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



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

Sheringham Museum discovers forgotten human bone fragment from WW1

The Sheringham Museum has uncovered a surprise in a forgotten piece of its collection re-discovered during an archive store move project. Simply listed in the museum collections database as “newspaper scrapbooks” it was overlooked for 25 years.

The museum has since found that the “scrapbooks” were in fact five volumes of newspaper cuttings and mementos spanning the full 1914-1918 First World War painstakingly collected by Doris Hewitt, sister to Cecil Hewitt, a disabled photographer whose glass plate negatives came to light in January 2013 at the museum.

This new discovery was donated to the museum long before the Hewitt Glass plate negatives and provides a new piece to the puzzle of this fascinating Edwardian Family who lived in the town during the early 1900s.

The scrapbooks ended up being stored in Sheringham Town Hall attic, which was being used as an overflow of the museum store. Thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding, the museum has been able to build a new dedicated archive store at the Mo Museum site in the past year and has spent the winter moving its collections from the Town Hall and its existing store, into the new state of the art archive space.

Museum manager Philip Miles said: “In 1993 the museum did not have access to a computerised database so all objects were listed in large books making it difficult to know what we actually had in the archive. Listing an object as ‘Newspaper Scrapbook’ didn’t really make it a priority to be researched when we have 10,000 other objects in storage.

“Thanks to the funding received from the Heritage Lottery Fund we’ve been able to rediscover this important piece of First World War history and make sure that it is now stored in state-of-the-art research facilities at the museum and never forgotten again.”

As if discovering these precious items wasn’t enough excitement for the museum team, upon opening Volume Three (covering 1915-1916) the museum discovered a small envelope with “Piece of Bone from Lionel’s Leg, 18.10.16” written on it with a hard object within. To open the envelope to verify its contents would be damaging to the integrity of the object and destroying history – like unwrapping an Egyptian mummy.

When museums like the British Museum want to x-ray a mummy to verify contents they get to use state of the art CT scanners in hospitals. When you are a small independent charity-run museum in rural North Norfolk, you turn to your local vet for help. Vet Michaela Bone at Miramar Vets on Weybourne Road, Sheringham, kindly x-rayed the envelope at the surgery and the contents were verified to be bone fragments.

The museum wanted to find out more about who the mysterious “Lionel” was. Doris Hewitt had a brother, Graily, who also went to war. Museum volunteer Jane Crossen researched the names in the scrapbook and determined that the bone fragment belonged to Captain Lionel Ensor of the Suffolk Regiment. He was awarded a Military Cross for bravery in the field, rescuing an injured comrade during the Battle of the Somme and getting himself shot in the legs during the process.

Further research showed that Cecil Hewitt had photographed Lionel in the hospital with Doris in 1916. Lionel went on to marry his nurse Mabel, who could also be in the photographs, although the museum suspects he must have had a soft spot for Doris to present her with a piece of his leg bone and she thankfully went to the trouble of preserving it in her scrapbook to be discovered 100 years later.

The scrapbooks will go on display from March 1 when the museum reopens and Sheringham residents can view them for free during a special locals-only museum open day on Monday, February 27, 11am-7pm.

Vet Michaela Bone Xrays the scrapbook and envelope

Vet Michaela Bone shows the result of the Xray

Trustee Ron Wiebe and Vet Michaela study the envelope page

Lionel Ensor and mystery Nurse 1916

Lionel Ensor and Doris Hewitt 1918 note walking stick

Lionel Ensor and Doris Hewitt 1916

Doris wearing her brother Grailey Hewitt WW1 uniform

Doris Hewitt 1910

Doris Hewitt 1908

Doris and Cecil Hewitt 1911

Close up of envelope

Close up of Nurse and Lionel 1916

Sheringham deli celebrates British Pie Week

Sheringham pie maker Mark Wood is getting ready to celebrate British Pie week from March 6-12

The owner of the Town Deli in Sheringham has targeted the UK trend in ready-made pies and is stocking up on his range.

Mark said: “Over the year we have been displaying more than 30 varieties of pies – meat, fish, vegetarian and gluten free selections. Many are from award-winning bakers, like the Pieminister, Tom’s Pies, and our local Walsingham Pies. We try to make sure there’s a pie for every taste, special need and price. We recently helped a pie and mash charity evening by supplying their individual pie tastes for each of their guests.”

Mark is trying to find the best from the producers of traditional pies and discovering some of the new speciality varieties, so he can showcase the current trends in British pie making in North Norfolk.

