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REVIEW: Farndale at Sheringham

The first night of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CSODS) production of We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figurines Aboard the SS Farndale avenue showed off the company’s great talent.

To deliberately act badly requires a great skill which the members of CSODS managed to pull off well, although there was now and again times where the acting seemed to lose direction.

The play, by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jn, is one of a series of comedy-farce plays featuring the exploits of a group of members of an amateur dramatic society and their ventures into the world of the thirties musical comedy.

The three ladies of the Farnsdale Townswomens Guild Dramatic Society, played by CSODS members Chrissie Robertson, Nona Gray, Kerry Davis and also including the very funny Nick Bird, attempt to bring the elegance, glamour and enchantment of a thirties musical to the stage.

This is a riot of a performance – collapsing scenery, a man cast as a woman, a woman cast as a man, romantic interludes between unlikely couples, a sea captain with a full beard wearing a skirt and heels, a very questionable underwater sequence and shipwreck on a tropical island. The ladies of the Farndale Avenue Dramatic Society certainly carry on regardless and rise above the terrible acting and dubious scenery to bring the thirties back to the stage.

Once again a good performance by CSODS at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Kevin and Sandra Stone

Spooky talk and musical at haunted seaside theatre

A theatre which has a resident ghost is hosting a spooky “fight night” on Halloween.

Reports of a mystery figure in the auditorium at Sheringham Little Theatre stretch back decades.

And on Tuesday, October 31, local actor, storyteller, writer and ghost walk host Steve Banks will be exploring local spooky stories, myths, mysteries and legends.

Steve, who also works in the theatre box office, said: “The show will explore our fascination with the paranormal, all things ghostly and things that go bump in the night.

“We’ll be looking at famous unexplained mysteries, famous encounters with the spirit world as well as some local stories that people may not have heard before.  It’s going to be great fun, but don’t get too comfortable…there could be a sting in the tail.”

The show is suitable for those aged 14 and over and is not for the faint-hearted.

Young people can also create and star in their own spooky show through a Halloween Musical Theatre Course the previous week.

The venue’s regular panto choreographer Vicky Feetham is running an intensive three-day course for eight to 18 year olds running from tomorrow (October 25) to Friday (October 27), culminating in a show at 6pm on the Friday.

For tickets and more information contact the Sheringham Little Theatre box office on 01263 822347 or www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Steve Banks

 

Growing local stage talent … and a killer plant in Sheringham

An alien plant living in a flower shop has an appetite for a frightening fertiliser – human blood.

But the story combining horror with horticulture is helping young acting talent grow too.

Little Shop of Horrors runs at Sheringham Little Theatre from September 27-29, using a cast of 11 youngsters drawn from the venue’s youth drama group.

Co-director Harry Williams, 23, from North Walsham, said the young cast had enjoyed rehearsing the show during the summer because it was “silly with lots of jokes and space for wacky characters.”

He has been performing with the group since he was eight and has appeared in the venue’s summer drama season pantomime. Now Harry is making his debut at directing – while also playing one of the three versions of the hungry plant. Jess Chamberlin shares the directing and choreography.

The other cast members in the show, set in America, are; Charlie Randall as timid flower shop worker Seymour, Lucy Connor as his co-worker and love interest Audrey, Sam Thompson as shop owner Mr Mushnik, Jack Jarvis as Orin the dentist, plus Emily Sidnell, Pippa Randall and Emily Reiner as a trio of urchins.

Mr Williams said the cast had a mixture of experience and it was great to see the newcomers learning from the regulars who had previously taken leading roles.

The team, in their teens and 20s, has also had to make three versions of the plant, Audrey II, to map its alarming growth.

The show is also brimming with 1960s music, and has a three-piece “orchestra pit.”

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “The show is done completely by the youth group – giving them great experience of the stage, management and creating props and scenery, which is a brilliant opportunity for them.”

The show is on at 7.30pm. Tickets £10 from the box office on 01263 822347 or visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Picture: Matt Coomber                                      Charlie Randall who plays flower shop worker Seymour in the Little Shop of Horrors at Sheringham Little Theatre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage is set for exciting new era at theatre

An historic theatre in the heart of a seaside town is looking to expand its repertoire and community connections – with some help from a coastal “cousin”.

St George’s at Great Yarmouth is the resort’s only year-round theatre – providing a mix of drama, cinema and music in a converted church.

But it is aiming to widen its programme and appeal through an 18-month audience development plan, with help from Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson.

In her role as part-time creative director at St George’s Mrs Thompson will broaden the range of events to show arts lovers across east Norfolk the hidden gem that sits under a landmark town centre clock tower.

She said: “We plan to embed St George’s in the community so it becomes part of the cultural landscape and make it a thriving venue that is embraced by local people and visitors alike.”

It is hoped to widen the appeal to families, collaborate with other regional theatres, seek to attract older people, youngsters and raise its profile by hosting events at its modern café bar overlooking a performance plaza.

Chairman of the St George’s trustees Barry Coleman added: “We are really excited about getting Debbie’s input. She has the local knowledge and expertise having done this work at another coastal community theatre.”

Mrs Thompson will carry out the St George’s role two days a week, but continues as director at the 180-seater Sheringham Little Theatre. She has been at Sheringham for 15 years, during which time the venue has built up successful pantomime and summer drama seasons, as well as a range of stage, screen and music offerings.

