Sheringham Little Theatre plans improvements - despite significant funding cut

A north Norfolk theatre is predicting a bright future and planning a host of improvements - despite a likely cut in its lifeline council funding.

Sheringham Little Theatre is planning to upgrade its cinema screen to digital and improve its cafe area to help it become 'even better' in the future.

The move comes despite the theatre's trustees recognising the state of public finances and approaching North Norfolk District Council to suggest a staged three-year drop in its annual grant from �53,000 to �38,000.

The idea was mooted in a business plan put before the district council. The plan has been warmly welcomed by the council's leaders, and is expected to be agreed at its cabinet on Monday, November 28.

John Lee, cabinet member for the arts, said: 'Sheringham Little Theatre is one of the district's leading arts organisations and they should be praised for working with us to ensure that the council could achieve its savings while securing the future of the theatre.

'I shall be strongly recommending this business plan to my cabinet colleagues.'

Richard Ellis, Sheringham Little Theatre chairman, said: 'The theatre is a popular, successful venue but, because of its size, will always be needing public funding.

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'The district council has always been a generous supporter and recognises the importance of the theatre as an arts venue.

'The trustees also recognise that public funding is challenged. We've been trying to come up with a way forward that enables the theatre to develop, continue to improve what it's doing and slightly reduce its reliance on public funding.'

Mr Ellis said the proposal had come from the trustees, and added that the business plan would enable the theatre to continue to do what it was doing, and to improve.

He said a host of improvements were planned to 'boost income streams', including moving and upgrading the cinema screen.

He said: 'At the moment, the cinema screen comes down to the middle of the stage, so we cannot show films when we have plays.

'We want to put in a new screen in front of the stage, so that while we are showing films we can still have a stage set in place.

'We've got a plan to go digital with the cinema in the next year or so and to improve the offer in the Hub.

'Going digital will enable us to show a greater range of films, because in the future films are not going to be available in 35mm.'

He added: 'It's a fantastic little theatre. Debbie Thompson is a great director. It's an asset not just for Sheringham but for the whole of north Norfolk. It's been improving consistently, and we believe there's even greater potential in the future.'

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