Wealth of creative talent in Norfolk is highlighted by arts awards

The great wealth of creative talent in Norfolk is being highlighted by a flood of nominations for a new award that will be part of a special arts celebration at Norwich Cathedral this autumn.

The EDP People's Choice Award –part of the inaugural Norfolk Arts Awards which will open the Hostry Festival on October 26 – is the chance for our readers to put forward their stars of the arts world.

Local performers, artists, theatre companies, venues and any other individuals or organisations achieving great things are eligible to be entered.

To date there have been more than 200 nominations – and people still have until September 14 to submit entries online.

After nominations close a shortlist of 10 will be drawn up and people will be able to vote online for their favourites.

While specific details of the nominations so far are not yet being revealed, they have included radio programmes, theatre companies, art and crafts shops, galleries, artists, artists working in education, arts centres, individual productions, and orchestras.

Peter Beck, the founder of the Norfolk Arts Awards, said: 'It is terrific. I think it is a sign not only of how much people care about the arts in the county, but also how the arts is on the increase in Norfolk.

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'The Arts Awards are very much about celebrating the arts and those who are achieving. Everyone is a winner, the whole county is a winner.

'The awards are a way of flying the flag for the arts in the county.'

He added: 'It is really nice that people are taking part in the EDP People's Choice Award and it shows that people have a real love of certain venues, or artists, or they have worked with an artist that has really inspired them, or they have seen a fantastic production.

'We have had nominations from lots of different areas of Norfolk, including Norwich, north Norfolk, Broadland, Great Yarmouth, and west Norfolk.

'We would especially like to have some more nominations from south Norfolk and Breckland – we have got a few from these areas but it would be lovely to have some more.

'What has surprised me about the nominations is the diversity of all the people that have been put forward, for example one of the interesting things is that people have not just gone for the well-known big organisations, they have also gone for the lesser known or smaller organisations.

'People have also voted on the basis that an arts organisation or individual has done a lot for a group.

'There seems to be a big social and community aspect in the nominations.'

As well as the EDP People's Choice accolade, the 2012 Norfolk Arts Awards will also feature a range of other awards which this year are being decided by a specialist panel of judges.

These awards include the Theatre Award; the Music Award; The Fosters Solicitors Business and the Arts Award; the Hy Kurzner Arts Entrepreneur Award; the Education and Community Award; the Lifetime Contribution to the Arts Award; the Dance Award; the Visual Arts Award; the Broadcast and Press Award; and the Peter Barrow Bursary Award for Best Newcomer.

Joining Mr Beck on the panel of judges will be Hostry Festival artistic director Stash Kirkbride; Hostry Festival executive producer Peter Barrow; musician Mike King; musician and lecturer Chris Ellis; sculptor Theodora Lecrinier; solicitor Iain McClay from Fosters Solicitors; actress and dancer Kelly FX; and Louisa Griffith-Jones from LGJ Public Relations.

Mr Beck said: 'All of these people are giving their time for free to research, decide and debate people's work in the arts.

'This year the judges panel will be finding the nominations and deciding the 2012 winners, but if people would like to know how they can put somebody forward for one of these categories for the 2013 awards they just need to send us an email via the Arts Award website.'

To nominate an individual, group or organisation for the 2012 EDP People's Choice Award go to www.norfolkartsawards.co.uk and submit the details. The main criteria is that nominees must be based in or have produced work in the arts in Norfolk. A shortlist will be selected and published on the Norfolk Arts Award website where people will be able to vote for their favourites.

emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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