Young talent needed to bring killer plant alive on stage

A horror comedy musical about a killer plant is looking to recruit budding young talent to join its cast.

The Little Shop of Horrors is the autumn youth production being staged by Sheringham Little Theatre.

And the hunt is on for actors and singers aged 14 to 25 to take chorus and lead roles – including the voice of the flowering killer which has come from outer space and got a taste for human blood.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “The youngsters have been keen to do this for a while – and it is a fun show that will challenge on the props and scenery front as well as showcasing local performance talent.”

The show, which was a stage musical and a movie, is set in a run-down American flower shop owned by Mr Mushnik and manned by timid Seymour and his love interest Audrey. In a dark comedy laced with 1960s style pop music including Motown , the wilting alien plant, Audrey 2, thrives when it is fed human beings.

It is being directed by Harry Williams, 22, from North Walsham who has been performing with the theatre for 10 years, and Jess Chamberlin, from Thorpe Market, who was assistant director for the spring youth musical, Oliver. Charlie Randall from Brampton is helping with production.

Mrs Thompson said the whole production, including choreography and musical direction, was being run by young people, who had a “cunning plan” to bring the plant alive.

Auditions are being held on Sunday May 28 at 10am for cast wanting to take part in the show that runs from September 27-29 – with rehearsals during the summer.

Chorus hopefuls, and those aiming to be street urchins, should arrive read to sing Little Shop of Horrors.
Lead roles should be prepared to read scenes and sing one of the characters’ songs:

• Seymour Krelborn – Grow for Me
• Audrey – Somewhere That’s Green
• Mr Mushnik – solo part of Ya Never Know from beginning to “rake in the bucks for me hand over first
• Voice of Audrey 2 (the plant) – Feed Me (Git it)
• Orin Scrivello – Dentist!

For more information about the show and auditions call the theatre on 01263 822347or email

Help! Co-director Harry Williams fights off a man-eating plant to plea for young cast members for Little Shop of Horror, Picture: Matt Coomber

Sheringham theatre’s tribute to movie legend Sir John Hurt

The acting talent of the late legend Sir John Hurt is being celebrated on the community theatre screen which he launched.

Sir John officially opened the digital projection system at Sheringham Little Theatre four years ago.

The actor, who died aged 77 in January lived in North Norfolk and was a supporter of the venue’s film and stage drama work.

During a week starting on Friday (May 26) the theatre will show a short season of some of his best work including an early role in the Tudor classic A Man for All Seasons, and leads in the poignant Elephant Man and spy drama Scandal.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “Sir John was a great supporter of our theatre, and we miss him very much, so we wanted to remember him through screening some of his best films at a place we know he was fond of.”

Sir John visited the venue regularly to chat to the actors appearing in the summer repertory drama season and during a launch event for the local-filmed movie In Love with Alma Cogan, in which he played a theatre manager.

He also played a “part” as the pre-recorded voice of the Magic Mirror in its Snow White pantomime in 2013.

Debbie added: “We are also hoping to display photographs of Sir John during his visits here – and would invite any members of the public who have memories or anecdotes involving Sir John to share them with us in a memory book we have in the foyer.”

Send any pictures or memories to: Sir John Hurt Memories, Sheringham Little Theatre, 2 Station Road, Sheringham, Norfolk, NR26 8RE or email (The theatre cannot return original photographic prints, so please send copies – or scan and email them as 1 to 2MB jpegs).

Tickets for each film are £5 through the box office on 01263 822347, or visit

Sir John Hurt showing old and new technology when he launched Sheringham Little Theatre’s new digital projection equipment in May 2013.



Paul and Bluebell hit the road again

The fastest milk float in the East will be off on her travels again as Paul Thompson and Bluebell head to Cornwall in aid of Cancer Research.

The Sheringham-based singer/songwriter will be driving the souped-up vehicle all the way to Land’s End, performing gigs along the way on a tour which he hopes will raise £5,000 for the charity.

With a top speed of 19mph, Bluebell is 4/5mph faster than the average milk float – but Paul won’t have his foot down all the way. He expects Bluebell’s Busking Bonanza tour to take most of the summer, at a more sedate 10mph.

“I think it’s going to take about two months to get there because I’m playing lots of gigs on the way,” he said. “I am aiming to do about 30. I called it the Busking Bonanza but it’s mainly not busking. I will be doing some busking, but lots of the gigs will be proper gigs in pubs with gardens or festivals and artisan markets.”

Events lined up already are a classic car festival near Oxford and a session with radio legend Bob Harris for his online TV channel . Paul is also waiting to hear if he has nabbed a coveted spot at Glastonbury. A dream gig which, he said, would be “absolutely brilliant”.