‘Vibrant’ new look for former Sheringham seafront hotel

A first-floor restaurant with panoramic views over the promenade and the sea will be an integral part of a development planned for the site of the former Shannocks Hotel in Sheringham.
Wymondham-based architects Lucas Hickman Smith have designed plans for owners Huddies to transform the derelict hotel on the seafront into vibrant new building with the restaurant, shops and flats in keeping with the town’s heritage and the nearby buildings.
The ground-floor retail units, first-floor restaurant and residential apartments on the upper floors will all have sea views to take advantage of its position overlooking the beach.
Company director Andrew Roper said: “We believe the application proposes a vibrant, forward-looking new building, of high architectural quality and demonstrating a clear link to Sheringham’s heritage and its immediate context.
“We are keen for local life to be enhanced by the proposed development, and in particular that the wider community should have the opportunity to enjoy the expansive views over the promenade, the beach and the sea that are offered by the site’s location.”
An application for full planning permission has been submitted to North Norfolk District Council and comes at a time when the council was considering applying for a compulsory purchase order on the site for an alternative development, incorporating the site of the Former Shannocks Hotel and the adjacent Chequers Car Park, which is owned by NNDC.
Judy Oliver, for NNDC, said: “As per the last cabinet decision, we are maintaining pressure on the owners to move forward with development, by putting our own development proposals forward for planning approval, along with a voluntary offer to purchase the derelict hotel from them.”
However, Huddies has urged it to rethink its proposals in light of its application.
“The acquiring authority pays all of the costs of the CPO and the public inquiry, and is usually ordered to pay a successful objector’s legal and professional costs,” said Mr Roper, adding it would “not be in the interests of local ratepayers”.
John Western, a director at Lucas Hickman Smith architects said the company had looked at re-developing the current building but that it was in too poor a state. He said: “The fabric and structure are in a bad state and there are issues with salt saturation.”Mr Roper said: “Retention and renovation of existing buildings is not always an option and the professional and expert opinion received by the company is that this cannot be justified, and would detrimentally impact upon the viability of the scheme. NNDC’s alternative scheme, which was displayed at a consultation event in December, suggests that they have received similar advice from their own property advisors.
“In addition, the existing building’s solid wall construction precludes most forms of thermal insulation and, together with a permeable external skin, has meant that the building has been unable to resist salt spray in its exposed location, leading to significant damp problems.
“The company’s objective of achieving a high level of thermal and environmental performance from the building can only be achieved through demolition and redevelopment.”
If the plans are approved, which the site’s owner expects will take approximately three months, it is hoped work could start before the end of the year, though the developers, who bought the site in late 2010, said that works would steer clear of the summer season.
Mr Roper said: “We are keen to ensure that we minimise disruption to local businesses during the tourist season, and this approach was supported by NNDC when we submitted our project execution plan to them in September of last year.”
He added: “The site is significant in the context of Sheringham and North Norfolk, and the company is fully committed to providing this positive, contemporary addition to the town, which it fully expects will benefit the local community, providing employment in the ground and first-floor commercial spaces, improving the commercial viability of the high street, attracting visitors to the town and presenting a bright, optimistic and forward-looking vision for the seafront and the town.”
The council earlier this month said it could stop the compulsory purchase order at any time if the current site owners were seen to be taking action to tidy up the area.

Coastal festival gives groups a big boost

The Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival has handed over grants totaling £5,080 to local charities and organisations.
The money, raised from the sale of more than 100 decorated beach huts at last year’s festival auction, was distributed between 25 groups.
Representatives from each organisation were joined by members of the festival’s committee at a presentation on January 29 at The Constantia in East Runton.
Festival chairman Tony Shipp opened the presentation by thanking all those who had helped make the festival and auction in 2016 such a success.
The organisations who received grants from the scheme were: The Cromer Mardlers, Sheringham in Bloom, Back to the Drawing Board, Sing Your Heart Out, Ladybird Pre-School, Playing for Cake, Love for Leo, Sheringham Museum, Banningham Defibrillator Fund, Cromer Christmas Lights Volunteers, 1st Cromer Sea Scouts, Friends of North Lodge Park, Cromer RNLI, Waveney Stardust Trust, National Coastwatch Institution – East Runton, Cromer Academy, Cromer Exhibition Foundation, Sheringham Woodfields School, Cromer Carnival Security Team, Sheringham Playpark Revamp, Roughton Under 5s Playgroup, Cromer Girl Guiding, Sheringham and Cromer Choral Society and Cromer and District Garden Society.
On receiving their grant, 1st Cromer Sea Scouts said: “This grant will help us enormously towards the much-needed refurbishment of our very dilapidated Scout HQ kitchen. We’ve been raising funds towards this for a few years and we have at last almost reached our goal.”
Many of the projects which were successful will be working will local children including 1st Cromer Sea Scouts (funding to refurbish the hall), Sheringham Woodfields School (funding to introduce sensory lighting), Cromer Girl Guiding (funding for hall maintenance) and the Cromer & District Garden Society (funding their annual Schools Garden Competition).
Tony said: “We are delighted that so many local community groups will benefit from the grants.”
The festival will be announcing details of their annual art trail for 2017 in the coming weeks. The 2017 festival will run 20-21 May 20-21.  Sponsorship opportunities are now available. Please contact




Picture by Dave (Hubba) Roberts