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Sheringham Little Theatre celebrates a big year of success

PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 December 2016

Theatre chairman Richard Ellis, president Lord Walpole and director Debbie Thompson with volunteers and supporters celebrating its Norfolk Arts Award before the annual meeting. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

Theatre chairman Richard Ellis, president Lord Walpole and director Debbie Thompson with volunteers and supporters celebrating its Norfolk Arts Award before the annual meeting. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

RICHARD BATSON

A community theatre has shone the spotlight on success both on the stage and on the balance sheet.

Sheringham Little Theatre produced a modest operating profit for the second year running thanks to people visiting its drama, music and cinema mix.

The venue was £8000 in the black in 2016 the annual meeting heard at the weekend.

Chairman Richard Ellis said the figures came despite a fall in public sector grant funding which has dropped by 40pc over the past five years.

There was still strong support from North Norfolk District Council as well as town and county councils without which the theatre could not run, and for which it was very grateful.

But the venue had increased income from other areas, including through corporate sponsors, an improved cinema offering, and its increasingly popular Hub coffee bar which had gone from strength to strength, doubling its income over five years.

Mr Ellis and president Lord Walpole praised the efforts of the theatre’s army of 86 volunteers who were vital to its success. Efforts are ongoing to recruit even more, especially with skills including DIY and fundraising.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said 2017 looked like being equally exciting. It included a community production of Oliver in tribute to theatre supporter Mike Thame who died during the year.

The theatre’s summer drama season would be based on traditional classical repertory productions, including some Noel Coward, and the panto would be the Wizard of Oz.

Ideas were also being sought for fundraising events, helping towards the A Little Bit Bigger appeal for an extension on the flat roof.

Before the meeting a celebration was held to mark the theatre’s success in this year’s Norfolk Arts Awards where it won the EDP People’s Choice accolade for small attractions, against competition from two major Norwich venues the Maddermarket and Arts Centre.

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