The organisers behind a new £120 million national event dubbed the ‘festival of Brexit Britain’ have said it can help bring the UK back together after the UK leaves the EU.
The event – proposed by Theresa May back in 2018 – is expected to take place next year with the working title Festival UK 2022.
The festival’s chief creative officer Martin Green has said he is now looking for ‘big ideas’ to help heal the divisions surrounding Brexit, and to show off British creativity.
He told BBC News: ‘This project was conceived to happen after our exit from the EU and acknowledges that we have been going through, and are going through, a divisive time’.
‘Creativity has always proven itself brilliant at finding more of what we have in common than what we don’t. So the idea that projects can bring people together is a really timely one.’
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Green said that he does not believe it means he will change people’s opinions on Brexit, but says he is aiming to ensure people can put their differences to one side for the event.
‘Remember, coming together and bringing people together isn’t about asking people all to think and believe the same thing. It’s about understanding each other and appreciating each other’s differences and commonalities.’
He told the Guardian: ‘A lot of people, and I know some of them very well, were quite alarmed about the project when it was first launched because of what people said it might be. Now people can see what the project actually is, I hope those fears will dissipate.’
Theresa May was ridiculed back in 2018 when she claimed the event would ‘celebrate our nation’s diversity and talent, and mark this moment of national renewal with a once-in-a-generation celebration’ in an event she hoped to invoke the spirit of the Festival of Britain on London’s South Bank in 1951 after World War II.
The festival’s name has not been decided yet, after the SNP objected to the working title. Green said: ‘We don’t want to name and brand the festival until we know its content.’