Amateur dramatic groups across Norfolk and Suffolk toast a string of awards

How the Other Half Loves at  Sheringham Little Theatre, which has won regional best play award from NODA for Cromer and Sheringham Operation and Dramatic Society. How the Other Half Loves at Sheringham Little Theatre, which has won regional best play award from NODA for Cromer and Sheringham Operation and Dramatic Society.

Thursday, May 1, 2014
6:30 AM

Drama groups across Norfolk are taking a bow after winning regional awards.

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Stephanie Moore and the late Gary Higgs in Sweeney Todd. Photo: SubmittedStephanie Moore and the late Gary Higgs in Sweeney Todd. Photo: Submitted

The efforts of amateur actors and stage designers have been given bouquets by the National Operatic and dramatic Association.

At a regional ceremony there were awards and praise for groups from the city and market towns to a seaside village.

The Norfolk awards saw a double triumph for the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society’s musical Sweeney Todd, which won best musical in the Norfolk district, and the overall best production for the wider region.

Society chairman David Pulling said he was ecstatic at the double success.

Four wins for Lowestoft group

Members of a Lowestoft-based amateur dramatic group scooped four top awards at the NODA regional awards.

Lowestoft Players won best musical award in their section for their production of Oliver!, best pantomime award for Sleeping Beauty and best technical achievement award for their Christmas Spectacular.

And the two young actors who shared the leading role in Oliver!, Tom Scoggins and Thomas Major, jointly shared the best youth performer award, meaning it was double delight for Thomas as his sister Lauren Major directed the show.

They also won the best programme and poster competition for their production of Calendar Girls for the whole Eastern region.

Deanne Dickson, from the players, said: “It was a thrilling experience to attend the awards and be the recipients of so many accolades in recognition of our talent and hard work.”

Lowestoft-based B&B Theatre Company clinched the best youth production award in its district for its show Peter Pan.

The Pulham Players also won best play for their production of No Sex Please, We’re British.

“It was a difficult show, challenging the cast and audience, which proved to be a huge artistic success.”

There was the added poignancy of the show being the last time young member Gary Higgs, who died from cystic fibrosis aged 23, performed with his wife-to-be Stephanie, who was the leading lady.

The society, which was been in existence since 1925, only starting winning awards in 2010, and also won the best musical award last year with Hello Dolly.

It is now planning its 2015 musical Sister Act and seeking a leading lady for June 1 auditions.

The accolades were handed out by the regional arm of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association at a ceremony in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.

Norfolk Noda respresentative Susan DuPont praised the winners saying just being nominated was an achievement.

Winning was a feather in the cap for the societies, particularly a smaller one such as Blakeney.

The awards were handed out by national president Bert Lumsden, who will be attending the opening night of the Cromer and Sheringham society’s centenary musical Oliver later this month.

Other Norfolk district winners were:

■Best play - the comedy How the Other Half Loves by the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society.

■Best panto - Dereham Theatre Company’s Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates

■Youth projection - Norfolk Youth Music Theatre’s Miss Saigon at Norwich Playhouse

■Technical - Blakeney Players for their scenery and sets in both their panto Acropolis Now (a comedy of arrows) and the summer musical review A Change of Heart.

■Youth performer - Megan Arthurton from Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey.

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