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Breckland Winter Arts Festival to be launched
The Signalman
The festival will sign off with a performance of The Signalman

Village pubs and halls are set to get a boost in visitors at a quiet time of year thanks to an innovative new arts festival.

The first Breckland Winter Arts Festival is being staged in venues at the heart of local communities.

Events spanning theatre, comedy, film, music and crafts are to be held between 27 January and 25 February 2011.

"It's a new way of taking arts into rural places," said Pam Sayle from Breckland Council.

"Winter is a time when people get bored and there's not much to do so we've organised lots of events on different days to try to banish the winter blues.

"We are bringing events right to people's doorsteps so they don't have to travel by staging them in rural hubs like pubs.

"It's really important to show pubs that we can bring trade to them with this festival," added Pam.

The 11 shows on the calendar, which include free events, range from a blues and folk gig in North Elmham to a free comedy evening presented by respected Norwich promoters Salt Box Comedy in Great Hockham.

More comedic moments are expected with the performance of stories and poems for Dean's Dad's Ducks - a show based upon the US fighter jet bombing of a cargo ship which released 30,000 plastic ducks into the sea.

The arts festival, which is being run by the council in partnership with Creative Arts East (CAE), follows on from last year's successful theatre and film festivals.

Other highlights from the festival, plucked from CAE's Village Stage and Village Screen programme, include theatre company Common Ground's production of The Signalman, based on Charles Dickens' short ghost story.

It will be staged during February half-term and is just one of five family-friendly events planned for the school break.

For a full programme visit the Breckland Council website.

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