Major £4m Broads project takes step forward after theatre project appointed to lead drama section

Work nears completion on the restoration of the turn tide jetty on Breydon Water. The Albion Wherry

Work nears completion on the restoration of the turn tide jetty on Breydon Water. The Albion Wherry passing the jetty. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Nineteenth century life on Norfolk's marshes could be brought to the stage as part of a £4m scheme to promote and protect the Broads' future.

Ivan Cutting, Eastern Angles writer and director

Ivan Cutting, Eastern Angles writer and director - Credit: Archant

The Water, Mills and Marshes project has moved forward after Eastern Angles Theatre Company was chosen to take the lead on a section focusing on drama.

Backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the major vision hopes to enrich and celebrate heritage sites over the Broads, between Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Acle and Loddon.

One of the 38 projects to be delivered as part of the work is a piece of drama detailing the history of the drained Broadland marshes and those who shaped the landscape.

The Broads Authority, which is leading the overall project with 55 partner organisations, has now appointed Eastern Angles to take on the section.

Ivan Cutting, director of the theatre company, said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity to work on a project that really celebrates local heritage, landscape and sense of place - as a theatre company these themes are in our DNA.'

He said they hoped to develop a piece called Breydon Crowther, which would explore life on the marshes in the late 1800s.

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'It's a play that gives a very vivid picture of the way people and place interacted,' he said. 'The production would be toured all over East Anglia making use of our network of venues where local promoters are enthusiastic about welcoming theatre into their communities as well as taking the show to some intriguing new venues too.

'In parallel we are suggesting working with local enthusiasts, experts and communities on another piece of interactive contemporary theatre taking a look at the current and future ethical, environmental and economic issues for this very special piece of countryside.'

The show would be targeted for 2019/20 and would link across other projects.

So far, Water, Mills and Marshes has received an earmarked grant of £2.6m from the HLF, which, in essence, means the money has been put aside. It will be confirmed with a second round application to the HLF, which is due to be submitted next May.

It will be added to £1.7m extra cash, partly generated by donations, meaning the project - which will be in force from 2018 to 2022 - should benefit from more than £4m.

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