First ever arts festival hailed a success

The first ever joint arts festival in Cromer and Sheringham which ended at the weekend has been hailed a success by its chairman.

The programme which hosted more than 60 events from art and literature to music and theatre had attracted crowds beyond the expectations of organisers said Tim Bartlett.

'It really has been a nine day wonder,' he said. 'It has had an enthusiastic reception both from the people who took part and the public who visited. It showed this area needs such a festival as part of local life.'

A meeting would be held later in the week to assess the event but it was hoped bring it back again next year.

Highlights included a display of artwork by 90-year-old Pam Gurney which attracted a staggering 800 people to a small gallery at Merchants' Place in Cromer during the week - with people drawn by the 'quality of work and great Norfolk character.'

A modern jazz night at Cromer's Red Lion, by Cyan Traces, attracted 100 people. There was also a good turnout, and sales, at a display of art by Paston College students at Cromer cemetery chapel.

And people had been fascinated by the outdoor artworks created by Maori George Nuku at West Runton's old brickworks - influenced by the coastal surroundings - such as strings stretched from poles representing the vapour trails of passing aircraft.

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Other events during the festival included contemporary nd surrealist art, sculpture, glassmaking, community film-making, drama, book and poetry sessions, classical music, underwater nature photography and a display of Twitter style 'outing' messages from gay people.

'Everything has been a highlight,' said Mr Bartlett who said the festival demonstrated an appetite for arts n the area which had drawn in people from farther afield. A survey would be done among local traders to see if it had also boosted their takings in half term week.

Among the events on the final weekend was a stage show by youngsters at the Sheringham Little Theatre, which is part of a Lottery funded project to explore seaside entertainment.

The 14-strong team, after just a two-day workshop, put on a variety show which included comedy, song and dance picking up seaside themes ranging from sandcastles and Punch and Judy to rain and old people in deckchairs,