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Festival diaries: City of Culture officer Marion Catlin

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:42 01 July 2010

Les Vernisseurs at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival launch

Les Vernisseurs at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival launch

Mary Hamilton

Marion Catlin, cultural services officer and one of the team behind the City of Culture bid, shares her thoughts for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival's final year.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

Marion Catlin, cultural services officer and one of the brains behind the City of Culture bid, shares her thoughts for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival's final day.

It's spring and it's Festival time again, though sadly I haven't been able to take full advantage this year.

That's because Norwich is bidding to be the first UK City of Culture in 2013 and I am part of the bid team which had to deliver the bid to the judging panel.

Of course, the Festival is a great showcase for anyone watching the city at this crucial time.

Anyone looking will have seen a city full of life, with the whole city centre transformed into a vibrant performance space.

Although the Festival has really grown and changed over the last few years under the leadership of artistic director Jonathan Holloway, the title of UK City of Culture has the potential to catapult the city and its culture right into the limelight, with the opportunity to show what a middle-sized city can do with a combination of world-class art and community focused creativity.

For my part, I managed to get to the opening event with Les Vernisseurs tying people up with blue streamers, the launch of Open Studios and Madi Boyd's Perception installation in Fusion, then Electric Hotel - an amazing dance performance on Millennium Plain in a specially constructed four-story hotel.

Sadly, I missed Michael Nyman at Theatre Royal and I gave the Haircuts by Kids a wide berth too!

In spite of being really busy with the bid I managed to join the circus playing korfball with No Fit State, watched their experimental Parklife performance outside in Eaton Park, and grabbed last minute tickets for La Vie, a brilliant show by French Canadian group Les 7 Doigts de la Main in the marvellous Spiegeltent.

I was lucky enough to enjoy fantastic dark comedy, dance, acrobatics and beautiful people, and watch fireworks set to music by Stravinsky.

Around the city I spotted Kurt Peschke's Red Ball tucked in between two buildings just off Castle Meadow, Tim Etchells' neon messages posted around town and also joined in the SMS performance - I had to text to a number to receive a series of poetic messages describing scenes in a story, so I was able to join in the fun without spending precious bid time when I needed to work.

And all that was just the first weekend! Even with little time available, there was plenty that I could just trip over without going out of my way, much of it for free.

So I hope that the judges are taking note - with the title of UK City of Culture 2013 we could really show the world what a fantastic city Norwich is and what a great festival we have in May with the potential to show the UK a year-round programme that any city would envy.

And if you haven't pledged support on the Norwich UK City of Culture 2013 website go to www.norwichcityofculture.co.uk and sign up. Right now! Support your city and tell your friends to do the same.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

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