New Cromer and Sheringham arts festival chairman

A man with a passion for painting and photography has taken over the helm of North Norfolk's new arts festival.

Mike Pert is chairman of the Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival as it plans for its second year, after a successful debut this autumn.

The October half term week event will again be a mixture of visual arts, music, drama, literature and film at a series of venues in and round the two towns.

A suggested theme for the festival was 'on the brink' picking up on the area's seaside location, said Mr Pert, but details of the programme would be firmed up in the New Year.

North Norfolk's natural surroundings and 'pure light' were its big attractions to many artists over the years, he added.

'A lot of artists move here to work in a more peaceful environment but are emerging from the woodwork now,' said Mr Pert, 63, who has been an architectural design consultant for 40 years.

His painting hobby which keeps him busy for 'several hours a week' doing semi abstract work, some of which is inspired by Japanese culture, was a contrast to his day job.

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'The architecture is more structured . The painting is an escape from that strict form,' he explained.

Mr Pert also enjoys capturing images, mainly street scenes, on his camera and is a member of the Royal Photographic Society and Norfolk Photographic Group.

Born in Sheringham, he initially worked in London and then Scotland before returning to Norfolk in 1982. He is now in private practice having previously had a seven-year spell as regional buildings manager for the National Trust.

Mr Pert is also a musician, having played in various bands, including drums in the Miscellany jazz and big band, and combined guitar and vocals in a Sheringham-based folk group called Seagull then South Street with a handful of friends, who used to tour the Broads on sailing boat in summer and entertain on the route.

He said the festival was 'kicking off well.' It had taken part in a joint meeting with other North Norfolk festivals aimed at joining forces, and reducing costs, with publicity and trying to avoid programming clashes.

The 2011 Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival will run from October 22-30. More information at www.casaf.co.uk

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