Actors appearing in a popular annual summer repertory season arrived in town this week, taking a quick stroll on the beach and a paddle in the sea before diving straight into rehearsals for the 10-week, five-play season.

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The seven-strong company and a team of top directors will be inviting audiences to dip their toes into a programme featuring Sheringham Little Theatre’s winning formula of farce, comedy and thriller.

It kicks off with an Olympic-style staging of two of Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests series.

Putting in his fifth summer rep appearance is Little Theatre favourite Richard Earl, with regulars Illona Linthwaite and Madeleine Brolly also starring.

“We have a lovely mix of firm favourites and new faces,” said theatre director Debbie Thompson. “And, in our nod to the Olympics, we will be staging a double helping of Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests on the same day in August, so audiences will be able to follow two closely relating plays from the matinee to the evening performance.”

Also appearing this year are four local youngsters, who will be taking turns to play Victorian brother and sister Miles and Flora in an adaptation of Henry James’s haunting supernatural chiller The Turn of the Screw, which is directed by Clare Goddard.

“Although young people regularly appear with our professional pantomime cast and take part in musical theatre productions, this is the first time they have had a chance to be part of the rep, so to work with an accomplished director on serious drama is a fantastic opportunity for them,” Mrs Thompson said.

Summer rep directors this year include Gillian King, Royal Shakespeare Company regular Helen Leblique and Paston Sixth Form College expressive arts teacher Simon Thompson, who, following the success of Robin Hawdon’s Perfect Wedding last year, will be directing the actor and writer’s fast-paced farce, Birthday Suite.

Mrs Thompson said: “It is a great year to be British and repertory theatre is one of the great British traditions, so we are really looking forward to what we are sure will be an exciting and very popular season.”

Audiences will also have a chance to eat in the Little Theatre’s newly-revamped Hub cafe, which will be ready in time for the opening night of the summer season on July 5.

Summer rep evening performances are at 8pm, with matinees on Tuesdays at 2.30pm. Tickets, priced £13 to £16 (£10 Under 18s) are available from the box office on 01263 822347.

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