Big task for Lorraine at Sheringham Little Theatre

Finding a new life, Lorraine Metcalfe gets into her role as Shirley Valentine

Finding a new life, Lorraine Metcalfe gets into her role as Shirley Valentine - Credit: Archant

Actress Lorraine Metcalfe is climbing a mountain of line-learning for the parts of three leading women in a summer drama season.

A tough task for any actor, but all the harder as she battles with the word-scrambling condition of dyslexia.

Over the course of a few weeks at Sheringham Little Theatre professional actress Lorraine will play: Shirley Valentine – the stuck-in-a-rut housewife who breaks free of her drudgery through a holiday romance; Beverley – the acid-tongued and flirtatious hostess of a cringeworthy 1970s cocktail party; And Jacqueline – the got-it-all businesswoman who seeks still more through an affair in stylish Paris.

Lorraine has learned to live with her dyslexia – by laboriously building up her lines, and asking friends to check she is sticking to the script.

She explained: 'I used to enjoy drama lessons at school, but never auditioned for productions because I thought I was just a bit stupid learning the lines.

'It was only when I did solo acting exams at a theatre and creative arts college that they pointed out that what I was doing was good, but it wasn't the script.'

She is in good company, with famous actors such as Orlando Bloom, Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Aniston and Whoopi Goldberg all overcoming dyslexia to pursue their careers.

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'I have just found ways round it and my brain has got used to it,' she added.

Lorraine was first lured to Sheringham in 2007, after a career break bringing up a family.

Now she is reprising the one-woman Shirley Valentine role for the opening drama in the summer repertory season which opens on July 12.

Lorraine, who has become a Sheringham rep regular, said: 'It is very tough in rep, but playing different characters helps differentiate them in your mind.

'You have to be prepared, with all the lines learned, but every time I have been to Sheringham I have had a ball.'

So much so she has moved to the Cromer area and is also working in housekeeping at the Blakeney Hotel – meaning she has to work her line-learning into the hours after her shifts.

'I did consider doing a Shirley Valentine and moving abroad, but I feel so much at home in north Norfolk I decided to come here because I have made so many friends,' she added.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson, who first spotted Lorraine's talent when the actress was playing Shirley in the New Forest area, said: 'Lorraine is so incredibly versatile, hard-working and consistent. Not many actors can take on three leads in a summer season because of the amount of line-learning – let alone with dyslexia.'

For more information and tickets about the plays call the box office on 01263 822347, or visit

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