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Simon Callow backs Norwich culture bid

PUBLISHED: 07:04 12 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:24 01 July 2010

Simon Callow at Norwich's Maddermarket Theatre last year

Simon Callow at Norwich's Maddermarket Theatre last year

Peter Walsh

A renowned British actor and director has given Norwich's bid to become the UK's First City of Culture in 2013 a timely boost by adding his support to the campaign.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

A renowned British actor and director has given Norwich's bid to become the UK's First City of Culture in 2013 a timely boost by adding his support to the campaign.

Simon Callow CBE, who starred in a number of major films including hit British comedy film Four Weddings and a Funeral, Amadeus, and Shakespeare in Love, has long been passionate about this fine city and said it would richly deserve the accolade.

Mr Callow said: “I can think of no city in Britain better suited to be the City of Culture for 2013.

“In terms of physical beauty, of historical importance and of powerful atmosphere, it is second to none - to say nothing of its wonderful restaurants and pubs and excellent shops.

“It is a courteous and an efficient city, too. But more important than that, it embodies the great soul of British culture. The more than 50 superb churches spread across the city enshrine something profound in the British spirit - the desire of prosperous and enterprising citizens to beautify and glorify their community.

“Many of these same churches provide magnificent venues for performances of every kind, and at such times the city hums with greatness of spirit.”

The twice Bafta-nominated actor, who also starred in the Channel 4 sitcom Chance in a Million, was speaking after appearing in Nicholas Nickleby at the Norwich Playhouse on Sunday.

Mr Callow's endorsement comes with just days to go until the May 21 deadline for teams in Norwich, Birmingham, Sheffield, and Derry/Londonderry to submit their final bid.

The bids must deliver a high quality cultural programme that can be a worthy successor to Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 and the Cultural Olympiad in 2012.

According to the bidding guidelines the programme must build on the city's already vibrant cultural life involving local organisations and individuals to create a campaign unique to Norwich.

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “I had the great pleasure of meeting him when he was in Waiting for Godot and showed him around City Hall. He was a really nice guy and obviously a big Norwich fan so this is a real boost coming from someone who has already got Norwich very much at their heart, so I'm very pleased to hear that.”

If Norwich can win the City of Culture title it could mean up to £200m in investment and tourism revenue and a massive boost to the city's profile nationally and internationally.

For more City of Culture stories visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/culture. Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

How to Back the Bid

The people behind Norwich's bid to be City of Culture in 2013 say it's vital for everyone in the city to get involved - whether it's by showing your support online, volunteering your time or talents, bringing attention to groups you already work with, or simply by spreading the word about our fine city and all it has to offer.

Here are some ways to get started:

Send your ideas or volunteer to contribute by emailing cityofculture@norwich.gov.uk.

Tell us about events, projects or groups you're involved with by calling 01603 772418 or emailing mary.hamilton@archant.co.uk.

Tell us why you're backing the bid by emailing mary.hamilton@archant.co.uk or calling 01603 772418.

Show your support and let us know about events happening where you are by joining the Norwich 2013 Facebook group at www.tinyurl.com/Norwich-2013.

Follow the Evening News Back the Bid campaign on Twitter at www.twitter.com/norwichculture.

Read more about the City of Culture bid at www.en24.co.uk/culture.

Get involved at the official website at www.norwichcityofculture.co.uk.

Support Norwich on Facebook
Official Norwich 2013 bid website

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