North Norfolk art extravaganza prepares to launch

Artists, musicians, writers, poets and singers are preparing to take north Norfolk by storm as the second Coast Festival gets underway this weekend.

Following the success of 2010's debut, more than 35 venues from Overstrand to Sheringham and inland to Felbrigg and Alby will host eight days of exhibitions, installations, performances and workshops.

The programme for the 2011 festival - 'On The Brink' - promises to offer something for everyone, including an expanded childrens programme and more than 50 free events.

There will be many opportunities for visitors to enjoy hands on activities - including suggesting ideas for a publicly inspired painting and the opportunity to decorate a giant globe - or take part in workshops and surgeries with professional artists. Youngsters will be spoilt for choice with chances to show off their creative side from taking part in a rap poetry to creating their own puppets.

Mike Pert, Coast chairman, said: 'The format is pretty much the same (as last year) covering all aspects of the arts; music, theatre, film, visual arts and 'join in' art for children. But it's a totally different collection of artists so if people enjoyed last year hopefully they're going to enjoy it eve more this year because we have some really exciting things going on.'

Music will also feature strongly amongst the art with Sheringham's Little Theatre hosting lively string quartet Bojangles and Overstand Church holding a series of five concerts, including a night of Bach by Candlelight and the finale of community singing project Sounds Fantastic.

Raucous harmonies will also close the festival when the boogie woogie jive stylings of The Fabulous Swinging Chandeliers take to the stage at Northrepps Cottage.

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Mr Pert said he was looking forward to catching as many of the 85 events going on as possible and thought it was good to have Coast back on the agenda, which has already developed a positive reputation throughout East Anglia.

'A couple of us went up to the launch of Black History month at (Norwich) city hall and there was a huge amount of interest because we were putting programmes out. And there were people saying they were going to bring parties from Norwich down so it's gaining a bit of ground,' he added.

'I think it's an enormous benefit to have that sort of cohesion and continuity between Cromer and Sheringham. It helps bring them together and the bits inbetween and the outlying villages.'

? The festival runs from Saturday until Monday 31. A full programme of events is available at Merchants' Place, Cromer and Upcher Community Partnership in Sheringham. Booking is now open for all ticketed events. Bookings can be made in person from Merchants' Place, by calling 01263 519454 or online at

? Organisers had cause for celebration ahead of Saturday's launchafter the festival was commemorated at a national awards ceremony earlier this month. After winning the regional heat of the Action for Market Towns annual awards Coast went on to be presented with the 'Highly Transferable Project' commendation at the national finals last Thursday.

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