Seaside theatre captured on film by Paston students

A snapshot of the state of seaside entertain was given a film premiere in north Norfolk at the weekend.

Beach Balls and Curtain calls was a 20-minute documentary made by media students which focused on the history and current condition of show business in theatres around the East Anglia coastline.

The mini movie was part of a �25,000 project backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund which got young people involved in researching and documenting the local seaside entertainment industry.

The film included interviews with well-known actors with local connections Roger Lloyd-Pack and Desmond Barrit talking about their early days in summer repertory theatre.

Performing one play at night and learning lines for another during the day provided an unrivalled training ground which has declined over the years apart from in a handful of venues such as Sheringham Little Theatre.

There were also scenes from theatres in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, as well as stills showing flashbacks to the heydays of coastal venues.

Tom Westwood, media and film teacher at Paston Sixth Form College, said 16 students on creative and media diploma, who did the project in their own time, had gained a lot of skills and experience to help them with their studies.

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'Roger Lloyd Pack was their first big interview and they showed great professionalism. They came back buzzing afterwards, and it also opened their eyes to seaside entertainment,' he added.

After Friday night's showing Anne Mason from the Heritage Lottery Fund's regional committee praised the students for presenting the film in 'an exciting and engaging way' so future generations would learn about the subject.

She stressed that heritage was 'not just about castles and stately homes' but also embraced how people used to enjoy culture, traditions and leisure time.

The fund had given �290m to 3,000 projects since 1994, she added.

The Generation film team were Steven Banford, Matthew Betts, Lucy Bonshor, Jack Brophy (director), Alice Caton, Jess Chamberlain, Jacob D'Lee, Anna-May Follas-Shell (producer), Taya-Rae Fuller, Alice Hughes, Jacob Millard, Liam Pugh, Sam Spencer, Tanya Tappenden, Josh Thain and Ian Webster.