Cromer and Sheringham arts festival launches

A wave of paintings, photography, crafts, music, drama and literature rolls into North Norfolk at the weekend as Cromer and Sheringham launches its first ever arts festival.

Nine days of events range from traditional, surreal and contemporary art shows to classical music, the screening of a community film, a literary surgery to help local writers, workshops on glass-making, a town criers competition, and a session where members of the gay community tell their 'coming out' stories in Twitter-like messages of 140 characters or less.

Festival president Robert Short, a retired lecturer in European studies at the UEA who is also an authority on surrealist art, a film-maker, poet and co-director of a theatre troupe, said 'It is an enormously varied programme, with something for everybody, not least for children.

'I will be taking my four grandchildren to the fancy dress Woodland Halloween Trail in Sheringham's Pretty Corner Woods.

'One of the most unusual events, which I am greatly looking forward to, is the varied programme about contemporary glass,' he added.

'It is coordinated by Nora Gaston at the recently opened Belfry Arts Centre in Overstrand, where there'll be demonstrations of glass-making, workshops and an exhibition.'

The first event, slightly before the starting gun, is a Desert Island Dusks evening of 'squit' by local writer and entertainer Keith Skipper this Friday.

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The festival gets under way properly at the weekend, with a string of running events, going through to October 30.

Musically, the City of London Sinfonia pen the festival on Saturday at St Peter's Church in Sheringham, with music by Handel, Sibelius, Haydn and Vivaldi. The closing concert on October 30 is also in St Peter's with the North Norfolk Orchestral Society's Last Night of the Proms promising a rousing flag-waving session.

A sample of events includes:

Norfolk Contemporary Art Society autumn show at Cromer Rocket House

Unusual Art in Unusual Places - works at various venues from beach huts to bus shelters

Drawing and painting classes at Upper Sheringham Village Hall

Weather and shoreline inspired at the Old Brickworks, East Runton

Two minute films made by local people screened at Sheringham Little Theatre on October 26 and Cromer Cottage the following day

Writer and poet Caroline Gilfillan advice sessions for writers at Cromer Museum October 30

A conversation about surrealism at Cromer Red Lion October 24

Town criers competition Sheringham High Street October 30

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