St George’s, which can hold more than 240 people in its stunning building, already has a busy programme of events including touring shows, tribute bands, singalong films, drama, schools and community functions. It is home to a FABBA drama group for adults with disabilities and has a new Arts Academy teaching theatre and drama skills to seven to 16-year-olds.

Picture: Richard Batson
Debbie Thompson and Barry Coleman at St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth

 

 

 

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 debbie@sheringhamlittletheatre.com (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 www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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

 

 

Boosting youngsters’ confidence is childs’ play

A fun children’s drama delves into the reason words disappear off the tip of your tongue.

And for the trio staging The Sentence Snatchers, their visit to the Sheringham Little Theatre is a “homecoming ” to the county where they met.

Director Gwen Hanauer and cast members Jonathan Cobb and Sophie McKenzie formed Flat Pack Productions in 2013 while studying  English and drama at the UEA.

The play follows a determined young girl called Frank who has a terrible fear of speaking. But when a mysterious figure offers her a deal to take those nerves away, everything changes.

Trapped in a “contract” where even the clauses have claws and the Syn-Tax is far too expensive, she must go on a big adventure, across lexical fields and letter seas, to defeat her fear and take back her voice from the sneaky Sentence Snatchers.

The imagination exploding family fun performance for six to 12 year olds but which can also be enjoyed by adults, is jam packed with puppets, music and magical storytelling.

The show was nominated for the International Youth Arts Festival’s Best Family Show award in Brighton, where it premiered last year, and is in now on tour in Norfolk and Suffolk, supported by Creative Arts East.

It comes to Sheringham Little Theatre on February 11. Tickets for the 2.30pm performance are £6 through the box office 01263 822347 or website www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Video:  See a rehearsal and development showreel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi–N_lwrKg

Action from the Sentence Snatchers.
Picture: Flat Pack Productions

 

 

Sheringham Little Theatre celebrates a year of success

A community theatre has shone the spotlight on success both on the stage and on the balance sheet.

Sheringham Little Theatre produced a modest operating profit for the second year running thanks to people visiting its drama, music and cinema mix.

The venue was £8000 in the black in 2016 the annual meeting heard at the weekend.

Chairman Richard Ellis said the figures came despite a fall in public sector grant funding which has dropped by 40pc over the past five years.

There was still strong support from North Norfolk District Council as well as town and county councils without which the theatre could not run, and for which it was very grateful.

But the venue had increased income from other areas, including through corporate sponsors, an improved cinema offering, and its increasingly popular Hub coffee bar which had gone from strength to strength, doubling its income over five years.

Mr Ellis and president Lord Walpole praised the efforts of the theatre’s army of 86 volunteers who were vital to its success. Efforts are ongoing to recruit even more, especially with skills including DIY and fundraising.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said 2017 looked like being equally exciting. It included a community production of Oliver in tribute to theatre supporter Mike Thame who died during the year.

The theatre’s summer drama season would be based on traditional classical repertory productions, including some Noel Coward, and the panto would be the Wizard of Oz.

Ideas were also being sought for fundraising events, helping towards the A Little Bit Bigger appeal for an extension on the flat roof.

Before the meeting a celebration was held to mark the theatre’s success in this year’s Norfolk Arts Awards where it won the EDP People’s Choice accolade for small attractions, against competition from two major Norwich venues the Maddermarket and Arts Centre.

Theatre chairman Richard Ellis, president Lord Walpole and director Debbie Thompson with volunteers and supporters celebrating its Norfolk Arts Award before the annual meeting.  PICTURE: RICHARD BATSON.

Theatre chairman Richard Ellis, president Lord Walpole and director Debbie Thompson with volunteers and supporters celebrating its Norfolk Arts Award before the annual meeting.
PICTURE: RICHARD BATSON.

REVIEW: Peter Pan, Sheringham Little Theatre

It’s panto time again at Sheringham Little Theatre and there’s a taste of the traditional with a modern twist as well as great fun for all ages.
This version of Peter Pan has two crocodiles, Tick and Tock, sword fights, Lost Boys and a very feisty fairy with bags of  attitude. It’s the story of the boy who never grew up, well-known by children and grown-ups alike.
The actors in this production have made it very much their own. There are clever and imaginative scenes. Wendy and Peter flying over the roof tops of London, straight on till morning following the star to Neverland, took the audience on the journey with them. Peter Pan (George Caporn) led his band of lost boys and the Darling children, Wendy (Gemma Wilson), John (Zakk Judd-Phillips) and Michae l(Mikey Fotis) into many scrapes, which in true panto spirit, was done with song and laughter.
The villainous Captain Hook (Neil Paris) had a right-hand woman, Ms Smee (James Lavender). In true panto spirit she was the dame to top all dames, very funny with an amazing wardrobe of dresses and hats but best of all had an instant rapport with the audience.
Starky (Rik Warren) the faithful but bumbling pirates mate kept the audience entertained with his merry quips. Tiger Lily, the indian princess (Rachel Feetham), is a star in the making, also no Peter Pan would be complete without a fairy Tinkerbelle (Nicola Barney) the right mixture of magic and mischief. So believe in fairies and open your mind to magic, visit the Sheringham Little Theatre, The performances are on until January 1

Kevin and Sandra Stone
peter-pan-at-wndow