New season: Sheringham Little Theatre

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor In our latest of our exclusive new-season previews, we turn to one the area’s smallest and friendliest venues – Sheringham Little Theatre. Event editor Trevor Heaton reports


Nestling quietly in Station Road in the heart of this much-loved North Norfolk town, Sheringham Little Theatre has a packed year-round programme which bears ample witness to the hard work of staff, helpers and audiences.

We're still in the midst of its rep season - now a firm summer favourite - but autumn is just around the corner…

One of the eye-catching appearances in the new line-up is Likely Lads favourite Rodney Bewes in his new one-man show.

The Diary of a Nobody (December 2, £11) brings George and Weedon Grossmith's classic comic novel to the stage. Set in 1887, its protagonist Mr Pooter is an absurd but lovable everyman, whose rose-tinted vision of his lot is exposed to hilarious effect at every turn.

And an appearance by locally-based international award-winning magician Roy Davenport - no stranger to North Norfolk audiences - on October 14 will be a must-see family show. Roy takes you on a journey from the 1890s to the present day and includes a live re-creation of the music hall act of his magician great-grandfather Lewis (£9.50, concs £8.50).

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Three fine musicians in three very different genres are also bound to be popular draws. On September 23, it's the return of Roger Dean's fine tribute to the Man in Black, The Johnny Cash Story. Roger draws from Cash's vast legacy of more than 500 songs to present a portrait of this giant of 20th-century popular music (£11, concs £10).

That's followed on November 3 by one of the world's finest guitarists, Martin Simpson, who has worked with everyone from June Tabor to Jackson Browne. Winner of numerous awards - including the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2004 Musician of the Year - Martin is a real “musicians' musician” - tickets for this Folk Beyond the Pier presentation are £12, concs £11.50.

Then on December 1, making his umpteenth visit to the Little Theatre is one of Britain's best-loved organists, Robert Wolfe. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's finest theatre organists, he has played 26 seasons at the Thursford Collection and will be playing a Christmas-themed concert on a Lowrey Royale Organ. This organist definitely will entertain - and tickets (£8, concs £7) will be, as usual, in demand.

There'll be more music to enjoy on November 26 when regional favourites the Eddie Seales Big Band will be in concert. Formed in 1997 the band is made up of 18 of the region's top musicians and their programme will include the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Charles Mingus and so on. Tickets £11.

Following the success of last year's panto, Aladdin, PDM Productions return with another firm family favourite - The Wizard of Oz, running from December 12 to January 2). There'll be comedy, singing, dancing, magic and mayhem galore, with a professional cast and a special appearance for almost 50 local juveniles as the lovable Munchkins. The cast includes Paul Ferguson (aka Bubble from Big Brother) will be the Scarecrow, with North Norfolk Radio favourite Greg Powles as the Tin Man. Written and directed by Bev Berridge, the panto will have a modern feel with all the traditional elements. Oh yes it will! Tickets £13, children £8, family £38).

Drama productions begin on September 30 with Charles Dickens' final work, the whodunit The Mystery of Edwin Drood. John Goodrum's gripping new play has completed Dickens' famously unfinished tale to make a spine-tingler full of opium dens, creep crypts and sinister characters. Tickets for the Rumpus Theatre Company presentation are £10 (concs £9.50).

Joseph Kesselring's famous black comedy Arsenic and Old Lace is brought to the stage from October 18-21 by the Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, while William Nicholson's moving account of the love story of Narnia author CS Lewis and Joy Gresham, Shadowlands, follows on October 26-28 by Sheringham Players (£6, first night £5.50).

Broad Horizons Theatre Company bring their touring comedy Elsie and Norm's Macbeth to the venue on November 1. Tickets £9 (concs £8.50). That's followed on November 24-25 by a concert version of Gilbert & Sullivan's Utopia Limited from the Sheringham Savoyards (£7).

More music comes from the Goldstone and Clemmow Piano Duo on September 29 (£7, concs £6.50). Husband and wife team Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow have toured all over the world since getting together in 1984 and have made highly-praised recordings of the likes Brahms, Chopin, Gershwin, Britten and Schubert cycle.

There's an evening of dance on November 18 with Abalino Dance's Is That What You See?, three short pieces about growing old where the performers are part dancer, part puppeteer and part puppet. Tickets £8 (concs £7.50). The previous night there will be a two-hour workshop for ages 16-plus at The Friends Meeting House in Cremer Street. Tickets £6.

Children's shows include on October 7, Pirate School. Pandora's Box will be giving a swashbuckling masterclass in piracy for children aged four to nine, with the help of school principal Mrs Pillage! Tickets £4.50 (under-16s £4).

More pirates on November 4 when EF Productions - aka Playdays presenter Elizabeth Fost - present Fishy Tales (for ages four to eight). Meet Maggie the retired pirate in her seaside curiosity shop and her magical world of fabulous fish and mythical mermaids. Tickets £4.50 (under 16s £4) Combined ticket for puppet-making workshop (for ages five to 12) and show £7.

Talking of workshops, there's two for The Big Draw campaign on October 14 in the Hub coffee bar (free) and with local cartoonist Jim Aitchison at St John Hall (2-4pm, £5, concs £4, family £15).

Something different on October 7 when Margaret Wolfit presents a solo performance of Alexander Pushkin's great romantic 'novel in verse' Eugene Onegin, which inspired Tchaikovsky's much-loved opera. Tickets £5 (includes a glass of wine).

DJ Greg Powles will be back in his stand-up alter ego for more Comedy@The Hub sessions on September 28, November 2 and 30. He'll host these friendly and informal sessions for performers keen to try stand-up routines, sketches, songs or poems - contact the theatre for more details. Audience tickets £4.

As usual, the theatre has an excellent programme of arthouse films lined up. Ones which catch the eye especially include Anthony Hopkins' quirky “grey-power” biking drama The World's Fastest Indian (September 19), gripping French drama Hidden (Cache) on September 21, Werner Herzog's astonishing documentary Grizzly Man (October 10), Richard E Grant's acclaimed directorial debut Wah-Wah (October 31), Norfolk director Adrian Shergold's period drama Pierrepoint (November 7), festival hit The Squid and the Whale (November 14) and pacy Heat-style French thriller 36 Quai des Orfevres (November 21).

In addition there will be film appreciation and writing courses and plenty of visual art too - including exhibitions by Kit Wade, Jim Aitchison, David Owen and an Art Under £100 show.

Details and bookings from the Little Theatre box office: 01263 822347