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A gret ol’ beast comes to Norfolk for a unique pantomime

PUBLISHED: 18:09 14 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:16 15 January 2018

The Friends of Norfolk Dialect Pantomime at East Tuddenham Village Hall.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017

The Friends of Norfolk Dialect Pantomime at East Tuddenham Village Hall. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

Tha’ was a fun owl’ day at thur East Tuddenham Village Hall when thur Friends of Norfolk Dialect staged their annual pantomime.

The Friends of Norfolk Dialect Pantomime at East Tuddenham Village Hall.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017 The Friends of Norfolk Dialect Pantomime at East Tuddenham Village Hall. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

An enthusiastic crowd packed into the village hall on Sunday to watch the dialect group’s unique twist on Beauty and the Beast, which was performed entirely in traditional Norfolk dialect and without rehearsals.

The one-off performance, titled Bewtiful Belle and the Gret Ol’ Beast, was written by mum and daughter, Monica and Diana Rackham, who relocated the fairy tale from a small village in France to Norfolk’s Thetford Forest.

Diana Rackham, chairperson of Friends of Norfolk Dialect (FOND), said: “We put a pantomime on once a year. It is only one performance and nobody in the cast has any practice or run-throughs before they go on stage.

“They all have the script with them as they perform, which adds character to the show. This year we chose to do Beauty and the Beast with a Norfolk twist.

The Friends of Norfolk Dialect Pantomime at East Tuddenham Village Hall.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017 The Friends of Norfolk Dialect Pantomime at East Tuddenham Village Hall. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

“It’s a very home made production, we make all of the costumes and props, which actually adds to it all. It is a really entertaining afternoon and we get quite a few FOND members, as well as non-members.”

Before the panto got underway, organisers held a writing competition with readings and prizes for short stories and poems that won first, second and third place.

In previous years the group has brought its unique spin to a number of other tales, including Cinderella, Snow White and the Wizard of Oz.

Ms Rackham added: “It is just a bit of fun to try and keep the Norfolk dialect alive. I think it is appealing to both people who have a Norfolk accent and those who don’t.”

The Friends of Norfolk Dialect Pantomime at East Tuddenham Village Hall.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017 The Friends of Norfolk Dialect Pantomime at East Tuddenham Village Hall. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

The unique comedy performances are part of FOND’s larger goal of preserving and recording Norfolk’s linguistic and cultural heritage.

Its members have been campaigning for ‘Norfolk’ to be recognised as an authentic English regional dialect, and since the organisation was founded in 1999 they have been recording as many of county’s traditional words as possible, along with sayings, stories and songs.

To become a member of FOND or to take a look at the group’s detailed glossary of words and sayings, visit its website at www.norfolkdialect.com.

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