discussions with La Scala, a world-renowned opera house in Milan, about inviting some of their performers over.

And Dom said the opening of the new arts complex scheme on the former Tyrrell and Green site, in Southampton, will further boost the profile of performances in the south.

He said: ‘It’s going to be an interesting programme.

‘We are going to have a brand new theatre in the form of the New Theatre Royal and a new arts centre in Southampton.

‘We will look to expand the type of theatre that is on offer and look to do more outside shows at places like Southsea Common.’


PORTSMOUTH could see more festivals celebrating cultures from around the world.

It’s part of the council’s plan to incorporate minority groups within its potential culture programme in 2017 and make sure they have access to the arts.

Dom said something similar to Southampton Mela Festival, an event which focuses on Asian culture, could be set up.

‘We would work with these groups to create events they would want to partake in,’ he said.

He said that the community would have a big say in what happens.

‘These events have to be driven by the community,’ he said.

‘It’s no good us assuming we know what people want. Let’s work together and have a cultural impact. We want a specific part of the programme to be about listening to the unheard voices of our community.’


YOUNG people should support huge ideas like the creation of an international skateboarding competition in Portsmouth.

Those are the words of Dom Kippin, who believes youngsters will play a vital role in the future of Portsmouth’s cultural activities.

He said: ‘Young people are incredibly important to the bid because they are the legacy of what will happen in 2017.

‘For instance this could lead to a huge, international skatepark being set up.

‘Children born in the year 2000 will be looking for jobs and opportunities. They are the future of the city. They will be able to develop skills which they can use afterwards for the benefit of the city.’

An emphasis in 2017 will also be put on making sure youngsters have access to social media and improving their all round computer skills.


PORTSMOUTH’S poet laureate believes more people would be encouraged to start writing if the bid is a success.

Sam Cox, who has wrote a poem called We Raise Our Sails about the city’s aspirations, said: ‘It’s amazing because as a poet you are always looking for new sources of inspiration around the city, whether it comes from the landscape or the people you have met.

‘We are the home of great writers. If more artists and writers end up coming to visit and share their ideas then more people will be encouraged to pick up a pen and start writing.’

Dom said he is in talks with a performance poetry group from California to come and visit in 2017.

He also wants to expand on the success of Portsmouth Bookfest and wants more authors with high profiles to visit. ‘Our aim is to promote a love of reading and creative writing,’ he said.