February 13, 2023

Better times in the wings for Little Theatre

Positivity was in the air at Sheringham Little Theatre’s annual general meeting as venue bosses looked to a rosier future after some troubled times.

Director Debbie Thompson said 2022 had been “horrible” with café takings and ticket sales down, redundancies resulting from Covid, and a water leak.

But she felt 2023 would be a happier, more positive years – helped by fresh energy from the trustees at the charity which runs the venue.

The water leak in the Hub café had been turned into an opportunity to revamp it, and other parts of the theatre, thanks mainly to council and other grants.

Other grants received during Covid had covered the theatre’s losses, and Debbie countered any misconceptions the theatre was “rolling in funds”.

The new-look Hub would be important in the venue’s efforts to attract new and young audiences as well as new events such music, poetry and talks.

New monthly quizzes being held there were proving popular and an important fundraiser for the theatre.

Panto played to 97pc capacity audiences, and the Easter youth production, which featured only seven children last year, had 40 lined up for Disney’s Jungle Book this year – which were all encouraging signs that things were returning to normal.

Plans for 2023 include a full summer season with:

  • I Am Hamlet – a comedy thriller (July 25-Aug 5)
  • Shanty – musical drama about the family of a shanty singer (Aug 8-12)
  • Hound of the Baskerville – a spoof of the Sherlock Holmes classic (Aug 15-19)
  • Run for Your Wife – Ray Cooney farce (Aug 22-26)
  • Private Lives – wit from Noel Coward (Aug 29-Sep 2)

Two concerts are also planned for Mannington Hall – a Lee Vasey Big Band party on July 21 and a classical picnic concert on July 22.

Other highlights from the agm were:

  • A new website for the theatre has gone live
  • The latest brochure covering April to September is going to print soon.
  • The Friends and Members scheme is being refreshed in the spring
  • A campaign to recruit new volunteers is being given a new push

New trustees chairman Jonathan Beak said the theatre had emerged from Covid, was dealing with rising energy costs, and needed to keep growing its audience numbers and diversity. He looked forward to a “busy and positive 2023 after some tricky years.”

Sheringham Little Theatre Hub opening event

Theatre chairman Jonathan Beak and director Debbie Thompson give thanks in their speeches at the Hub reopening.

President Lady Walpole praised the venue for continuing to provide live theatre, with welcoming staff, dynamic director and supportive board and volunteers that made the venue a special facility in Sheringham.

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