AUDIO: Norwich pensioner reads Shakespeare thanks to Red Nose Day

It is a Shakespearean tale of comedy and romance which has inspired thousands of actors to take to the stage each year.

Set in the sultry climate of Sicily, Much Ado About Nothing follows the Italian adventurers of Claudio and Benedick as they embark on a quest of love and tragedy in the Mediterranean.

And now the literary treasure is being brought to the shores of East Anglia for a new production featuring the stories and dialect of Norfolk people.

Spin-Off Theatre have spent two years creating a Norfolk production of the play, which uses audio recordings of people's memories from Norwich and Wymondham.

The project was made possible with help from the Norwich Evening News and the Norfolk Community Foundation who awarded the company �675 to buy audio recording equipment during last year's Comic Relief Community Cash Campaign.

And yesterday, Norwich pensioner Herbert Jessett gave his contribution to the cause by reading a Shakespearean extract in true Norfolk tongue.

The 87-year-old from Bury Street, Norwich, said: 'I thought it was all a good bit of fun really. I think the theatre is doing an important job by recording these Norfolk stories otherwise the way we speak and the way we live will all be lost.'

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Performers will launch the production at Wymondham High School Studio On Wednesday May 4.

All the recordings collated by the Spin-Off Theatre will be contributed to the Norfolk Archive to create a permanent register of life in the county.

Artistic director of Spin-Off Theatre, Eve Stebbing, said: 'In this bleak time for arts funding, it's good to know that there are grant making bodies who see the potential in our work. This microphone will be used for many recordings over the years, and it's already at work on the tales of Norwich.'

Meanwhile, small organisations have the chance to apply for a wedge of �50,000 as part of this year's Evening News and Red Nose Day Community Cash Campaign.

The grants between �500 and �1,000 are available to groups run by local people, with an income of less than �50,000 in the last year, who are in the Norwich City Council local authority area, and are working within a disadvantaged or deprived community.

Forms can be obtained by writing to Red Nose Day Community Cash, Evening News, Prospect House, in Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

Application forms can also be picked up from the Evening News office at Prospect House, in Rouen Road, Norwich, or downloaded from our website:

The deadline for applications is on Friday, March 18, 2011.

Completed applications should be sent to Norfolk Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1SH.

To listen to audio of Herbert reading an extract of the play in his Norfolk dialect click on the audio link above.