Change of scene for amateur drama group

Members of Stage Direct amateur dramatic group.

Members of Stage Direct amateur dramatic group. - Credit: Archant

A well-established amateur dramatic group which performs 'edgy' productions is on the move to a new theatrical base.

Stage Direct, formed in 1998, spent several years at Sheringham Little Theatre and has most recently been based at the Granary Theatre in Wells.

It is moving to the Atrium next to North Walsham High School to become the theatre's resident amateur group.

Their first production at the new base will be Alan Ayckbourn's black comedy Absent Friends on May 16, May 17 and May 18.

Stage Direct chairman Derek Bull said: 'We are very excited about it. The Atrium is a smashing complex and offers some great challenges.'

The Atrium opened about a year ago and includes a cinema, theatre, dance studio and recording studio.

Mr Bull added: 'We aim to perform edgy shows that many groups shy away from.'

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Stage Direct's first production in 1999 was Brimstone and Treacle, written by Dennis Potter - a 1976 television play temporarily banned by the BBC.

Other shows put on by the group include Joe Orton's black comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane about a handsome, amoral murderous lodger, Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party highlighting the tensions at a middle class dinner party and Nell Dunn's Steaming, exploring five women's foibles and fantasies in a Turkish bath.

Mr Bull and his wife, Val, helped form the Stage Direct after putting in £250 and receiving a £500 grant from North Norfolk District Council.

John Fox, the then general manager of the Sheringham Little Theatre, also supported Stage Direct.

Stage Direct merged with the Sheringham Players in 2004 but the partnership ended amicably in 2010.

The group, which has between 20 and 25 actors mainly from the Cromer, Sheringham and Norwich, aims to perform two productions a year shown around May and October.

Tickets for Absent Friends at the Atrium are £10 (£7 concessions) via the venue's box office 01692 400080 or visit

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