Arthur Smith and Mark Grist join UEA 50th annivesary line-up

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Comedian and Arthur Smith has been announced as the latest addition to the line-up for the University of East Anglia’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Best known for his stand-up alternative comedy performances as well as appearances on BBC Radio 4 and television’s Grumpy Old Men, UEA alumnus Arthur will appear as part of the fringe festival running alongside UEA’s Anniversary Festival in September.

Arthur’s career in comedy began whilst a comparative literature student at UEA and he has remained fond of the University, where he made a name for himself as a prankster. His stunts included moving his entire student bedroom into the main square on campus and reciting poetry from a unicycle and it seems he is looking forward to reliving his student days.

He said: “I’m looking forward to the UEA 50th weekend so I can see what has become of my contemporaries, join in some of the events, meet students from different eras to mine and pretend I’m 19 again”.

Arthur joins another UEA alumnus, Mark Grist, at the fringe festival. An internet success story who found fame after battling a teenage grime artist in a rap battle, Mark now forms one half of the critically acclaimed double act, Dead Poets, which appeared on BBC 6 Music with Steve Merchant. The ex-English teacher quit his job to perform a number of challenges and now tours the nation with his successful shows, as well as offering inspirational poetry workshops to school children.

Mark is also eager to get back to UEA for the anniversary celebrations. He said: “The show I’m performing, ‘Rogue Teacher’, is all about the mess I found myself in as I left the Golden Triangle to try being a teacher - it’ll be really fitting to take the show back to where it all began. If it inspires another UEA student to misuse their level of education, then it’s probably all been worth it.”

UEA was founded in 1963 and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. The fringe festival takes place as part of a weekend of anniversary celebrations on September 28-29, which will include a huge range of events, from panel discussions about society’s challenges to science demonstrations for the whole family.

The Anniversary Festival will be open to everyone – current and former staff and students, as well as the general public. The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts and the UEA Sportspark will also be open and running activities for all ages.

For more information visit the newly launched UEA 50th anniversary website at