Norfolk culture takes starring role

From Holkham beach to Norwich's Elm Hill, directors have not been slow to showcase Norfolk's beauty. But the culture of the county has mostly been passed over by filmmakers, until now.

From Holkham beach to Norwich's Elm Hill, directors have not been slow to showcase Norfolk's beauty.

But the culture of the county has mostly been passed over by filmmakers, until now.

A film based on some Norfolk tales is coming to a screen near you - but the screens are not exactly those you might expect. Snapped! The Movie will be on show in electrical shops, pubs, piers, museums, theatres and anywhere else there is a screen and people willing to show it.

By the end of this month it should be in 100 surprise venues around Norfolk and the Broads. Watching the 20-minute film is free - the idea is that passers-by spot a poster in the window and wander in to watch.

The film, featuring four Norfolk actors, is designed to promote tourism and make people aware of the county's culture, in the same way that people see Irish culture as a reason in itself for visiting the country.

It has been produced by Norwich-based Spinoff Theatre, which has managed to make the project something of a triumph out of disaster. There was no funding available for its usual summer show, forcing it to do something different instead.

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Artistic director Eve Stebbing said: “With Norfolk although we have got a unique dialect, unique humour and unique stories, people don't really know about it. People are aware of Irish culture, but they never think about Norfolk culture.

“It does increase the economic potential for the Broads in the summer if people know how special the place they are in is. We want to bring people to the Broads. We want visitors to understand a bit more, not just about the dialect and the stories, but about the way we look at things around here, which is a bit unique and funny. It is great fun, and fun for local people to watch their stories too.

“We also want to show how beautiful the Norfolk landscape is.”

The film, which is set in the 1930s, sees two journalists from the Times arrive in the Broads in search of a story about smuggling.

They stumble across a pub run by Ma Storm, partly inspired by Black Anna, the famous former landlady of the Jolly Butchers in Norwich. In the film Ma Storm is the master smuggler of Norfolk, and she leads the two journalists on a merry dance.

Among the locations featured on screen are Burgh Castle, the Locks Inn at Geldeston, the grounds of Langley School, and the White Lion at Aldeby. The film is based on tales collected from Norfolk people, in Norfolk dialect.

Miss Stebbing said: “I wouldn't say they are true, but they are all real. They are all stories we have collected from old Norfolk boys.

“Gin and tobacco used to be smuggled around the Broads, and tea - apparently there was a lot of tea smuggling in Norfolk.

“The idea is that wherever you go in Norfolk you will be able to see the film. Hopefully it will help us to bring our work to new audiences.”

The project has had more than £4,000 of Broads and Rivers Leader Plus funding, a government and European Union scheme which is investing money to help the Broads.

It will be shown in venues such as the Forum in Norwich, the Britannia Pier in Yarmouth, Westgate department store in Beccles, Hughes and Taylor's electrical stores in Beccles, the Fleece Inn in Bungay, Cromer Museum and the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Museum.

With 30 venues already arranged, 70 more are still needed, and the team is keen to hear from any businesses or other venues willing to put it on.

If you can offer a venue for the film to be shown, contact Miss Stebbing on 01603 663761 or email info@spinofftheatre.co.uk

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