Norfolk and Norwich Festival competition urges people to follow the signs
From obscure country lanes to more obvious urban thoroughfares, road signs from across Norfolk will be scrutinised when a treasure hunt with a difference gets under way in May.
The Norfolk and Norwich Festival (NNF) is launching Street Hunt, a competition based on road signs across the county.
Individuals, families and groups of friends will be scurrying around Norfolk to match 58 pictures of road signs and their surroundings, but with the vital name of the street blanked out.
And the first person to reveal a poem made up from the missing names could win up to �10,000.
Art event creater Joshua Sofaer, who was commissioned by the NNF to create the project, scoured a Norfolk A to Z to create a poem crafted from the names, before setting off to capture images as clues.
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They have been created in a Street Hunt book which will go on sale at The Book Hive, on London Road, in Norwich at midnight on May 5. A total of 1,000 copies of the book will be printed and the sales of the book will contribute to the prize fund.
Mr Sofaer, who lives in Wirksworth, in Derbyshire, said he had been discussing a project with the former festival director Jonathan Holloway for a number of years.
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'They wanted me to come up with an idea that involved the festival goers in an active way,' he said. 'They wanted something that got people out and about rather than in a theatre or art gallery.'
Through the project he has got to know the county very well and he even wrote-off his car in a ditch on one of his fact-finding missions.
'There is a whole vocab of Norfolk street names', he said.'I have discovered Norfolk through this project...
'The street signs themselves are very varying from handmade to contemporary.
'There are lots of historical and odd names and there are ones that you think 'why are they called that?'
'It has been brilliant for me to discover the county. It does feel quite far removed, even though it is in central England. The coast is beautiful.
He said he had been struck by communities that were really cut off while he had been travelling around.
The event could run until May 6 2016 and if nobody solves the puzzle the prize fund will be donated to improve road signage in Norfolk.
On the eve of the festival, May 5, the 38-year-old will drive up to Norwich with 1,000 copies of the book.
'If you want to win it, you will have to team up with people', he said.
'What I am really interested in is getting people involved in things.
'The real idea is to get people out and talking to people. It should be a real family thing.'
He advised the best thing to do was to start off with what you know.
'You may find you already know five or six. Then you can start filling in the gaps', he said. 'Even if you are working on it full time, it is still going to take you quite a bit of time.
'It is something you might want to have in the car and do over the next months or even years', he added.
Mr Sofaer said that he was going to delete all the information from his computer and a hard copy of the answers would be locked in a safe.
Street Hunt costs �10. You can reserve a copy of the book by buying a special voucher from the festival box office at the Theatre Royal. You can exchange this for – or buy – a copy of the book from The Book Hive at midnight on May 5.
For more information visit www.streethunt.co.uk. Street Hunt can also be followed on twitter – @winstreethunt – or visit the Street Hunt Facebook page.
• NNF11 runs from May 6 to 21. You can book online at www.nnfestvial.org.uk/nnf11, by phone on 01603 766400 or at the Norwich Theatre Royal box office