Traditional summer rep season launched in Sheringham

Sheringham Little Theatre launch of the summer rep season. Left to right, Luke Francis, Mary Lincoln, Terence Frisby, Maeve Smyth, James Hirst.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Sheringham Little Theatre launch of the summer rep season. Left to right, Luke Francis, Mary Lincoln, Terence Frisby, Maeve Smyth, James Hirst. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Thursday, July 17, 2014
8:00 AM

Traditional summer rep theatre is returning to a north Norfolk seaside stage, one of the few remaining venues to champion the art.

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The six-week blast of five productions will be performed by professional actors, including a former Paston Sixth Form pupil, at Sheringham Little Theatre between July 25 and September 6.

One of the productions will star Megan Bailes and Joshua Duckmanton, both 17-year-old performing arts students at Paston Sixth Form College in North Walsham.

Debbie Thompson, director of the theatre, said: “The rep is really important. It is a tradition we are extremely proud of and are determined to keep because we are one of the last surviving seaside rep seasons.

“Summer rep brings a lot of visitors to the town and is important for the local community as well. People look forward to it and embrace it.”

This year will be the 54th year of Sheringham Summer Rep and there will be a mixture of productions, including a farce, a spine-chilling thriller, a dark comedy and a spoof vampire plot.

Mrs Thompson added: “The season is great training for actors. It is an opportunity for them to play different parts.

“This year there is a really good mix of productions. I’m hoping it is a mixture that will have something for everybody.”

Mrs Thompson said she was keen to find a play where teenagers from the area could act alongside professionals.

Megan and Joshua will perform in Caught in the Net as teenage children.

Other north Norfolk youngsters involved in Sheringham rep this year are friends Matilda Bailes, 15, from Happisburgh, and Abbi Hooker, 15, from North Walsham.

They both attend Aylsham High School, want to have careers in the theatre and are helping backstage over the next six weeks.

Professional actor James Hirst, 44, will be taking part in the Sheringham rep for the first time this year and is in the majority of the productions.

He first came to Sheringham last year when he performed a one-man play paying tribute to Second World War Merchant Navy heroes at The Mo Sheringham Museum.

Mr Hirst, who trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, said: “Rep is important for a town like Sheringham because it brings a season of professionally-acted plays of different types to the town. It is fun for people on holiday to see a variety of plays.

“It is hard work, but enormous fun. It does offer a challenge and tests an actor because you have to inhabit different characters and bring something fresh to each one.”

He added that rep seasons sharpened his acting skills and forced him to make bolder decisions.

“I really love Sheringham. It has got a life and vibrancy all of its own. There is something unique about Sheringham,” he added.

Rehearsals started on Tuesday and Mr Hirst will be joined by seven other actors, including Ryan Starling, 23, who used to live in North Walsham and studied at Paston Sixth Form College before going to drama school in London.

The plays will be Funny About Love, from July 25-30; adult thriller Kiss of Death, from August 1-7; Caught in the Net, from August 9-21; Neville’s Island, from August 23-30; and The Mystery of Irma Vep, from September 2-6.

For bookings, contact the box office on 01263 822347, or you can visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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