Mozart and movie milestones as theatre emerges from lockdown
PUBLISHED: 09:20 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:20 01 September 2020
Sheringham Little Theatre director DEBBIE THOMPSON reports on the venue’s gradual reopening.
Summer is turning to autumn – and a year that went into slow motion for six months is now gathering pace as the Little Theatre awakens from its enforced and unseasonal hibernation.
What a pleasure, and a relief, it was to hold an outdoor event during the final days of last month – with a sell-out music event at Mannington Hall. It was our first since March – and it felt like a major milestone.
It you could imagine a perfectly English afternoon, this was it. Picnickers in the park. Classical music in the sunny walled garden of a stately home. Birds singing in the trees. Bars of lilting strings mixing with the baas of contented sheep.
It was a real treat to have the London Mozart Players, whose musicians perform all over the world, working with our young actors to devise a programme which blended uplifting stories from lockdown with violin virtuosity – and some swift reactions to keep wind-blown sheet music in its rightful place!
We are so grateful to Orchestras Live, who have a long tradition of bringing top grade classical music to the people of North Norfolk, for helping make this event happen. And we are so lucky to have Lord Walpole as our president whose support, dating back to 1973 includes occasional use of his “garden”.
We think the event raised around £2000 for the theatre, which after many months of having no income, is a welcome addition to our balance sheets.
But it was not all about money. It was about getting back into action, and showing people that the Little Theatre is still alive and most definitely kicking.
The young people involved enjoyed the experience of preparing the lockdown stories - a mix off their own and some from the public – and liaising with the orchestra about the choice of music.
Two of the Players did a mini pre-show tour of two care homes in Sheringham to entertain the residents. It brought a tear to the eye of one lady who revealed her father was a cellist as she thanked the two musicians.
We have had great feedback from the hundred strong crowd who attended. And don’t forget there is still a chance to see the concert via a recorded version which can be bought via our website for £6 – and provides a link which you can watch between now and September 9.
We are also hoping to show it on the theatre’s big screen later this year – which nicely leads us to our main offering in September, which is a return to regular movies.
Last month’s first two offerings since lockdown – Military Wives and 1917 – were welcomed by our “regulars”, who also felt safe in the new socially distanced cinema set –up – which allows for 50 people in our 160-seater auditorium. We hope more people will join them going forward and you can see our September selection in our panel.
Live theatre remains in limbo, mainly because social distancing would make audience numbers so low that funding shows would be unviable. There are so many unknowns ahead, but we are creative people, and we are beavering away seeking creative ways of bringing entertainment to you in the autumn and winter.
That may be live shows away from the theatre, or using video technology to do live-streamed or recorded events. If you walk past the theatre – or drop into the Hub – and hear the sound of whirring cogs, it us thinking hard!
Talking of the Hub, we enjoyed a good August thanks to Rishi’s Dishes – better known as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme promoted by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. It saw a surge of snackers – including many new faces - in the first part of the week, when the scheme was in action. We hope they return and help us with our only regular source of income at the moment.
Finally, we are back at Mannington Hall this weekend – with a stall at the annual charity day – running from 11am to 5pm on Sunday (September 6).
Entry is £5 and the day is supporting the local churches, but we are among the “sideshows” and attractions which include crafts, classic cars and history displays.
We are determined not to become part of that history, so do come and say hello and we can tell you more about what we are planning – and how you can help.
The movie menu: What’s on Sheringham Little Theatre
-September 8- Knives Out (12A) – Modern day murder mystery that unfolds when renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dies just after his 85th birthday. Debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) arrives at his estate to find the murderer.
-September 17 - Jojo Rabbit (12A) - A World War II satire following lonely German boy Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) who discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.
-September 22 - The Personal History of David Copperfield (PG) - A modern comedy-drama take on Charles Dickens’s classic tale of an orphan’s journey from unhappy childhood to success as a storyteller. Dev Patel stars in the title role, with stellar support including Peter Capaldi, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw and Paul Whitehouse.
-September 29 - The Lighthouse (15) – An hypnotic and hallucinatory horror tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote, grey and mysterious New England island in the 1890s where they must battle the elements and each other’s personalities. Stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe.
For more information and to book tickets please visit our website sheringhamlittletheatre.com/whats-on
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