July 11, 2024

Dancing and drama fun ahead during theatre’s summer

Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson is getting her dancing shoes out ready for the summer, and highlighting how the community is literally playing its part in the venue’s summer programme.

OK summer, you’re here at last so let’s get the party started. July sees plans conceived in the depths of winter hatching into shows which we hope will entertain and enthral our audiences whatever their tastes. The key to being a successful community theatre is providing that “something for everyone” menu of music and drama – but also giving local people the chance to get involved. If you come to see the third of our four summer drama season plays you will see some North Norfolk youngsters joining the professional cast.

The roles they play in Turn of the Screw are vital to the plot; children who may hold the key to the ghostly goings on in a country manor house. So what an opportunity for our four starlets Corbyn Smith, Olivia Linford, Rose Catterall and Riley Massingham to be a part of this production. They impressed us at auditions, and we have seen them grow in confidence during rehearsals. Two of them, Corbyn and Olivia, are SLT youth production regulars, but two are not, so huge praise to Rose and Riley for stepping into our summer season spotlight. Could you have done that aged nine and 11? And that’s what a theatre like ours is all about. Not just hiring in touring shows like so many seaside venues, but reaching out and involving the community we serve. Among the professional cast in Turn of the Screw are Ryan Starling and Meg Arthurton who both cut their acting teeth on our stage as youngsters before going on to make careers in the theatre world, which will be an added inspiration to our student stars, who will take it in turns to play the two children Miles and Flora.

If I’m allowed a “proud mum” moment, it is also wonderful to see my daughter Katie making her summer directing debut during the play. While her brother Sam played Miles in an earlier production here, Katie has not appeared in any summer shows – but she has watched many of them, coming along with me since she was a child, so knows what a summer show requires, and has some ideas of her own to enhance the classic Victorian drama. The summer season opens with a Three Musketeers comedy parody (July30-August7), followed by Turn of the Screw (August 9-14), It’s Her Turn Now farce (August 16-24) and finishes with the Ayckbourn farce Relatively Speaking (August 27-31).

But there’s a lovely music appetiser this weekend (July 12-13) at our country retreat – Mannington Hall – when the Lee Vasey Big Band returns with a picnic party on Friday night (it was great fun last year), followed by Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera in the walled garden on Saturday tea time.

Add in a debut by popular Norfolk entertainer Olly Day and his If It’s Laughter You’re After show on Friday July 19 and the scene is set for a summer of music, mirth, drama and dancing to provide some entertainment sunshine, whatever the weather.

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