Norman Wisdom Haywards Heath exhibition is star of comedy festival

Nick Wisdom at the opening of an exhibition about his father Norman Wisdom at the Orchards. Flanked by Keith Ellis (Nostalgiagraphs) and Gerald Fleus (Calligrapher). Pic Steve Robards ENGSUS00120131019164540
Nick Wisdom at the opening of an exhibition about his father Norman Wisdom at the Orchards. Flanked by Keith Ellis (Nostalgiagraphs) and Gerald Fleus (Calligrapher). Pic Steve Robards ENGSUS00120131019164540
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Haywards Heath’s popular Norman Wisdom exhibition has found a new temporary home - as one of the star attractions at this year’s Leicester Comedy Festival.

The exhibition, which was painstakingly put together by Sir Norman’s son Nick, has been running in the old Thornton’s shop in The Orchards since October 2013.

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It is being displayed at De Montfort Hall in Leicester for the duration of the festival.

The exhibition includes 65 pictures spanning the comedy legend’s career - even more than in the original show.

Festival director Geoff Rowe will be interviewing Nick, who owns Wisdom Sports in South Road, Haywards Heath on Sunday, February 15.

This will be followed by a screening of Norman Wisdom’s first colour film, The Early Bird.

Sir Norman, who would have been 100 this year, is also the inspiration for a new play, ‘Wisdom of a Fool’.

Written by Martyn Bell and Jack Lane, it will be premiered at the Capitol Theatre in Horsham.

Nick and his sister Jacqui helped the writers to find out more about the comedian, who had a home in West Chiltington.

“I was approached by Jack,” said Nick. “I think he has come up with some quite good ideas.

“I said if you want to write about it then let’s go for it.”

“Normally I just put people on to my father’s agent and we don’t hear from them again.”

The play takes the audience behind the cheeky character and ill-fitting suit, to show the life and early career of one of the most talented performers this country has ever produced.

Sir Norman Wisdom OBE (1915-2010) was an actor, comedian and singer-songwriter. Charlie Chaplin once referred to Norman as his ‘favourite clown’.

He was best known for a series of comedy films produced between 1953 and 1966 featuring his hapless on screen character Norman Pitkin.

Producer of the new play, James Drury, said: ‘We really get to meet who the real man was.

“We are very lucky to have the blessing of his two children, Nick and Jaqui, to bring the life of their father to the stage.

“I hope that it will remind everyone what a star he was and still is!

“I am delighted to be working closely with the Capitol to be bringing this new play to Horsham for its premiere, before we hopefully take it on the road next year.

“Martin and Jack have written such a moving piece that will be so much more than Norman’s trademark trips and laughs.”

For more information about the play visit www.WISDOMOFAFOOL.co.uk

Visit www.comedy-festival.co.uk for further information about the exhibition and talk.