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Bringing the Bard to the people of North Walsham – by bike

A pedal-powered theatre company is bringing a novel production of a Shakespeare comedy to a Norfolk college – by bicycle.

The Handlebards touring drama group has taken the classic plays of England’s most famous writer to two countries and three continents since it was set up on a shoestring four years ago.

A four-strong female cast will perform As You Like It in the grounds of Paston Sixth Form College (Lawns site) at North Walsham on Friday June 9 – in a picnic-style show organised by the Sheringham Little Theatre.

The plays are billed as energetic, chaotic, full of laughter, and featuring lots of costume changes and cross-dressing for the single sex cast.

Hand-crafted Pashley bikes are used in the show, and – with trailers – to provide sustainable transport for the show’s set, props and costumes as well as cast.

The Handlebards aim to take Shakespeare to communities in a eco-friendly, accessible way. They have also promoted British culture on tour in Africa and Asia.

As You Like It will tell the story of lovers Rosalind and Orlando who have been forced into exile in the Forest of Arden and find themselves entangled in a game of love, lust and mistaken identity.

Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “Our theatre has close links with Paston College, especially its drama department, and we are delighted to be able to link up with the college again to stage this novel outdoor Shakespeare production, which should be fun for students and local families alike.”

Doors open at 6pm, with audience members encouraged to pack a picnic and chairs – but to bring ponchos and raincoats, not umbrellas, in case the weather is wet. The show runs from 7pm to 9pm.

For tickets (£12, students £6) and more information contact the Little Theatre box office on 01263 822347 or visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

The HandleBards taking Shakespeare on tour – with pedal power. Picture: Rah Petherbridge

Search is on for young dancer to star in family show

The search is on for a local performer to join the cast of a laugh-a-minute family show featuring characters created by David Walliams.

The producers of Gangsta Granny, which comes to Norwich Theatre Royal on July 13-15, are looking for someone to play the role of Diane in the show opposite the professional cast.

The successful performer will have a short solo dance in the middle of the show as well as being part of the finale routine. They must be 16 years old in August this year but be able to play a character who is 11-12 years old.

The successful dancer will get a video link to learn the routine. They will not need to rehearse with the cast but will need to commit to each performance of the show in Norwich.

To apply for the role, just email gangstagranny@birminghamstage.com and the production team will get back with more information.

Alison Fitzjohn, of Birmingham Stage Company which is producing the show, said: “It is a fun role to play. It will also be great for an up-and-coming dancer to have a show like this on their CV. Gangsta Granny is creating a buzz around the country and audiences are loving the chance to see this favourite book brought to life.”

The show itself tells the story of Ben who usually spends Friday evening with Granny eating cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake. But his weekly visit gets much exciting when Granny reveals a secret which sees the pair of them embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000

 

Half-term fun outside and in

A host of children’s activities will be on offer at Cromer, North Walsham and Stalham community sports centres over the forthcoming May half-term.

The sessions offer youngsters aged between four and 12 the chance to take part in football fun days, shooting, skating and street-dancing, as well as summer sports days and multi-sports events.

The events will take place between Tuesday, May 30, and Friday, June 2, at the North Norfolk District Council-managed centres.

As well as these activities, there are countryside events taking place in Holt Country Park and Sadler’s Wood, North Walsham. The fun on offer includes shelter-building, a look at amphibians, reptiles and lizards and the chance to build and launch a water rocket.

All-day activities are priced at £10 while shorter sessions are priced between £2 and £3.50. To make things easier for parents, there is the added option of arranging early drop-offs and late pick-ups for just £2 at some of the events.

Maggie Prior, cabinet member for leisure, health and wellbeing, said: “These sessions offer great fun for children while keeping them busy and healthy.”

To download a brochure with more details, visit www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/sports

To book the sports-centre events, visit www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/book. Booking is not required for the countryside events at Holt Country Park and Sadler’s Wood, but children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. For further details of these activities, email anne-marie.gedge@north-norfolk.gov.uk or call 07920 576634.

Man jailed for 10 years following North Walsham hit and run

A man has been jailed after a hit and run in North Walsham last year which left the victim with serious leg injuries.

Darren Blackmore, aged 43 and of Laburnum Close in Wymondham, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent at an earlier hearing and was sentenced to 10 years in prison at Norwich Crown Court today (Friday 5 May).

Blackmore was driving a Peugeot 307 when he deliberately drove at a 30-year-old man as he was walking with two male friends through the Vicarage Car Park at 12.55am on Saturday 23 July 2016.

CCTV footage released by detectives following the incident showed the victim being knocked into the air and up to 15 feet from point of contact. The vehicle was then driven around the car park before a second attempt is made to drive towards the victim.

The court heard how Blackmore had travelled to North Walsham earlier that evening after being called by a friend who told him that they had been mugged.

Blackmore wrongly identified three men who he believed to have committed the alleged crime as they walked through the Vicarage Car Park and it was at that point that Blackmore drove at speed into the car park and straight at the victim, knocking him into the air.

The victim suffered a broken pelvis and serious leg injuries.

Detective Inspector Matt Dyson said: “This was a shocking crime which has had a significant impact on the victim and could have had potentially fatal consequences.

“The very serious deliberate act was most likely due to a relatively minor matter earlier the evening before, a matter that the victim and his friends had no part in. We thank the press and public for the positive response in relation to the initial press release and we hope that the sentencing provides some comfort for the victim.”

Paston and City College merger plans

Paston Sixth Forma and Norwich City College are in discussions on closer working to widen choice of courses available in North Norfolk.

