Non-stop funat dialect and drama feast

Eve Stebbing directs local fringe group Spin-Off Theatre in a festival of Norfolk-inspired drama Norfolk Non-Stop. This feast of dialect and drama promises something to appeal to all tastes and many of the events can even be washed down with a good pint of ale.

Eve Stebbing directs local fringe group Spin-Off Theatre in a festival of Norfolk-inspired drama Norfolk Non-Stop. This feast of dialect and drama promises something to appeal to all tastes and many of the events can even be washed down with a good pint of ale.

Events range from free lunchtime tasters at The Forum in Norwich full evening shows.

At the opening event on Monday, March 6, you can pop into the library at Norwich during your lunchtime and sample readings from the work of Victorian Norfolk author, Mary Mann - a novelist whose humour and pathos is said to rival Thomas Hardy.

Then, at suppertime, you can sit down in the company of Radio 4 voice, Patience Tomlinson, in the Origins cinema and recapture her excitement, hearing how the Norfolk-born actress discovered Mann's life and work in a personal voyage of discovery.


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If you miss out on this event, there's an exhibition of the author's manuscripts and personal trinkets upstairs in the heritage section of The Forum, which runs all the week.

Tuesday night is a treat for all Shakespeare lovers as Midsummer Night's Dream gets a reworking - Norfolk style. This comedy of mistaken identity and daft goings-on in the woods incorporates mardling and molly dancing as tragedy gets turned on its head and love wins the day. It promises an hour and a bit of classical squit. The show takes place upstairs at the Unthank Arms performed by a professional cast.

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If you can't make it at supper time, you can get a sneak preview at the library Tuesday lunchtime.

Wednesday sees the festival stray beyond the city limits as a new pub legend stamps the sawdust of the Barford Cock on the Hingham/Watton road. Real-life Norfolk tales get woven up with the Greek myth of Perseus (you remember him: the one who had to bring back the head of the Gorgon) to create a brand new legend.

The show's called Snake Bite! and promises to grab you from the very start. Don't despair if you're tied to the city, however, because you can nip into the express section of the library at lunchtime for the bite-size version and polish up on your own Norfolk dialect in a bit of audience participation at the same time.

Thursday not only brings another chance to see Mardling the Bard, but also gives you an excuse for a bit of a workout as you try your own hand at Norfolk storytelling in a half-hour session which is guaranteed to free your mind to the Norfolk muse.

Lastly, Friday March 10 is a whole day given to our very own folk music with a brief talk in the library at lunchtime and a whole evening of kicking up the sawdust at the Shed on Sprowston Road with Rig-a-Jig-Jig.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

t Monday March 10: 12.30-1.30pm Forum Library Express, free readings from Mary Mann; 7.30 pm, Origins cinema, A Tale that is Told, Mary Mann. Tickets £6.50.

t Tuesday: 12.30-1.30pm, Forum Library Express, free extracts from Mardling the Bard; 8pm, upstairs at the Unthank Arms, Mardling the Bard.

t Wednesday: 12.30-1.30pm, Forum Library Express, free extracts from Snake Bite! 8pm, Barford Cock, Snake Bite! Free admission.

t Thursday: 12.30-1.30pm, workshop in Norfolk Mardling, Forum Library Express; 8pm, upstairs at the Unthank Arms, Mardling the Bard. Tickets £5.

t Friday March 10: 12.30-1.30pm, Forum Library Express, free ten-minute talk on Norfolk folk music; 8.30pm, The Shed, Sprowston Road, Rig-a-Jig-Jig. Admission free.

Box office: 01603 663676. No credit card facility.

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