What is theNational Poetry Centre?
Poetry is the most accessible and democratic of art forms – common to all languages and cultures. It is currently enjoying an international boom in popularity. A national centre would elevate the position of poetry in national life, becoming the spiritual home for poetry as it is written, read, spoken and performed – up and down the country.
The vision to create a new national home for poetry in Leeds is building momentum. The project will breathe life back into an historic Leeds landmark, Trinity St. David’s, currently lying empty in the heart of a regeneration area.
The CENTRE will house
A 250 Seat Auditorium
Cafes, Bookshops & Vibrant Social Spaces
Workshops & Performance Spaces
Writing Rooms & Quiet Areas
a Broadcasting Studio
Collections & Archives
shared working for poetry & Literature Orgs.
A national home for poetry, performance, learning and literacy in leeds
In an increasingly virtual world, the National Poetry Centre will bring people together – to meet, perform, write, research, spend time or just pass through. A shared place for the people of Leeds and visitors from around the world. It will drive an ambitious programme of engagement for schools and young people; helping them ﬁnd their voice, giving them the conﬁdence to explore ideas, play with words, speak and perform in public – and supporting literacy and creative skills throughout the UK.
Research by the National Literacy Trust shows a clear link between engagement with poetry and increased literacy skills. Their research also demonstrates how poetry is an “important tool to express feelings and struggles, escape reality or make sense of the complex events going on in our world.” With a crisis in young people’s mental health at unprecedented levels, this has rarely felt more important.
The National Poetry Centre will be open, democratic and inclusive. A centre of excellence and understanding, it will host internationally recognised research, regular masterclasses and seminars. This work will be underpinned by a newly established archive and poetry library that also draws on existing and important collections.
A central auditorium will become poetry’s major performance space in the UK – home to award ceremonies and events of national and international importance.
Situating a national centre outside of London, in the heart of the country, makes an unequivocal statement about the importance of levelling up, and improving equality of access to arts and culture across the UK.
The National Poetry Centre represents a lasting and transformative legacy of LEEDS 2023 – a major year of culture in the city