Rugby League World Cup 2021 Unites Sport and Arts with its Cultural Festival

23 Aug 2022

Rugby League World Cup 2021 Unites Sport and Arts with its Cultural Festival

With just over 50 days to go until the start of the tournament, Rugby League World Cup 2021 has today launched details of its Cultural Festival.

Funded by Arts Council England, The Rugby League World Cup Cultural Festival will bring together audiences of sport and art to showcase the history and atmosphere of the highly anticipated tournament. 

Taking place in four of the tournament host cities – Newcastle, Hull, Leeds and Manchester - the festival will amplify the strapline of ‘The Power of Together’, celebrating inclusivity and positive social impact.

The festival will be delivered via three different strands – The Power of Connecting, The Power of Poetry, and The Power of Performance: This Is Us.

Kick-starting the pre-tournament celebrations through its partnership with Libraries Connected, The Power of Connecting will deliver a programme of activity across libraries in the North of England, allowing people to get involved with a range of workshops including creative writing, crafts, and drama.

The Power of Poetry strand, created by Robert Montgomery, a poet and artist known for his light and text installations, and Emergency Exit Arts, brings together eight poets to capture themes of inclusivity, the sound of the stadium, the joy of reconnecting the community through sports in a post-Covid world, and the dynamic nature of rugby league. The four double poems, written in light, will tour the country throughout the period of the tournament.

Also capturing the atmosphere and energy of the sport and bringing it to the city streets, the Power of Performance will tell three distinct stories about rugby league – its origins as a working-class game, how the game became more inclusive through pioneering players, and the special connections between players and the fans. Each of these zones will have its own narrative, showcased via dance, aerial performance, special effects, music and staging. The Power of Performance will be directed by Robbie Graham from Southpaw Dance Company with Simon Sharkey serving as writer and artistic adviser. 

The wider community from all backgrounds will also have the opportunity to be involved in the large-scale spectacular alongside a team of professional performers, helping to bring the energy, atmosphere, and passion. From community groups to sports teams and budding street performers, the festival is currently recruiting for participants within each of the four cities, with no former dance experience required. 

Pinwheel, headed up by Katy Fuller, has been commissioned as the Creative Director and Producer for the Cultural Festival, with partners also including Leeds 2023, Newcastle City Council, Hull City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

To register your interest in being a performer in the festival, visit: https://www.pinwheel.org.uk/.

RLWC2021 Chief Executive, Jon Dutton, said:

“In what is set to be the biggest, best and most inclusive Rugby League World Cup in history, the Cultural Festival provides so much more opportunity to bring together the wider community – uniting sport with the arts. 
“The tournament is already reaching new heights when it comes to the record-breaking 61 matches and three competitions running simultaneously for the first time, and we believe the festival will extend the level of participation and excitement around it. This Rugby League World Cup Cultural Festival is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the origins of the sport in a fun, inclusive and contemporary way.”

 

Katy Fuller, Creative Director and Producer, who also played an instrumental role in Hull’s journey as UK City of Culture 2017, added: 

“The Rugby League World Cup Cultural Festival offers a brilliant platform to showcase the North of England in all its glory, on an international stage. It’s a great honour to have been chosen to support such a major event and bring it to life.
“From humble beginnings to where the sport is at now, the festival will allow us to tell the powerful story of how rugby league has broken down a number of barriers and bring to life the strapline – The Power of Together.”

For more information about the Rugby League World Cup Festival, visit: rlwc2021.com/rlwc2021-cultural-festival

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