The proposal for a merger between the two colleges is a recommendation arising from the Area Review of Post-16 Education and Training in Norfolk and Suffolk, which has been led by the FE commissioner, Richard Atkins.

The aim is to provide young people in North Norfolk with a greater choice of courses at 16, with less distance to travel to access these opportunities.

The colleges, both of which have recent ‘Good’ ratings from Ofsted, will begin a public consultation in June working towards a merger. The final decisiowill rest with the governing bodies of each college. If given the go ahead, a new partnership between the two colleges could be in place by December 2017.

A joint statement from Paston Sixth Form College and City College Norwich, said: “We are exploring opportunities for a potential merger, in order to increase and enhance the choice and breadth of A-level, further education, apprenticeships and degree level courses.

Our objective is to better serve the needs and aspirations of young people and ensure a skilled, local workforce for both emerging and established industries and in the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership priority sectors. Our approach has been to look at where we can complement existing strengths, and enhance provision, particularly where there are identified gaps.

“Students, parents and staff in both institutions can rest assured that each college remains committed to maintaining and developing our recognised strengths and distinct specialisms.”

14 year old girl scores high in refereeing

A 14 year old girl from North Walsham is set to take charge of both boys and girls football matches in the county after she passed her level 8 youth football referee exams with the highest score of any candidate in Norfolk.

Gracie East, a student at North Walsham High School, was the youngest candidate taking the exams, and achieved a score of 38 out of 42.

She is already booked up to referee youth games on both Saturdays and Sundays for the next few weeks, with her first game in charge an Under 10s Boys match. When she is 16, she will be able to take charge of any age-group game, but until then she is restricted to refereeing teams younger than herself.

Gracie is a member of the Norfolk FA Youth Council and is the Female Participation Support lead. A keen footballer herself, she became interested in refereeing around a year ago.

“I love football, but girls football is not yet that big in the county,” said Gracie. “Refereeing gives me the chance to be involved in both the boys and girls games.”

Gracie is not afraid of taking charge of boys games, saying, “As soon as you blow the whistle, you show them who is in charge of the game. I know what I’m there to do, and I know the rules. You do have to be quite strong, and not take any nonsense.

“I like the pressure you get as a referee. You know it’s your game – I like being in charge.”

Gracie hopes to follow a career in football.

REVIEW: Running Wild is ‘a feast for eyes, ears and emotions’

The Children’s Touring Partnership took to the stage in Norwich last night with Running Wild, an adaption by Samuel Adamson of the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name.
This was a feast for the eyes, ears and emotions. Laughter, sadness and at times fear are felt through the scary rainforest adventure of of nine-year-old Lilly. The story has a serious message of both animal conservation and relationships and love, between humans and animals – elephant Oona, who is puppeteered by four people,  orangutans, a tiger, a crocodile and rainforest birds.
The audience is totally immersed into the sights and sounds of the Indonesian rainforest. The clever set design and lighting along with the sound effects add to the experience. The physical theatre skills of all the puppeteers was pure genius. You literally watch them breathe life into the puppets… they actually come to life before your eyes. I became so invested that I no longer saw the puppeteers.

The movements, motion and animal sounds are created by the cast and you just know that they must have spent hours watching and researching real animals in order to recreate and mimic.

A special mention must go to 12-year-old Annika Whiston, who played the lead role of Lilly and rarely left the stage. She portrayed the role beautifully and with great maturity. Every emotion and relationship she had I felt, bringing me to tears, more than once, much to my own daughter’s horror.

Morpurgo was inspired to write this modern-day Jungle Book by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, and enjoying an elephant ride on the beach when the Boxing Day tsunami hit.  The elephant ran inland and saved her life. When the author read of Amber’s story, he said it was “the one bit of hope amid the destruction”.

The production will be working during the tour to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

There has been great take up by schools with a number of performances throughout the day times but it is most definitely not just for children.
There are still tickets available, if you have not seen it then I urge you to make the time. I promise you will not be disappointed. It will make you laugh and possible cry but most of all it will make you think.

A must-see piece of theatre.

 

Running Wild is on until April 29. Wed, Fri and Sat 7.30pm, Wed & Sat 2.30pm, Thur 11am. Tickets £7-£21.  BOX OFFICE 01603 630000.  www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

 

KIM and RUBY CHAMBERS

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures: Dan Tsantilis

Join the charge this bank holiday for the East Anglian Air Ambulance

The Archdeacon’s Charge, an annual sponsored fun run or walk founded by the Venerable John Ashe, Archdeacon of Lynn, will take place on Monday (May 1) at Wolterton Hall, raising money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and the Diocese of Norwich Church of England.

All are welcome to walk or run the circuit. There will be a circuit of 2.5 miles available to walk or run, or if you feel up to a challenge you can complete the circuit up to four times completing a distance of up to 10 miles.

Alternatively, families can go along and enjoy a picnic and entertainment. There is plenty to do and see, such as a scenic walk around the grounds of a rarely-seen private stately home, food and drink on offer, classic cars, live music, craft market, and have-a-go activities such as archery.

Their Royal Highnesses’ Prince & Princess Michael of Kent will be attending this year, as special guests of Peter Sheppard and Keith Day, the owners of Wolterton Hall.

Holly Lambert, fundraising manager for EAAA in Norfolk, said: “We are honoured, once again, to be one of the chosen charities for the Archdeacon’s Charge, and always look forward to this fantastic event.”

See more at www.dioceseofnorwich.org/news/events/archdeacons-charge/.