New bid to tap cultural value of East Anglia

Dance East on Ipswich Waterfront

Dance East on Ipswich Waterfront - Credit: Su Anderson

A new campaign to boost the economic power of cultural events and activities across Norfolk and Suffolk has been launched in Ipswich by the chief executive of the Arts Council of England.

Darren Henley came to the Jerwood Dance House on Ipswich Waterfront yesterday to help launch New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Culture Drives Growth report, which looks at how the sector can help expand the local economy between now and 2022.

The report says the cultural sector, which includes musical productions, theatre, museums, art galleries and festivals, is worth about £83.6million to the region’s economy and supports thousands of jobs.

The report, prepared by the LEP’s Cultural Board, looks at ways of improving the region’s cultural profile.

It wants the region’s culture to be recognised across the country, raising the profile of events like the Aldeburgh Festival but also smaller events that could have a wider appeal.

It wants to see increased investment to turn Suffolk and Norfolk into ‘must see’ cultural destinations.

And it wants to see a more diverse, and highly skilled creative workforce working to improve the cultural economy.

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Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “The cultural sector is at the heart of our visitor economy and identity.

“More than 1,000 businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk that directly employ a total of 5,800 people depend on it, too.

“Our emphasis is on investment, business support, education, talent development, creative diversity and international impact and profile.

“The cultural sector has a dynamic role to play in shaping a positive future for the east.”

Helen Wilson, chair of the cultural board, said: “We want to support more small festivals, events and performances of all shapes and sizes, creating more family activities.”