A look at Liverpool City Council’s cultural service, Culture Liverpool
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 September 2017
Behind the scenes at Culture Liverpool
It’s evident the passion that Angie Redhead has for her job. Working for Liverpool City Council’s cultural service, Culture Liverpool, she’s the head of City Assets which incorporates Liverpool Cruise Terminal, St George’s Hall, Liverpool Town Hall and tourist information. It’s a position of great responsibility and pressure, but also great reward.
‘I’m in a privileged position and I would never take that for granted. If I fell out of love with it I would have to step aside,’ said Angie, who has been in charge of the Liverpool Cruise Terminal since it opened in 2007. She recently took over as head of the other assets. ‘In this job, you have to do what it takes. I’ve got to make a difference to people’s experience of Liverpool as well as make a difference for the people of Liverpool. We change perception one ship at a time.’
Since the cruise terminal was officially opened ten years ago by HRH The Duke of Kent, it has welcomed 355 cruise ships carrying more than 700,000 passengers and crew, generating £50 million to the local economy. The River Mersey has also experienced additional shipping traffic of 20 million gross tonnage. To celebrate the milestone, this year there has been a series of events and inaugural visits – focusing on past, present and future.
‘It’s gone by in the blink of an eye, it’s been a genuinely amazing ten years,’ said Angie, who when watching a show reel of the best bits of the decade said it felt like an episode of This Is Your Life. ‘To see it all, you realised just how much has been achieved. Other established ports said that the excitement will pass and people will lose interest, but it’s gone the complete opposite. There’s a real public engagement – we want to include them as much a possible and the passengers of the ships love it. They can’t believe the city and its people have put on events like it just for when they dock.’
From 1.2 million people swelling with civic pride during Cunard’s spectacular Three Queens celebration in 2015 to thousands of families dressing up as their favourite characters when the Disney cruise liners are in town, there’s a real sense of community and celebration. There’s no hiding from the fact that Liverpool is a city built on a rich maritime heritage and its waterfront truly is at its heart.
‘It’s no coincidence that in the ten years since the cruise terminal opened that the canal on the Pier Head was built, the Museum of Liverpool and the Echo Arena. It was always the ambition to make the waterfront the heart of the city and it flows better because of it. It’s absolutely brilliant.’
Alongside managing the future of the cruise terminal, which includes by 2020 having a year-round operation to have cruise ships of 3,500 passenger capacity starting and ending their journeys at the Pier Head, Angie is focused on making the most of the Liverpool Town Hall and St George’s Hall. She describes the appointment as a chance to have a real bit of fun and explore the opportunities available at each venue.
‘The town hall is a stunning building but I get a sense that people don’t know that they can come in and use it. I am in the process of launching a high end, Ritz standard afternoon tea which will be served in the Lord Mayor’s tea parlour. It will be on pop-up dates with the intention that people will plan their special events around it. The hall will also be open for the last two weeks of August for public tours and all of the silver will be on display.
‘It’s really important to me that these things happen more and more. It’s the same for St George’s Hall, the heritage centre it is already open to the public but we can attract new audiences and use it in a much more creative way. These buildings are beautiful and deserve to be used as much as possible – it’s on us to do that and give people an offering.’