New season: Sheringham Little Theatre

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor It might be the dark days of winter – but over at Sheringham Little Theatre there's a definite hint of spring in the air. The 180-seat venue is one of the smaller theatres in Norfolk, but more than makes up for it with a packed programme of attractions.


It might be the dark days of winter – but over at Sheringham Little Theatre there's a definite hint of spring in the air.

The 180-seat venue is one of the smaller theatres in Norfolk, but more than makes up for it with a packed programme of attractions.

Three great names in music spearhead the new line-up.

British rhythm and blues stalwart Alan Price has had a career in music stretching back more than 40 years. The keyboard player on such brilliant Animals hits as House of the Rising Sun, Alan went on to have a highly successful solo chart career. He'll be playing the Station Road venue – and sharing plenty of his fascinating stories – on March 5 (£15).

Terry Lightfoot is one of the great names in British jazz, helping to spearhead the Fifties trad revival. He'll be bringing his jazzmen to the venue on May 21 for an evening of foot-tapping favourites. Terry has nurtured a host of talent from Kenny Ball to Ginger Baker and played alongside the legendary Louis Armstrong. Tickets £12, concs £11.

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And Sixties singer-songwriter Julie Felix will be calling in at the coast on May 14 as part of a major UK tour. Celebrating her 40th year in the music industry, Julie has worked with many of the great names in rock and pop and is a close friend of Bob Dylan. She will be performing an eclectic mix of her own material as well as Dylan classics, traditional Mexican folk songs and some surprises. (£7, concs £6)

There'll be spooky goings-on at the theatre on February 12, courtesy of Anglia's Lizzie Falconer from the Ghostly Tales of the Unexpected series. The paranormal investigator will be talking about her eventful life and the making of the popular series. £9, concs £8.

The bravery of local lifeboat crews is celebrated with two events: a concert appearance by the Sheringham Shantymen on March 16 (£4, concs £3) and from March 17-19 with the latest production by the excellent Eastern Angles theatre company. Its drama Beyond the Breakers is based on the real life experiences and words of the lifeboat crews in North Norfolk across the years. Tickets £6, concs/members £5, students £4.

There's plenty for the whole family to enjoy too, beginning on February 5 with a stage version of that wonderful book by the Ahlbergs, Burglar Bill. The Suffolk-based Pandora's Box Theatre Company are presenting the world premiere a new one-act stage adaptation. Suitable for ages three to eight, tickets are £4, concs £3.

The popular Theatre of Widdershins will be in town on March 5 for Three Billy Goats Gruff and Other Furry Tales, told with the aid of puppets and music (£4, concs £3). Other attractions include a stage version of Clive King's classic tale Stig of the Dump (May 7, £5.50, concs £5) featuring Sheringham favourites Image Theatre, and on June 4 David Wood presents a Magic and Music Show, with the help of Peter Pontzen – the BBC Playschool pianist! Tickets £5.50, concs £5.

Drama presentations include the comedy-drama Wayward Women (February 5, £10, concs £9). A dark comedy of three modern “Weird Sisters”, it is written by award-winning Simon Andrew Stirling. Transaction Theatre Company returns to the venue on February 19 following the success of last year's A Streetcar Named Desire. This time round it's another Tennessee Williams play – The Glass Menagerie. £8, concs £7.

The most powerful dramatic production of the new season? It has to be Painted Horse Theatre Company's version of Salome by Oscar Wilde (March 3-4). A study of power, betrayal, passion and sex in the corrupt religious court of Herod, it features adult scenes and nudity. (£9, concs £7)

Mike Maran did a superb adaptation of Captain Corelli's Mandolin a couple of years back. Now he's turned his attention to The Little World of Don Camillo, the classic comedy about the rivalry between a parish priest and communist mayor in post-war Italy. With live music from Colin Steele and Martin Green, this promises to be a thoroughly entertaining night out. (£6, concs £5)

In addition, there are locally-produced productions of Theseus and the Minotaur (April 1-2), Trivial Pursuits (April 7-9), Out of Focus (April 27-30), Ruddigore (June 14-18) and Ladies Who Lunch (June 22-26).

Former summer season favourite Les Wilson makes a popular return from February 24-26 with Wilson's Winter Warmer, where he joins forces with Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society for a variety show full of fun, laughter and song. And from May 28-June 4, Sheringham Little Theatre Society present – at enormous expense, naturally – music hall in A Little More of What You Fancy.

Other season highlights will include an evening of Flanders and Swann classics in At the Drop of a Hippopotamus (March 26), Golden Moments From Opera – a tongue-in-cheek presentation from Hatstand Opera on April 23 – and Subitango!, the latest dance show from Tango Siempre (May 13).

There's folk and jazz treats too. Folk is represented by the return of Harvey Andrews (April 15) and Stone Angel (May 6), while regular monthly jazz sessions in the theatre bar will feature the likes of Pete Oxborough, Phil Brooke and Tony Bailey, Red Shadow Quartet, the Tom Harris Trio and Lewis Wright and Simon Brown.

The Little Theatre's Youth Festival returns for a third year from March 6-11 to showcase some of the most talented young performers in the area, demonstrating their skills at everything from singing to African drumming.

The venue also has an enterprising approach to showing films, with a mixture of mainstream and more arthouse offerings. Spring attractions include De-Lovely, Enduring Love, Vanity Fair, Finding Neverland, Inside I'm Dancing, Ladies in Lavender, The Railway Children, The Motorcycle Diaries, I Heart Huckabees, Bread and Tulips and My House in Umbria.

Booking for all the above events will open for Little Theatre members from January 10, and for the general public from January 24.

More information from Sheringham Little Theatre at 2 Station Road, Sheringham, Norfolk, NR26 8RE, box office 01263 822347 or the website