Marine history inspires Eastern Angles’ touring play

Theatre feat pix 19/3/15

Theatre feat pix 19/3/15 - Credit: Archant

Sex, bi-valve molluscs and marine engineering - Eastern Angles' latest touring theatre production draws on the region's coastal heritage.

Theatre feat pix 19/3/15

Theatre feat pix 19/3/15 - Credit: Archant

Oysters, the new play, which has been written and directed by the touring theatre group's artistic director, Ivan Cutting, combines local fact and contemporary storytelling, capturing the soul of an ancient East Anglian industry, celebrating the past by putting it on stage.

The show is being performed at 7.30pm at Cley Village Hall on Saturday April 11, Aylsham Town Hall on Wednesday May 20 and Sheringham Little Theatre on Friday May 22.

Focusing on the restoration of an Essex Oyster Smack, the show incorporates oral history accounts of boatbuilding and oyster cultivation with the fictional story of an Essex boat builder and his intriguing family back-story. The main character, Mo has just turned fifty and is busy restoring an oyster dredger recovered from an Essex riverbed.

Helping him bring the boat back to life is Angie, a young apprentice with a chip on her shoulder.

Also in the frame are Kasey, an intern from the local university, Pamela who is the formidable fundraiser in charge of the restoration project and the mystical Pearl, an Earth Mother with a potent story to tell.

When a piece of his beloved dredger goes missing, lives are up-ended and the past floats up.

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The show has been researched and developed in conjunction with the Pioneer Sailing Trust Land and Sea project, a charity based in Brightlingsea, which is focused on restoring the 1893 Oyster Smack Priscilla.

'We're calling it a story of sex, boat building and bi-valve molluscs,' says Ivan. 'The story is about Mo, a boat builder who is really passionate about restoring an old oyster smack and then a bit of it goes missing. The trouble is that is the very bit that they were hoping would be the authentic centre of their restoration.

'We are doing this show because we love doing shows that explore the hidden experience of East Anglia. And above all, of course, everyone thinks about oysters and sex!'

The cast includes Terence Frisch, who is playing Mo, who he describes as 'quite a passionate fella'; Jeannie Dickinson plays Angie; Hephzibah Roe plays Kasey; while Kiki Kendrick plays both Pamela and Pearl.

The staging uses artworks and music to create an evocative atmosphere.

Natalie Songer, assistant director, said: 'We are lucky enough to have some original artworks by James Dodds, linocuts that have been animated by our designer Rosie Alabaster and which are very beautiful. We also have some of original music composed by Jon Goddard. It sounds wonderful and really helps to immerse the audience, especially during the dream-like section which takes place towards the end of Act One.'

Tickets cost around £10 and to book for Cley call 01263 741690, to book for Sheringham call 01263 822347 or visit and to book tickets for Aylsham visit