February 16, 2024

Funds and volunteers are vital for theatre

Generating funds as well as fun is a vital role for the Sheringham Little Theatre.

That was one of the key messages at the annual general meeting of the charity which runs the community arts venue.

Chairman Jonathan Beak said things were improving after some difficult Covid-affected years which hit income streams and people’s confidence to come out to social events.

Cost of living pressures continued to cause problems as some people were torn by spending their money to eat or visit the theatre.

“We too have increased costs, though we keep them as skinny as we can. And we only have a small staff whose level of dedication, hard work, long hours and going the extra mile is unreal.

“There is slight perception that we are rolling in cash which is not true. And people sometimes forget we are a charity.

“We need to raise more money – through ticket sales, the Hub coffee bar, more sponsors and members,” said Jonathan who told members the board was being positive but realistic.

“We will always struggle to be self-funding, so are grateful for all the help we get from grants and from our volunteers without whom we simply could not exist,” he explained.

Outlining plans for 2024, theatre director Debbie Thompson said spring events included a youth Matilda musical and adult Terry Pratchett Wyrd Sisters production.

A summer drama season of four plans – three comedies and a thriller – are being bolstered by an encore performance of Shirley Valentine by Loraine Metcalfe as a fundraiser event in June.

Other fundraising initiatives include a new 250 club which offers cash prizes, and encouraging people to remember the theatre for a gift in their wills.

The new programme also features jazz, blues, and films plus a growing number of Hub events ranging from murder mystery and quizzes to open mics and new team time sessions for youngsters.

The 2024 panto will be Robin Hood with regular writer Nick Earnshaw taking a role as the Sheriff of Sheringham. And following the sell-out success of an adult panto it is planned to double the number of shows this year.

The meeting saw president Lady Walpole switch roles to honorary patron, with well-known actor Suranne Jones stepping in as president. (See other stories on our website)

Debbie echoed a recent speech by Lord (Melvyn) Bragg in which he said the arts were not the cherry on the cake, but the cake itself.

“The arts make life worth living and can be life changing,” Debbie said.

The new brochure is out now – collectable from the box office or downloadable through the website, which also tells you how to join as a member and support the theatre with priority booking benefits.

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