The tour will start with a launch party at the Harnser, in Cley, on June 2 where there will be food from 7pm and music from 8pm. Paul and Bluebell plan to hit the road on June 3 – a poignant anniversary .

“My dad, Terry, passed away from cancer a year ago so I wanted to do something really positive to commemorate him. Having seen what cancer can do to someone I wanted to help the next generation,” he said.

Fitted out with a stage and solar panels to power the gear needed for Paul’s performances, Bluebell has most of the mod cons needed for the journey but Paul hopes to hear from people who can put on a gig, host him for a night or help to keep Bluebell charged up.

He is already grateful for those who contributed £80 towards his challenge as he busked outside Budgens in Holt, courtesy of Bakers and Larners, last Saturday.

Anyone wanting to follow Bluebell’s route can visit for his blog and keep up with live updates on Facebook and Twitter. Donations can be made at



Search is on for young dancer to star in family show

The search is on for a local performer to join the cast of a laugh-a-minute family show featuring characters created by David Walliams.

The producers of Gangsta Granny, which comes to Norwich Theatre Royal on July 13-15, are looking for someone to play the role of Diane in the show opposite the professional cast.

The successful performer will have a short solo dance in the middle of the show as well as being part of the finale routine. They must be 16 years old in August this year but be able to play a character who is 11-12 years old.

The successful dancer will get a video link to learn the routine. They will not need to rehearse with the cast but will need to commit to each performance of the show in Norwich.

To apply for the role, just email and the production team will get back with more information.

Alison Fitzjohn, of Birmingham Stage Company which is producing the show, said: “It is a fun role to play. It will also be great for an up-and-coming dancer to have a show like this on their CV. Gangsta Granny is creating a buzz around the country and audiences are loving the chance to see this favourite book brought to life.”

The show itself tells the story of Ben who usually spends Friday evening with Granny eating cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake. But his weekly visit gets much exciting when Granny reveals a secret which sees the pair of them embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

To book, log onto or call the box office on 01603 630000


Half-term fun outside and in

A host of children’s activities will be on offer at Cromer, North Walsham and Stalham community sports centres over the forthcoming May half-term.

The sessions offer youngsters aged between four and 12 the chance to take part in football fun days, shooting, skating and street-dancing, as well as summer sports days and multi-sports events.

The events will take place between Tuesday, May 30, and Friday, June 2, at the North Norfolk District Council-managed centres.

As well as these activities, there are countryside events taking place in Holt Country Park and Sadler’s Wood, North Walsham. The fun on offer includes shelter-building, a look at amphibians, reptiles and lizards and the chance to build and launch a water rocket.

All-day activities are priced at £10 while shorter sessions are priced between £2 and £3.50. To make things easier for parents, there is the added option of arranging early drop-offs and late pick-ups for just £2 at some of the events.

Maggie Prior, cabinet member for leisure, health and wellbeing, said: “These sessions offer great fun for children while keeping them busy and healthy.”

To download a brochure with more details, visit

To book the sports-centre events, visit Booking is not required for the countryside events at Holt Country Park and Sadler’s Wood, but children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. For further details of these activities, email or call 07920 576634.

Splash swimming pool could be demolished and rebuilt in new plan

Sheringham Splash could be knocked down and rebuilt as part of an ambitious project to improve leisure provision in the district.

North Norfolk District Council is looking at how to improve the facitlies, with the preferred option to demolish the ageing building and construct an improved swimming pool, gym and associated facilities.

The council has taken an imaginative approach to the project in consultation with strategic property partners Gleeds. The proposed plan, which is in early discussion stages, could see an £8m facility built by using a combination of long term loans, Sport England funding and income from additional development on land next to Splash. This development could include a hotel and/or retail/commercial units.

Initial details of the proposed plan are being made public this week in papers to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which will meet on May 17. The papers will also discuss the early stages of the procurement process for the Council’s leisure contract which is due for renewal by March 31, 2019, covering Fakenham Sports and Fitness, Splash Leisure and Fitness in Sheringham, and Victory Swim and Fitness Centre in North Walsham. The three Council-owned leisure centres are all very successful, with visits in 2016/17 totalling 462,000 and this has continually risen over the past four years.

Among the recommendations, which will then be put to the Council’s Cabinet in June, will be that a feasibility study around the property and leisure issues is now progressed with a further report coming to Cabinet later in 2017, to then approve the business case for construction of a new facility at the Splash site in Sheringham.

