Fairy story gets a new twist in the park

Lost children, wicked witches and houses made of sweets will be in North Walsham Memorial Park in August.
Expect catchy songs, larger than life characters and a plot with a twist as New Stages will present a new adaptation of the classic fairy story Hansel and Gretel, written by show director Joseph Ballard.
Joseph said: “Hansel and Gretel is a great story and we’ve given it a bit of a twist to present some family theatre for free in the park.
“It’s great to be able to inspire the local area with live theatre through our regular classes and our performances in town and I hope the community will come and support us.”
Actors will be accompanied by members of North Norfolk Youth Theatre, who will play some of the children who have been captured by the greedy witch. Andrew Burrell, 12, and Megan Howlett, 17, who both live in North Walsham, will play the title characters.
North Walsham Town Council has also supported the project to bring free theatre alive in the summer holidays.
The show will take place on Wednesday, August 9, at 2pm and 6pm in the park. Audiences are advised to bring seating or blankets and a picnic – just don’t eat the children!
You can also see Hansel and Gretel at Worsted Festival on July 29 and 30 in the display ring.
New Stages are also presenting the North Norfolk Youth Theatre Summer School for 8-17 year olds on August 21-23 and 26 in North Walsham. Some places are still available and you can find more information on their website –


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.



The perfect ‘Soul Sister’ act!

I can’t even begin to explain how full of soul, fun and talent this show is.

Directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, this show is based on the hit movie starring Whoopi Goldberg. Alexandra Burke who plays the iconic main character, Delores Van Cartier, had some big platform shoes to fill, and she did not disappoint.

The story follows a young aspiring singer in the late 60’s that saw her love interest murder someone and so had to go into hiding. She was placed into a convent to take cover as a nun. After joining the parish choir, she soon realised that her vocal talents were needed, desperately. And this was the most hilarious journey…

How the nuns managed to sing so badly, and so out of key on purpose is completely beyond me. It was just brilliant.

When you have the singing ability that the full cast have, I really respect how difficult it must have been to perform in such a way. The shining stars in these scenes were Sister Mary Patrick, played by Susannah Van Den Burg, and Sister Mary Robert played by Sarah Goggin.

There wasn’t a huge cast which made everything far more intimate and from start to finish the whole team just worked perfectly together. There was a real variation of characters that completely complemented each other.

Throughout the whole show, cast members on stage were seen playing the musical instruments. Not only were they singing and dancing, they were the orchestra too – it was something I’d never seen before but really brought home how talented these people are.

The male roles were so charismatic and spot on too – I particularly loved Eddie, played by Joe Vetch.
With amazing choreography there was non-stop energy from start to finish, even in the ‘slow motion’ scenes – keep your eye out for these, watching the male actors faces during these scenes really had me laughing.

Alexandra Burke has no bounds when it comes to being a soul sister – she has the look, the moves and my god does she have the voice, perfect casting for this role.

You could see that the whole cast had a blast during this performance as they all left the stage still singing and dancing, with big smiles on their faces – as were the audience during a well-deserved standing ovation.

I’ve seen many musicals but this one for me had it all; from tears of laughter to real goose bump moments from the exceptional vocals.

The show is on until Saturday May 6 and you can buy tickets here:


Alexandra Burke as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act

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

It’s a ‘mad’ challenge for Rebecca

Maddermarket general manager Rebecca Wass is taking on a huge challenge to raise much-needed funds for the threatre.

On Sunday (January 28) she will be running 48 miles along Pedders Way in 12 hours.

Rebecca felt the need to take on a super tough challenge to try and raise much needed funding to repair the heating system and toilets.

She said: “We are in need of vital funds to repair the building. With a quote of over £50,000 just for the toilets alone, I knew I had to do something.  The theatre holds a special place in the volunteers’ hearts and I know from talking to the actors, set painters and stewards that it is considered a second home. I wanted to try to find a way to help, not just from my role as GM but also as someone who loves the theatre. So I decided to find the biggest challenge I could. A friend suggested the Pedders Way, though I must admit I’m not sure if I will consider them a friend at the end of it.”

The challenge is to complete 48 miles by foot from Knettishall Heath to Holme next to the Sea in under 12 hours. “I know this is going to be really tough, the furthest I have done in training is 27 ½ miles but I did do two marathons in two days between Christmas and New Year. I have to admit that wasn’t a pleasant experience but I was back at work the following day, albeit it with a slight hobble,” said Rebecca. The challenge is even tougher as competitors have to carry all their supplies with them, including waterproofs, water and food as the checkpoints are 12 miles apart.  Rebecca is hoping the weather will be good and not snowing as it did two years ago.

The Maddermarket is a registered charity, and unlike other many other producing houses in the country, they do not receive funding from the Arts Council or the government and therefore rely on audiences buying tickets to see the shows.

The theatre is one of the largest producing houses in the UK with 12 in-house productions a year and therefore the costs mount up to keep the shows at such a high quality.

The theatre is a hive of activity and acts as a second home to a lot of volunteers, actors and educational students that are part of the team at the Theatre.

If you would like to sponsor Rebecca you can via her everyclick page or call into the theatre.

Contact the theatre for more info on 01603 626560


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

Video:  See a rehearsal and development showreel at–N_lwrKg

Action from the Sentence Snatchers.
Picture: Flat Pack Productions



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

Oliver! tribute to Sheringham trouper Mike

A popular “am dram” actor is to be remembered in a youth production of a favourite musical.
Mike Thame, a keen amateur actor and big supporter of the Sheringham Little Theatre, will be honoured in an all-singing all-dancing Oliver! next Easter but the hunt is on this month for the main characters and chorus.
Mr Thame died in May aged 76 after many years appearing on local stages and raising funds for the Sheringham venue.
The fundraising show in April is dedicated to his memory, and one of the young actors he inspired will be taking the classic role of Fagin which Mike portrayed in 2010.
Sam Thompson, now 17, who played Fagin’s young sidekick the Artful Dodger when he was just 10, said he wanted to re-run the show and to play Fagin as tribute in memory of Mike.
He said: “Mike was always really encouraging to me. I was the youngest Artful Dodger and he looked after me, helping me be more confident on stage. He was an amazing man and I am honored to pay tribute to him.”
Sam’s mum, theatre director Debbie Thompson, added: “As a family we were very sad about the loss of Mike. We have fond memories of him and Oliver, which was our first community production and also saw my daughter Katy as a flower girl and husband Simon directing.
“Mike inspired confidence among the young members and had such a wonderful sense of humour. He even managed to work a Norwich City scarf and an ‘up the Canaries line’ into the show.”
Mike’s widow Joan, a trustee at the theatre, said the show honouring her husband “means a great deal to me and the opening night will be very emotional”.
Mr and Mrs Thame were both involved in a drama group in London, so when they moved to Sheringham in 1976 they soon got involved with the town’s Players.
Mike, a retired advertising executive and former salesman at Norfolk Homes, acted and directed for the group over many years.
Mrs Thame said: “He loved it, and when they discovered dry rot in the theatre Mike staged Whitehall farces to raise funds. They lasted 10 years and raised thousands for the repairs.”
Oliver! will be raising money for the theatre’s extension project.
It will run for a week from Saturday, April 8, but with no show on April 9.
Auditions will be held at the theatre on Sunday (November 27) from  10am. There are chorus roles open to anyone who enjoys singing, dancing and acting, but those looking to fill the main parts of Dodger, Nancy, Bill Sykes, Mr Bumble and Bet are being asked to prepare a song, details of which are on the website or call 01263 822347.

Mike Thame as Fagin.

Mike Thame as Fagin.

Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson