May 24, 2024

Backstage improvements for actors and audiences

Unseen but vital work to benefit audiences and actors is being carried out behind the scenes at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Improvements to the changing rooms, scenery dock and backstage access are being done thanks to a £45,000 grant from North Norfolk District Council’s businesses and community fund.

And an old gas boiler is being replaced with two air source heat pumps thanks to a contribution from the Sheringham Shoal wind farm’s Community Fund.

The changing room work will see benches replaced with movable desks, plus new partitions, which will make the space more flexible for the mix of performers using them.

There will also be improvements to the floor in the scene dock, back stairs, and a new ramp to make the stage accessible to all. And the heating improvements will be felt in the auditorium and Hub coffee bar.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “As a charity-run theatre we can just about cover our arts activities as a going concern, but have to seek help when we have the need for sudden capital investment.

“Getting grants like these is fantastic so we can carry out the improvements we need that will help reduce our bills and increase our sustainability.”

The council has owned the theatre building since 1974 and has previously supported the arts venue with refurbishment works including the revamped Hub coffee bar and energy-efficient windows.

Council portfolio holder for sustainable growth John Toye said: “Assisting much-loved places like the Little Theatre and helping them to accomplish things like better energy efficiency or opening up more opportunities to support the community, is essential to growing north Norfolk.”

The grant was made through the Rural England Prosperity Fund which is delivered by NNDC.

The Sheringham Shoal fund is administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation, receives an annual donation of £100,000 from the wind farm to award grants to a wide range of community projects in North Norfolk.

Colin Galer, wind farm power plant manager, said they were pleased to support the theatre, adding: “Sheringham Little Theatre is so much more than just a theatre. It plays an important role in the local community via its volunteer-led café and community projects, including schools and youth services outreach projects, and provides a safe and welcoming venue for local residents and visitors to North Norfolk.”

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