Cash rescue for Festival of Norfolk

Tara GreavesA series of dramatic performances, inspired by Norfolk, are going to be awlroite' thanks to an emergency cash injection. The Festival of Norfolk, headlined by the ever-popular Sid Kipper, will take to the stage in April.Tara Greaves

I'nt that marvellous? A series of dramatic performances, inspired by Norfolk, are going to be 'awlroite' thanks to an emergency cash injection.

The future of the Festival of Norfolk, headlined by the ever-popular Sid Kipper, was in doubt after it was hit by financial problems.

As reported in the EDP, theatre chiefs made a last-minute plea to businesses and individuals to help raise the �4,000 needed to put on the unique performances.

And now, thanks to funding from Norfolk County Council and others, the Spin-Off Theatre company will be able to take to the stage - and the pub, in one case.

Eve Stebbing, artistic director and writer, said: 'It's been a very hard few weeks.

'I wondered whether we would pull it off but, thank goodness, at the final hour, the money we needed has come through.'

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The festival has been running for 12 years and, after a year off last year, is back by popular demand.

'We have a cast of wonderful actors, all are professionals delighted to be working back in Norfolk,' she added.

The festival includes a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing along with a towering one-man storytelling epic by Norfolk dialect performer Paul Preston Mills.

In addition to shows in the formal setting of the Puppet Theatre, events will also take place in the Barford Cock and the Express Section of the Millennium Library in Norwich.

To book tickets for all the events call 01603 663676.

PERFORMANCE DETAILS

t April 2, 1-1.30pm. Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library express section, Norwich. Cost: Free. Lunchtime book launch: The Beast of the East II: A Norfolk Odyssey. A fast-moving mini epic to follow The Beast of the East I.

t April 2, 8pm. Barford Cock, Norfolk. Cost: Free. Norfeo! Norfolk's answer to the Orpheus myth. Real dark tales of Aldeby, Wheatacre and Burgh St Peter are woven together with a haunting oboe score to create a legend to thrill, amuse and confound. Please order supper early, and tell the landlord you are there for the show on arrival.

t April 3, 1-1.30pm. Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library express, Norwich. Cost: Free. Stories of the herring trade and herring mythology.

t April 3, 7.30pm. Norwich Puppet Theatre. Cost: �6.50. Sid Kipper: Silver Darlings. Silver Darling is an old Norfolk fisherman's term for the herring, which at one time symbolised wealth in these parts. To celebrate his silver anniversary as a megastar, Kipper reveals a shimmering haul of his most successful songs.

t April 4, 1-1.30pm. Norfolk and Norwich Millennium express, Norwich. Cost: Free. Extracts from Mardling the Bard: A Dog's Tale. Much Ado About Nothing retold using stories, gossip and word play from Wymondham.

t April 4, 8pm. Norwich Puppet Theatre. Cost: �6.50. Mardling the Bard: A Dog's Tale. If you have ever wondered what Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing would look like from the point of view of its star bloodhound, Dogberry, now is your chance to find out.

t April 5, 3pm. Norwich Puppet Theatre. Cost: �5. Norfeo! Another chance to see Norfolk's answer to the Orpheus myth. Real dark tales of Aldeby, Wheatacre and Burgh St Peter are woven together with a haunting oboe score to create a legend to thrill, amuse and confound. (Adult storytelling, not suitable for children.)

t April 5, 8pm. Norwich Puppet Theatre. Cost: �6.50. Mardling the Bard: A Dog's Tale. If you have ever wondered what Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing would look like from the point of view of its star bloodhound, Dogberry, now is your chance to find out.