Other options include a full refurbishment of the current Splash building, although the papers make it clear that demolition and rebuild would be more cost effective because of the need to completely modernise the council’s sport and leisure offer at the Sheringham site. This would not be achieved in the current building, which is environmentally inefficient, and would prevent the opportunity for the new leisure contract to provide the necessary savings to help fund the new facility.

The plans have been designed to guarantee ongoing provision of the popular skateboard, football and cricket facilities on the current and adjacent sites.

Judy Oliver, North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Property, said: “This is a highly imaginative and inspirational plan which has the potential to secure a long term future for Splash.
“We have great aspirations for leisure services across North Norfolk and the opportunity to build a modern, efficient and fit for purpose facility in one of our premier coastal towns is very exciting.
“I welcome this plan wholeheartedly and welcome the input we have had from Sport England.”

Maggie Prior, North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “The range of leisure opportunities across North Norfolk makes a significant contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents.
“We want to improve Splash and give it a long term, viable future. It already attracts 160,000 visits a year and I believe that an improved facility would see this number increase, benefiting both our residents and the tourism economy, which is so crucial to this part of the world.”

Doug Smith, North Norfolk District Council member for Sheringham North, said: “This plan will be a huge win win for Sheringham’s residents and visitors, we will work hard to make this a real success.”

The Splash leisure pool and fitness centre.
Picture: Chris Taylor Photo

REVIEW: Running Wild is ‘a feast for eyes, ears and emotions’

The Children’s Touring Partnership took to the stage in Norwich last night with Running Wild, an adaption by Samuel Adamson of the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name.
This was a feast for the eyes, ears and emotions. Laughter, sadness and at times fear are felt through the scary rainforest adventure of of nine-year-old Lilly. The story has a serious message of both animal conservation and relationships and love, between humans and animals – elephant Oona, who is puppeteered by four people,  orangutans, a tiger, a crocodile and rainforest birds.
The audience is totally immersed into the sights and sounds of the Indonesian rainforest. The clever set design and lighting along with the sound effects add to the experience. The physical theatre skills of all the puppeteers was pure genius. You literally watch them breathe life into the puppets… they actually come to life before your eyes. I became so invested that I no longer saw the puppeteers.

The movements, motion and animal sounds are created by the cast and you just know that they must have spent hours watching and researching real animals in order to recreate and mimic.

A special mention must go to 12-year-old Annika Whiston, who played the lead role of Lilly and rarely left the stage. She portrayed the role beautifully and with great maturity. Every emotion and relationship she had I felt, bringing me to tears, more than once, much to my own daughter’s horror.

Morpurgo was inspired to write this modern-day Jungle Book by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, and enjoying an elephant ride on the beach when the Boxing Day tsunami hit.  The elephant ran inland and saved her life. When the author read of Amber’s story, he said it was “the one bit of hope amid the destruction”.

The production will be working during the tour to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

There has been great take up by schools with a number of performances throughout the day times but it is most definitely not just for children.
There are still tickets available, if you have not seen it then I urge you to make the time. I promise you will not be disappointed. It will make you laugh and possible cry but most of all it will make you think.

A must-see piece of theatre.


Running Wild is on until April 29. Wed, Fri and Sat 7.30pm, Wed & Sat 2.30pm, Thur 11am. Tickets £7-£21.  BOX OFFICE 01603 630000.








Pictures: Dan Tsantilis

Employers encouraged to shape next generation in North Norfolk

Employers will be given the opportunity to help youngsters increase their understanding of the world of work via a series of events organised by North Norfolk District Council.

Held in partnership with the New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network, they will crteate an opportunity for employers to meet staff from the district’s schools and colleges.

The events – which are free – will explain to businesses how to become an Enterprise Adviser, promote and highlight the benefits for businesses that work with young people, and build on the skills and enthusiasm of North Norfolk’s young people.

Businesses that want to find out how to prepare and shape the next generation of employees and entrepreneurs can book a place and then head along to The Atrium in North Walsham tomorrow (April 25), Cromer Academy on Wednesday (April 26) or Fakenham Academy on Thursday (April 27). All three events are at 4.30pm-6pm, and refreshments will be provided.

There will be the opportunity to network with businesses that are already working with schools in North Norfolk, and learn about the activities that businesses can deliver. These range from work experience and workplace visits – which will suit larger businesses – to mock interviews, mentoring and talks, which any business can offer, including small businesses and the self-employed.

Enterprise Advisers are volunteers who use their strategic knowledge and experience to help senior staff in schools draw up a careers delivery plan for students aged 11-18.

To find out more or to book a place, please contact the Economic Growth Team at or on 01263 5166009.