Hostry Festival | 2012

Welcome Note

In 1991 Stash came up with the idea of writing a sequel to Shakespeare’s most famous play Hamlet. He had a beginning, a middle and an end, it just needed filling in! Stash had waited 25 years to find a person passionate enough to co-write the story with me. Peter Beck had graduated from the UEA in Creative Writing and Direction, and like me he had a never ending fascination with the bard.

All within 8 months we had written a 2 hour story set in the after-life, picking up at the end of Shakepeare’s play. Amazingly, and with credit to Peter Barrow as our editor and Exec Prod, it all worked.

Total ensemble created a highly charged piece of Movement Theatre as a prologue, well-known actors such as David Banks put their faith in us, and together we all created a totally original piece of drama. This piece really does serve as one of the highlights of what we’ve achieved. It will one day be a feature film, all on location in Norfolk, starring Kenneth Branagh, and a host of famous names who like us simply love “playing Shakespeare”. If these pictures resonate, and you have what I call “Adventure Capital of £2 million pounds + this is still very much on all our bucket lists to do.

Perhaps the next decade of festival activities will open up with the re-telling of this extraordinary mystical and vast journey for the Prince of Denmark. Swan Of Avon Films awaits a co-production. To make contact email:

In the same year as all the above, Peter Beck, Stash Kirkbride and Peter Barrow launched a brand new event for the county. The Norfolk Arts Awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press.

Norfolk had lots of award ceremonies, but as Peter Beck pointed out, it had no awards to celebrate the arts. Again thanks to Peter Barrow’s philanthropic generosity and vision, he allowed Peter Beck and Stash Kirkbride to set up what would become a hugely respected and appreciated aspect to the cultural landscape of the county. “It’s very rare to see so many people in the arts, all under one roof, celebrating each other” said festival patron Peter Wilson MBE. In a nut shell that’s it. It is a feel good, thank you to people in the arts, recognising their commitment to their passion and calling.

The Norfolk Arts Awards has been admired, cherished, heralded, criticised, appreciated, emulated, and developed into a transparent project for and about the Norfolk arts community. It has helped raise profile and funding and recognition for hundreds of people and projects. It has helped secure royal recognition for award winners, it has encouraged everyone, from those beavering away in their attics as unsung solo artists, to major players in the industry who deserve praise. The Norfolk Arts Awards is now on a 5 year Outreach Programme, being co-hosted in 2019 at St. George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth.

This year (2021) the awards will be co-hosted between us and our Principal Sponsors, the University of East Anglia, at the Sainsbury’s Centre. It will be co-presented by festival patrons, Susie Fowler-Watt and Becky Jago.

Gallery and Press for 2012 Central Production: HAMLET, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY by Stash Kirkbride and Peter Beck

Cast & Crew of 2012. image by Matt Darfford.

2012 Principal Sponsor


2012 Festival Video

Gallery – In Rehearsal