Leicester bids for 2017 UK City of Culture title

Curve The Curve Theatre in Leicester opened in 2008

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Leicester has joined the race to become the second UK City of Culture in 2017.

The city will compete with Aberdeen and Plymouth in a bid to succeed Londonderry, which became the first City of Culture in 2013.

A consortium including the city council has two months to prepare a bid. The final decision will be announced in November.

City councillor Ted Cassidy said: "We need to get the whole community behind us."

'Fantastic festivals'

The deadline for applications to become 2017 UK City of Culture is Thursday.

"It could be a real catalyst for development - we have got good facilities already and some fantastic festivals," he added.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the next City of Culture would be a place with ambition, innovation and inspiration.

Mr Cassidy said: "It will highlight Leicester and give us a high profile - the title will stay with us forever."

Leicester hosts the oldest comedy festival in Europe and held the GB Special Olympics in 2009.

A team of experts led by the University of Leicester recently confirmed that the remains of Richard III were found in a Leicester car park.

Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: "Leicester's strength is in its diversity.

"The range of cultural activity taking place in our schools, within our communities and across the city is unrivalled - and the quality and variety of our performing arts spaces is magnificently illustrated by the city's flagship venue, Curve."

The UK City of Culture project was launched by the government in 2008.

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