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Comment: Why Norwich should win the City of Culture title

PUBLISHED: 12:30 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:43 02 July 2010

Tim Williams

Norwich would be the perfect choice for the UK's City of Culture in 2013. We have a hugely diverse range of cultural assets right across the artistic spectrum.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

Norwich would be the perfect choice for the UK's City of Culture in 2013. We have a hugely diverse range of cultural assets right across the artistic spectrum.

We have some of the country's leading venues, mixing the best of modern architecture - like the Forum - within the context of a historic medieval city.

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Arts Centre, the Puppet Theatre, St Peter Mancroft and Dragon Hall all play host to a wide range of events.

Our fine city also has one of Britain's most respected, and certainly one of its most appreciated, theatres - the Theatre Royal.

Our dramatic offer also includes the eclectic Playhouse and the Maddermarket Theatre.

We have one of the best independent cinemas in the country in the sympathetically restored Cinema City, which hosts an animation festival each year. The award-winning architecture and collections of the Sainsbury Centre are another jewel in our crown.

And what other city can match our museums? The Castle Museum, Strangers' Hall, Bridewell Alley, St Peter Hungate and The Royal Norfolk Regiment Museum - all have superb, historically important collections.

Recently ranked as one of the UK's best music scenes by the NME, Norwich attracts established acts to the UEA.

Up-and-coming bands have dozens of venues to play, including the Waterfront, Norwich Arts Centre and the Brickmakers pub in Sprowston Road.

The annual Norfolk and Norwich Festival has an enviable reputation and is universally recognised as one of the top five arts festivals in Britain. This year's two-week event in May is more stunning and diverse than ever before.

Norwich also has a remarkably rich cultural history to showcase.

The city boasted England's first ever provincial newspaper in 1701, while the Norwich School of artists - including the likes of John Crome and John Sell Cotman - are renowned worldwide.

City College Norwich, Norwich University College of the Arts and the UEA produce some of the most talented and creative artists, performers and writers anywhere in the world.

Most importantly, none of this rich artistic output is elitist. Norwich is culturally engaging in a way quite unlike anywhere else. From the Lord Mayor's Procession through to the public art of the Ice Sculpture Trail and the free outdoor performance art of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the whole city is a part of the cultural mix. Community and social engagement is not just a token gesture in our city, it's the lifeblood of our artistic output.

That's reflected in the excellent work which goes on at The Garage, where young people get the chance to hone their performing skills and at the Future Project in Earlham, which does excellent work to inspire creativity among youngsters with a community radio stations and an array of projects.

Last, but by no means least, we've got the Puppet Man!

If the bid team fails to be inspired by Norwich, we'll be amazed.

But we all need to do what we can to support the City of Culture bid. Every one of us needs to be an advocate for our fine city.

Every one of us needs to be extolling the virtues of Norwich's cultural diversity whenever possible.

By the time the bid team makes its decision we are determined that there should only be one city in the running. Norwich.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

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