SEND US YOUR MEMORIES - Festival – with a big-name act – to mark UEA’s 50th anniversary

A festival weekend featuring a concert by a world-famous act will be the highlight of the University of East Anglia's 50th anniversary events next year.

The first details of the major celebrations being planned – which will also include a community activity day and art exhibition – were revealed today by the UEA.

The Earlham Road campus opened its doors for the first time in October 1963, with a cohort of just over 80 students studying either biology or English.

Now with 14,000 students studying more than 300 courses, the university is working hard to find ways to celebrate its golden jubilee.

Top of the agenda is a festival weekend set to take place on September 28 and 29.

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It will feature research demonstrations, theatre productions, street performers, a world food market and talks by illustrious UEA alumni.

A concert and fairground by the university lake will take place on the Saturday evening with a headline act – promised to be a world-famous name – due to be announced next year.

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Revealing details of the celebrations, UEA vice-chancellor Edward Acton, said: 'I am delighted to announce the plans for the university's 50th anniversary.

'This will be a celebration of all that UEA has achieved both nationally and internationally, and all that it has to offer to students, staff, alumni and the local community as a whole.

'It was the support of people in this region that led to the establishment of the university in 1963 and we continue to work with local people and organisations to our mutual benefit.

'I hope to welcome the widest range of people possible to all our anniversary events – to see the university welcome back old friends and make new ones. With such a variety on offer, I am sure there will be something to interest everyone.'

Over the past 50 years, more than 100,000 students have graduated from the UEA, including household names like author Ian McEwan, Doctor Who actor Matt Smith, comedian Charlie Higson and Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse.

Maresa Padmore, assistant head of alumni, conferences and events, said she hoped many former students and staff would join the celebrations.

She said: 'This is an opportunity for former students to get involved and find out what we're doing today, the research we're doing today, but also what we learned from the past history of the university.

'Our alumni base is now over 100,000 people in 185 countries worldwide. We're hoping some will travel back to campus, but we're also devising ways to help them celebrate with us across the world.'

Earlier this year UEA made it into the top 10 of universities in the world which are under 50 years old.

Among the other events planned for the anniversary celebrations will be an exhibition of East Anglian art at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art called Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia. A series of concerts by the university's choirs and orchestras, an exhibition at the Forum showcasing the university's areas of excellence and impact on its local community, and a display of artwork by former UEA professor Howard Temperley at Norwich Cathedral are also planned.

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