Kent

Orlando Bloom backs East Kent City of Culture bid

Orlando Bloom
Image caption Orlando Bloom first performed for an audience at the age of four at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre

Lord of the Rings actor Orlando Bloom has backed a bid from his home county to become UK City of Culture in 2017.

Bloom, 36, who also starred in Pirates Of The Caribbean, was born and raised in Canterbury, the cathedral city which forms part of the East Kent bid.

"It was here that I first discovered my love for acting," he said.

"One of my earliest memories is of being spellbound by performers I would pass on the High Street. Like myself, many have found inspiration here."

Bloom first performed before an audience on the stage of the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury at the age of four.

"East Kent has always had a strong reputation for cultural excellence, be it in the field of theatre or literature, the visual arts or dance and developments over the last few years have only served to cement that relationship," he said.

"Growing up in East Kent awakened my passion. I hope this bid can do the same for generations to come."

East Kent, which covers Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet, is among 11 contenders bidding to become the next UK City of Culture.

The others are Aberdeen, Chester, Dundee, Hastings and Bexhill on Sea, Hull, Leicester, Plymouth, Southend on Sea, Swansea Bay and a joint application from Portsmouth and Southampton.

The winner will succeed Londonderry, the UK City of Culture for 2013 and the first to hold the title.

Designer Wayne Hemingway, architect David Chipperfield, musician Jules Holland and TV presenter Paul O'Grady have also backed East Kent's bid.

"They may be from East Kent, they may now live in East Kent or East Kent may have had a real impact on their careers," said Canterbury City Council spokeswoman Janice McGuinness.

"Orlando Bloom had his first acting experience on the Marlowe Theatre stage and look where he is now.

"That can happen for anybody."

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