Pearls from The Grit – the most easterly fishing village rises again Walk on the Wild Side

PEARLS from The Grit by Suffolk writer Dean Parkin, produced by Poetry People, is set to reach fresh audiences with a packed two-week tour

in November. The newly-

extended show will deliver 16 performances in 11 venues across Suffolk

and, for the first time, into Norfolk. Set

in Lowestoft’s lost fishing village known as The Grit, the entertaining, tender and surprising show brings to life heroes and heroines from the

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heyday of East Anglia’s herring fishing industry. Pearls from The Grit mixes stories and poems, songs and film, and last autumn’s pilot performances drew ecstatic responses from audiences and reviewers alike. An Arts Council England National Lottery grant is enabling the show to reach new communities and venues in November 2019. Using the words of his great friend Jack Rose as a guide, Dean Parkin travels back in time.

Audiences will meet

no-nonsense fisherman, Ned; Billy, a larger-than-life skipper; Jessie (Billy’s Scottish wife); and Ruby (Billy’s daughter) – two of the tireless taskforce of women keeping the fishing industry afloat. Pearls from

is directed by

The Grit Alys Kihl Even cheaper rates for Long Term Hire

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(Wonderful Beast) and produced by Naomi Jaffa (Poetry People). Narrated by Dean Parkin, the professional cast

comprises Sally-Ann

Burnett (Jessie and Ruby), Tim FitzHigham (Billy and The Host) and David Redgrave (Ned and Happy Welham). Original songs

Jubilee Hall (Aldeburgh), Marina Theatre (Lowestoft), Westacre Theatre, Beccles Public Hall, St George’s Guildhall (Kings Lynn), Seagull Theatre (Pakefield), Wells Maltings (Wells-Next- The-Sea), St George’s Theatre (Great Yarmouth), closing at Southwold Arts Centre. Tickets are priced between £12 and £8. The tour includes three schools-only matinées – in Lowestoft, King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth – aimed at engaging a new generation with their rich maritime tradition. Poetry People has already worked with 800 pupils in 11 schools in these three towns, delivering interactive introductory sessions to ensure children recognise the main characters and stories, as well as being able to join in choruses. 20 years ago, Dean Parkin

(lyrics by

Dean Parkin) and incidental music are composed by pianist Maurice Horhut who provides live music throughout the show in the role of ‘Tickler’ Sam. Dean says: “The Grit is a really special subject, close to my heart. It’s marvellous to bring Gritsters to life in their own words, and to hear the authentic local accent on stage captivating audiences. I’m thrilled to have had the chance to develop the show and to work again with the brilliant original team. I can’t wait to share our tales of resilience and humour around the East Anglian coast where so many fishing communities once thrived.”

The 70-minute show opens on Saturday 2nd November at the Suffolk Herring Festival at The Cut in Halesworth, followed by the Two Sisters Arts Centre (Felixstowe),

and Jack Rose – fisherman, lifeboatman and Lowestoft– co- wrote their best-selling book, The Grit. Out of print for many years, a revised and redesigned new edition, with illustrations by Templar Prize winning artist Paula White, was published by Corner Street in September 2019. Many of the stories in the book have found their way into the script of Pearls from The Grit. Available in paperback and limited edition hardback versions, signed copies will be available at all performances. ‘Funny, sad and thought-

provoking in equal measure, it was a poignant picture of a lost Lowestoft. Wonderful to see it revived, celebrated and kept alive’, Pearls from The Grit, Wayne Savage review, East Anglian Daily Times, October 4th 2018 A wonderful blend of talents,

research, ingenuity, nostalgia and fun! Audience member (The Cut, Halesworth) Go to www.poetrypeople. for


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