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Rigoletto – live from the Royal Opera House (in Sheringham)

Sheringham Little Theatre is giving opera lovers the chance to see one of Verdi’s best, live from Covent Garden at an encore matinee showing on Sunday, January 21.

Although premiered in 1851 in Venice, the storyline could have been written for today’s cinema and is packed with memorable and well-known melodies and a thriller-like plot combining corruption and lust with love, intrigue, revenge and tragedy.

If you love La Traviata, La Boheme and Madama Butterfly you will love Rigoletto and for the best seat in the house at Covent Garden it would cost you £185 (at the time of writing almost every seat is sold), whereas the best view of the performance is the relay at the Little Theatre where a seat will cost you £15. The show starts at 2pm.

Book on 01263 822347 or choose your seat online at www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Norman Lamb to attend screening of award-winning documentary in Sheringham

MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb will be attending a special screening of the feature documentary film Unrest at  Sheringham Little Theatre this evening.

The film, made by Harvard PhD Jennifer Brea, tracks her own story and that of her partner Omar, as they are both struck down with a severe virus.  Whilst Omar rapidly recovers, Jennifer ends up bed bound with mysterious symptoms which are initially misdiagnosed as being psychosomatic, then eventually diagnosed as being due to ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The award-winning, Oscar short-listed film tracks this young, fiercely intelligent couple’s love story as the pair grapple with Jennifer’s chronic illness diagnosis and their attempts to both find answers to how she can regain her health, whilst also changing the culture surrounding this most stigmatised of diseases.  Follow Jennifer and Omar’s journey in this documentary about their lives together and those of many other severely affected ME/CFS patients who Jennifer connects with online from her bed.

This screening has been organised in conjunction with the Sheringham ME/CFS Support Group, who are the only ME/CFS Support Group based specifically in North Norfolk (although other groups do cover the whole county).  The condition is thought to affect as many as 6,000 patients in Norfolk alone and as many as 250,000 patients across the UK.  The screening will be attended by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who will give a brief talk to the audience after the film.

It starts at 6.15pm.  Call the box office on 01263 822347.

Panto puts smile on face of theatre as well as audiences

Sellout panto shows at Sheringham have provided a bonus to the coffers of the town’s Little Theatre.

Nearly 8,000 people saw 43 shows of the Wizard of Oz over the festive period. Many performances were sold out and there was a waiting list for ticket cancellations.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “The panto has been a tremendous success. Takings were above budget – which is a huge help as panto and summer drama are the most commercially important seasons we have and support our other activities during the year.

“Audience feedback was that it was the best panto yet – with a brilliant script, lots of energy and magical elements such as the projection work, sets and puppets. We are sorry if people could not get tickets, but would encourage them to book early for the next panto,” she added.

The 2018 panto will be Beauty and the Beast running from December 7 to January 1 and using the same creative team as this year, headed by director Nick Earnshaw. Tickets will go on sale in March.

Now the Emerald City has disappeared from the stage, events at the venue in early 2018 range from amateur drama, an opera screening, and jazz, to magic, a romantic Valentine’s cinema supper club and a fun family show.

In March (1-3) there is also a three-day festival weekend of Ealing Comedy films (Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Passport to Pimlico, Man in the White Suit and Whisky Galore).

Other highlights include:

January 19-20 – Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions by Stage Direct

January 21 – Rigoletto screening from the Royal Opera House

January 28 – Jazz from the Red Shadow Quartet

February 6 – Morgan and West Time Travelling Magicians.

February 10 – Bowjangles music inspired by Myths and Legends

February 14 – Love Story movie (Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw) with optional pre-booked supper

February 15 – Rhymes for Revolting Children, cheeky songs poems and comedy for the family

February 21-24 – Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit by CSODS

For more information and tickets visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com or call the box office on 01263 822347.

Fun from the successful Wizard of Oz panto at Sheringham Little Theatre.
Picture: Matt Coomber

REVIEW: Wizard of Oz, Sheringham Little Theatre

It’s panto time at Sheringham Little Theatre and its a real cracker of a show oh yes it is!

The season opened with a matinee on Saturday, December 9. The audience in the packed theatre was whisked away by a tornado from Kansas to the Emerald City in the land of Oz and back again.

The opening sequence where Dorothy (Hana Stewart) and Toto her little dog are whisked away from the farm on the oncoming gathering tornado made a  spectacular scene.

It’s a fast-moving show with plenty of great audience participation throughout and the story was easy to follow for all the children in the audience.

Loraine Metcalfe was a deliciously wicked witch of the west and was boo’d every time she made an appearance. There was also Glinda the witch of the north (Shane Armstrong), who was good and kind to Dorothy. Three great favourites with the audience are the Scarecrow, Lion, and at the Tin Man. Scarecrow was funny and loveable, played with great talent by Harry Williams, his companions along the Yellow Brick Road, the romantic Tin Man (Kyle Fraser) and courageous Lion with a very long tail (Rik Warren), all had the audience enthralled as they went on their journey to find what they were all seeking.

It’s a truly fantastic show and has a lovely leading lady with a beautiful singing voice, great music and young dancers. It all goes to make the best start to the Christmas season. OH YES IT DOES.

“It’s magic,” said Finley, aged 10 years . “Really great,” added said Dylan aged seven. The best ever, say us and well done SLT,  you have done it again. Wonderful.

Kevin and Sandra Stone plus Finley and Dylan

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