Wakefield-based Production Park - which has worked with Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay - backs City of Culture 2025 bid

As Wakefield Council prepares to enter the district into the running for City of Culture 2025, Production Park CEO Lee Brooks explains why he is backing Wakefield.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 2:20 pm

Tucked away in a quiet corner of South Kirkby, one of the district’s most influential organisations has also put its backing to the council’s bid.

'Wakefield has really got the wow factor' - Wakefield Council confirms plans to bid for City of Culture 2025 title

Production Park provides support to the Live Events industry, with experts in everything from set design and sound engineering to pyrotechnics.

Production Park is also home to Backstage Academy, which offers degrees in all aspects of events management, and is considered one of the world’s foremost live events training sites. Pictured are students graduating from Backstage Academy in 2017

In recent years, teams from the site have worked with some of the biggest names in music - including Beyoncé, Take That, the Spice Girls, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Little Mix.

CEO Lee Brooks is no stranger to success - so it says a lot that he is backing Wakefield’s City of Culture bid.

He said: “Production Park is incredibly excited to be supporting the City of Culture bid and we can’t wait to collaborate with the region’s other institutions to give Wakefield’s cultural output the recognition it truly deserves.

“Although Wakefield’s ‘rhubarb triangle’ remains, there’s another triangle now underpinning the region’s cultural identity; one which is home to nationally significant names, The Hepworth, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Production Park.

Production Park provides support to the Live Events industry, with experts in everything from set design and sound engineering to pyrotechnics. In recent years, teams from the site have worked with some of the biggest names in music - including Beyoncé, Take That, the Spice Girls, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Little Mix.

“They’re all key institutions in the levelling up agenda - giving the area, its artists, and its people the recognition they deserve.

“Like most cultural institutions across the UK, Production Park and the wider live events industry has undoubtedly suffered a real blow this year, but the City of Culture bid fosters a sense of pride in our region and demonstrates the resilience of the cultural sector.

“It gives cause for optimism and celebration, and we’ve got an awful lot to celebrate!”

Production Park is also home to Backstage Academy, which offers degrees in all aspects of events management, and is considered one of the world’s foremost live events training sites.

With a stellar international reputation, the site may sound like it is better suited to Hollywood than South Kirkby, but Lee says the park is perfectly at home in the Wakefield district.

He said: “I’ve worked and lived in other countries and came back to where I grew up, which is Wakefield.

“I feel that Wakefield has strong cultural assets. The creative industry is very strong, and people recognise that.

“There’s a bunch of different, really exciting things going on and its great to see.

“I think for everyone who lives in the city it will give them something to rally around.

“Live shows, social experiences and people getting together is a positive drive for society in general.

“In five years I like to think you’ll go to a gig in Tokyo or LA and there will be someone there who learned their craft in Wakefield.”