The three-year Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail Project is celebrating its climax with a community play that tells the story of the route’s 150-year history through drama, laughter and song.
So far the project has delivered research, conservation and youth education programmes about the railway heritage of the route, and the plants and wildlife that now thrive there since the trains finally stopped running in 1985.
Stories Down the Line was created by Rob John (fEast Theatre) and Simon Floyd (Floyd Performance, The Common Lot) in collaboration with the Norfolk County Council project team and the Norwich-based creative arts organisation Tin House.
Rehearsals and a makers’ weekend have been taking place since May with a 25-person strong cast and crew from Norwich, Aylsham and Reepham. These have been hosted at the Marlpit Community Centre in Hellesdon and Whitwell & Reepham Station, which are both partners in this National Lottery Heritage Fund project.
Mr Floyd describes Stories Down the Line as having “been really well received by the communities so far. The cast have brought so much energy and commitment. It was open to all ages and people, especially those who have a love and a curiosity for their community and heritage. We can’t wait to perform it.”
The production will be staged at four outdoor locations along Marriott’s Way in September, amongst the woodlands, embankments and abandoned railway platforms, paying tribute to the industrial and social heritage of each location in unique arboreal settings.
Performances of Stories Down the Line will be held on:
- Saturday 21 September, Train Wood, Anderson’s Meadow (via Barn Road or Dolphin Bridge), Norwich NR3 2AF, 5 pm
- Sunday 22 September, Hellesdon Station (via Marlpit Lane), Hellesdon NR5 0DA, 3 pm
- Saturday 28 September, Station Road, (via Tesco or Hungate Street Bridge), Aylsham NR11 6BW, 5 pm
- Sunday 29 September, Whitwell & Reepham Station, Whitwell Road, Reepham NR10 4GA, 3 pm
The play is free, family-friendly and open to all – just bring something to sit on.
Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail Project
The Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail Project is overseen by Norfolk County Council, working with local councils, community and history groups, and organisations including: Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council, Norfolk Record Office, Norfolk Railway Heritage Group, Friends of Norwich City Station, Norfolk Local Access Forum, Whitwell & Reepham Railway Preservation Society, Friends of Train Wood & Marriott’s Way, Norwich Access Group and Broads Local Access Forum.
Local schools and groups are also working with the project to provide learning opportunities for young people.
The majority of the funding for the £667,906 project comes from a grant of £455,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with the rest coming from developers through planning obligations, Norfolk County Council, fundraising, donations and volunteer time.