Ed Sheeran exhibition in Ipswich features college drop-out letter

Ed Sheeran puppet and panda mask from I Don't Care video

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Props from Ed Sheeran’s music videos are on show at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich

A letter informing Ed Sheeran that he got straight Fs in a music performance course is on show as part of a new exhibition.

The singer started a diploma at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Surrey, in 2009 but gave it up as his musical career took off.

A letter formalising his resulting failure was sent to him a year later.

It is on show at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, along with other personal objects and memorabilia.

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Ed Sheeran decided to quit his studies to concentrate on his music career

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Memorabilia from his school years shows Sheeran as a T Bird

Sheeran’s father, John, has curated the Ed Sheeran Made In Suffolk exhibition, which opens on Tuesday.

In an accompanying book, Mr Sheeran said his son had become “disillusioned” with the course after just three weeks. Sheeran was then asked to be a support act for Just Jack, best known for his single Starz in their Eyes.

“He then rang us [along with his wife, Imogen] to say that he was determined to go, even if it meant him leaving college,” Mr Sheeran said. “Neither of us were surprised. Ed was developing a fearless gut instinct.”

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Castle on the Hill has been described as a love letter to Suffolk

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Sheeran’s first gig in 2005 appears to have featured 40 songs

Posters from the tour with Just Jack are hung alongside promotions for other gigs around Suffolk and Norfolk, where Sheeran made his name.

There are also photos of his time at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, Suffolk, where Sheeran was was voted “most likely to be famous”.

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Nizlopi, Example and Just Jack helped Sheeran reach new audiences

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John Sheeran says his son benefitted massively from his school in Framlingham

A 2004 school report describes the form 8JE student as a “natural performer”.

“Obviously at the moment his voice is beginning to change although he still has quite a lot in his higher register,” it said.

Mr Sheeran said he wanted the exhibition to showcase his son’s relationship with the county, which will be further enhanced at the weekend when he ends his worldwide Divide tour with four shows at Chantry Park, Ipswich.

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A large painting by Colin Davidson and several studies are on display

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Sheeran worked with Damien Hirst to create a spin painting for the Divide album artwork

It also shows the family’s love of art and features a large painting Sheeran made alongside Damien Hirst. A portrait by Colin Davidson takes centre stage.

In a foreword to the exhibition book, Sheeran speaks of his love for the county which nurtured his talents.

“I am so happy to celebrate the end of my two-year world tour with the four homecoming gigs in Ipswich,” he said. “Suffolk means so much to me.”

Admission to the exhibition, which runs until 3 May 2020, is free.

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