'Ice-cream van for the mind' - Stephen Fry on his love for arts in rural Norfolk

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry has spoken to BBC Norfolk about his experience finding his love for the arts while growing up in rural Norfolk - Credit: Simon Finlay

Norfolk-based TV presenter, writer and actor Stephen Fry has told how he discovered a love for the arts while growing up in the county.

Speaking with Anna Perrott on BBC Radio Norfolk, the Norfolk comedian and writer talked about the excitement of finding like-minded individuals interested in the arts.

Trips to Norwich from his home of Reepham were pivotal in helping him find his path towards a career in the arts, he said.

Mr Fry said: "All the things that make Norfolk a difficult place for someone with artistic sensibilities, pretensions and hopes to grow up in also make it a wonderful place in because you find other people who feel like that. Unlike living in London, it is a rarer thing to be pulled into the artistic world, therefore there is an excitement when you find each other. That is what I owe a lot to Norfolk and Norwich for, the excitement knowing that I wasn't alone."

The mobile-library was also a lifeline for the young Mr Fry. He likened its visits as being like an "ice cream van for the mind," exposing him to a world outside of rural Norfolk.


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A popular haunt for Mr Fry was the Just John's Delicatique in Norwich, which he described as "the beating bohemian heart of Norwich" which was where all the artistic people in the city and county would gather.

Mr Fry later joked that Norfolk has a lot to offer, despite all the jokes that are made about it, to which presenter Anna Perrott replied "Norfolk isn't just fields, you can find whatever path you'd like here".

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The actor and comedian also gave some words of encouragement to youngsters who are interested in the arts, adding: "Try and find ways to connect with people. Look for concerts, exhibitions and things, and here you will fall into conversations and find like-minded people."

Earlier this year, Mr Fry was named as the winner of the Norfolk Icon award at this year's Norfolk Arts Awards, which are held as part of the Hostry Festival in October. The award highlights prominent figures from the region who have boosted the profile of Norfolk.


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