Yarmouth goes Continental

LIVELY cafes offering music and art as tasty hors d'oeuvres and encounters on pavements with zany artists are very much images of continental street life.

LIVELY cafes offering music and art as tasty hors d'oeuvres and encounters on pavements with zany artists are very much images of continental street life.

However, thanks to a double funding boost, both are set to become dynamic features of a Norfolk resort once only known for more traditional seaside entertainment.

At a reception in Yarmouth's Lily's Wine Bar on Friday, mayor and caf� owner Tony Smith toasted the launch of Caf� Culture, a programme of varied entertainment in bars and cafes across the resort.

And he was also able to toast the news that Yarmouth arts charity SeaChange is to receive grant funding of about �1m euros to develop its Out There street arts festival over three years.

Mr Smith, who runs Sara's Tea Rooms in Pleasure Beach Gardens with his wife Sara, has personally christened Caf� Culture - a �26,000 programme funded by the independent Esmee Fairburn Trust - by hosting an exhibition of abstract oil and acrylic paintings by Portuguese artist Luisa Serrano, who has lived in Yarmouth for six years.

He said: “It is very important that aspiring artists have somewhere to show their wares. In only two days, the exhibition at the Tea Rooms is already stimulating comments and interest.”

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On Friday night Caf� Culture continued with a jazz night at the Quayside Plaza, and a year-long programme of art and musical events is being planned at such venues as Caf� Nova, Forum Coffee House, Caf� Nova, Central Caf� and Andrea's Pantry.

Blackfriars Brewery, in Main Cross Road, will be the venue for regular Melting Pot cabarets which begin on July 10.

One of the cabaret acts, the band Hate, Love, Fate with Portuguese and English musicians, played at yesterday's launch.

SeaChange Arts outreach worker Rosita Juzenaite said: “For people who might come and visit Time and Tide museum and then step into St Peter's Road and decide there is nothing else for them to do, we wanted to say, 'Yes, there is'.”

She highlighted the multi-cultural flavour of the programme with Portuguese cafes such as Central Caf� taking part.

The award of more than 500,000 euros for festival work in Yarmouth from the EU's inter-regional programme will draw in matched funding from the borough council and other bodies to total more than �1m euros.

SeaChange managing-director Joe Mackintosh, who prepared the bid in collaboration with four French street art festivals and four other English events, including the Brighton Festival, said: “The timescale over the next three years coincides with the redevelopment of St George's Theatre. It is a time to raise culture up and an exciting period for Yarmouth arts.”

Preparations are already under way for the second Out There festival over the weekend of September 19 and 20 and Mr Mackintosh said the extra money would enable them to strengthen the programme.

“It will ensure we can bring back French tightrope walker Didier Pasquette and bring over some really good quality French acts,” he said. He promised a lot of acrobatic street acts with “many interesting stunts”.

The festival, based in St George's Park, will also incorporate a massive parade with many townspeople taking part.