New Leeds 2023 executive director announced

The new executive director of Leeds 2023 has been announced as the city gets ready for a year-long festival of culture.

By Rebecca Marano
Monday, 16th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Mark Holland is the new executive director of Leeds 2023. Photo taken by Jack Thomson.
Mark Holland is the new executive director of Leeds 2023. Photo taken by Jack Thomson.

Mark Hollander will take on the role in January, helping to create a programme of cultural investment in Leeds.

Mr Hollander worked for the BBC before spending 11 years as a manager at Arts Council England.

He then moved to Unlimited Theatre before setting up his own creative consultancy business before taking up the role as director at Phoenix Dance Theatre in 2016.

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During his time there, the company performed in Cannes, Germany and China and Mr Hollander oversaw productions of shows like Windrush: Movement of the People by Sharon Watson, The Rite of Spring by Jeanguy Saintus and Calyx by Sandrine Monin.

He will be leaving his role at Phoenix Dance Theatre to take on the role.

Mr Hollander said: "I am proud, excited and privileged to take up the role as Executive Director of Leeds 2023.

"This is an opportunity to give something amazing back to Leeds after the city has creatively enriched my life over many years.

"I am thrilled to be working with Kully and the team to ensure the expression of our city’s unique cultural life is experienced by all, in astounding and lasting ways.”

Sharon Watson, artistic director of Phoenix Dance Theatre, said: “What a bittersweet moment for Phoenix Dance Theatre.

"Since Mark’s appointment in 2016 the company has been on an incredible journey. We have broadened our creative output both on and off the stage, presented work at international platforms and collaborated with partners for the very first time. We wish Mark all the best at 2023 and look forward to celebrating his appointment with him.”

The announcement follows the appointment of creative director Kully Thiarai who will also begin in January.

Ms Thiarai said: "I couldn’t be more thrilled that Mark is joining us.

"He has a deep knowledge and commitment to Leeds and its arts sector.

"I’m looking forward to working with him on creating an extraordinary year of culture for Leeds 2023 that delivers a lasting legacy for all the communities of this great city”.

Leeds 2023 was originally the city’s bid for European Capital of Culture status before the Brexit referendum result halted progress.

Leeds Council decided to keep its original core funding pledge of £12m in place and Leeds 2023 has now been established as the independent Leeds Culture Trust.

The trust are in charge with funds and delivering a year-long festival of culture in 2023.