Town’s most easterly fishing village rises again

Dean Parkin with the book that he co-wrote in 1997, 'The Grit' which will be re-issued next spring.

Dean Parkin with the book that he co-wrote in 1997, 'The Grit' which will be re-issued next spring. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

A new touring show, highlighting a town's almost forgotten fishing village, will entertain this autumn.

Pearls from The Grit will tour nine performances to six venues across Suffolk this autumn. Written by Dean Parkin, the show is part of a year-long Heritage Lottery funded project about Lowestoft's fishing village, which was known as The Grit.

In the early 1900s Lowestoft was one of the country's leading tourist resorts and a top fishing port with a population of 23,000. The Grit — home to 2,300 people, three schools, churches, shops and 13 pubs — was the most easterly point in the country, right next to the North Sea, up until it disappeared in the 1960s.

Using the words of his friend Jack Rose as a guide, writer and poet, Mr Parkin travels back in time to piece the story together. Audiences will meet non-nonsense fisherman, old Ned; Billy, a larger-than-life skipper during Lowestoft's fishing boom; and Ruby (Billy's daughter), one of the tireless taskforce of women keeping the fishing industry afloat. At the 'pub' piano, 'Tickler' Sam will provide live music throughout. Together, they'll deliver a surprising, tender, entertaining family show.

Pearls from The Grit is directed by Alys Kihl from Wonderful Beast, narrated by Dean Parkin, and the professional cast comprises Sally-Ann Burnett (Ruby), Tim FitzHigham (Billy) and David Redgrave (Ned), with original songs and incidental music composed and performed by pianist Maurice Horhut.

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Mr Parkin said: 'I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to work with such a brilliant team to create this new live show. We're mixing stories and poems, songs and film to bring to life some of the remarkable characters who lived and worked on The Grit. We can all learn from the spirit of The Gritsters who stuck together in hard times with resilience and humour.'

The hour-long performance is touring late September, early October to the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft, Museum of East Anglia Life, Stowmarket, The Cut Arts Centre, Halesworth, Avenue Theatre, Ipswich, Long Shop Museum, Leiston and back to Lowestoft to the Bethel Players Theatre.

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About 20 years ago, Mr Parkin and Jack Rose – fisherman, lifeboatman and popular historian – co-wrote their best-selling book, 'The Grit'. Out of print for many years, a new revised and redesigned edition will be published neat spring.

Visit for ticketing information or call 01986 872033.

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