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Memories of theatre’s first season in 1960 shared for anniversary

PUBLISHED: 16:50 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:12 29 July 2020

A cast shot from Funny Money, a 2019 Sheringham Little Theatre production. Picture: Andi Sapey/Supplied by SLT

A cast shot from Funny Money, a 2019 Sheringham Little Theatre production. Picture: Andi Sapey/Supplied by SLT

Andi Sapey

Memorabilia from the early days of a north Norfolk theatre has been given back to the venue as a special anniversary present.

File photo of June Cooper, who has donated memorabilia from the Empire Theatre Sheringham / Sheringham Little Theatre's past. Picture: Supplied by SLTFile photo of June Cooper, who has donated memorabilia from the Empire Theatre Sheringham / Sheringham Little Theatre's past. Picture: Supplied by SLT

June Cooper, an amateur actress, director and former ladies’ boutique owner, has donated the items including programmes from Sheringham Little Theatre’s first summer season in 1960.

Mrs Cooper’s donation came just days before the theatre would have opened its five-play summer season with a performance of 1960s thriller Wait Until Dark.

Although the shows have been cancelled due to the pandemic, theatre director Debbie Thompson said the donation was a brilliant reminder of the venue’s heritage.

Mrs Thompson said: “As you would expect of an actress of June’s quality the timing is perfect, and we are so grateful.

Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson. Picture: Supplied by SLTSheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson. Picture: Supplied by SLT

“We are devastated we cannot bring our audiences the summer season they love – but at least we provide some memories of how it all began.

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“And we are appealing for any members of the public who have photos or memorabilia of that first season to contact us too – so we can enhance our archive even further.”

The venue was called the Empire Theatre when it opened, and the first season programmes were staged by the Sheringham Urban District Council.

A page from a 1960 Empire Theatre Sheringham (now Sheringham Little Theatre) programme. Picture: Supplied by SLTA page from a 1960 Empire Theatre Sheringham (now Sheringham Little Theatre) programme. Picture: Supplied by SLT

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The shows were presented by the Regency Players nightly at 8pm with tickets on sale via Barney’s shop opposite the theatre, and pre-show meals available at the Sea View restaurant.

The shows included The Pleasure of His Company, a San Francisco-set comedy, of which there was also a 1961 film version starring Fred Astaire and Debbie Reynolds. There was also an adaption of the 1930s Agatha Christie thriller Love from a Stranger, and a holiday chaos comedy called Beside the Seaside.

More laughs were had at performances of the Cold War-themed comedy Friends and Neighbours, the hospital comedy Doctor in the House and Chelsea crime comedy There Was a Crooked Man.

The thriller Murder without Crime also entertained audiences in 1960 at the theatre.

A page from a 1960 Empire Theatre Sheringham (now Sheringham Little Theatre) programme. Picture: Supplied by SLTA page from a 1960 Empire Theatre Sheringham (now Sheringham Little Theatre) programme. Picture: Supplied by SLT

Anyone who has memorabilia, anecdotes, memories of the cast or photos of that first season is asked to message the theatre on its social media channels or email trustee richardjbatson@gmail.com.


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