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Big chance for young actors

PUBLISHED: 16:32 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:56 13 July 2010

North Norfolk's budding young actors are to get the stage they need to showcase their talent.

A cash injection into the arts from Norfolk County Council will boost their chances of making it big on the regional - or even national - arts scene.

North Norfolk's budding young actors are to get the stage they need to showcase their talent.

A cash injection into the arts from Norfolk County Council will boost their chances of making it big on the regional - or even national - arts scene.

Drama, dance and music sessions, which build confidence and career skills in a fun setting, are already being held in North Walsham and Sheringham.

Now, thanks to a 47pc rise in grant help from County Hall, they will spread to Cromer, Holt, Fakenham, Wells and Stalham in the autumn.

The news comes as demand soared this year for youth theatre outlets in the district, seeing 400 young people apply for 80 workshop places in an It's Our Theatre hip-hop street skills scheme, run through the Sheringham Little Theatre, which is organising the outreach work.

“It has been an incredible success, and shows that young people desperately wanted to get involved with arts activities. This extra money is a massive help,” said its artistic director Debbie Thompson.

Youngsters were encouraged to get involved with performing arts skills, which were good at building their confidence and providing life-enhancing skills which were useful in their search for careers, she added.

More than 130 of them, aged four to 16 were already involved at Sheringham and North Walsham, and the funding meant the project could be expanded to the other towns, taking people up to the age of 25.

The sessions were tailored to the needs and wishes of each group, with drama, dance and music on offer, as well as the chance to learn back-stage and technical skills.

Young people could also take part in nationally-recognised Arts Awards, for performing and stage work, which boosted their job-hunting CVs.

The extra Norfolk County Council money sees the theatre's grant rise from £4,080 last year to £6,000 this year.

Youth outreach work costs the theatre more than £40,000 a year, with other funding coming from North Norfolk's community partnership district council and Sheringham town council.

Mrs Thompson said: “As well as making friends, it makes them more rounded people, more confident and grounded. The arts enrich everyone's life.”

The extra grant cash is part of a countywide £342,370 package helping two dozen arts organisations across Norfolk.

Councillor John Gretton, cabinet member for cultural services at Norfolk County Council, said: “It is a key priority for the county arts budget to ensure arts provision is accessible to everyone, including the rural communities, which form a huge part of Norfolk's population.”

And the council's head of arts, Mari Martin, added: “Norfolk's cultural sector is a big part of why people love living here, and why visitors come to the county. It's essential that the sector is supported and allowed to grow so it can realise its ambitions and put Norfolk on the arts map, on a regional and national level.”

Any youngsters wanting to find out more about the youth theatre projects in their area should contact Bridget Robinson on 07748 963880.

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