New season: Sheringham Little Theatre

Trevor Heaton In our latest new-season preview we take a look at the goodies coming up at Sheringham Little Theatre. And there’s plenty, as Event editor TREVOR HEATON reports…

Trevor Heaton

Little theatre, big programme. The popular Station Road venue has a year-round selection of drama, film, art, comedy, music and more - and 2008 is no exception.

All eyes are currently on the panto (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) which ends its long run on Wednesday, with a small break until January 27 when Music Wise and Creative Arts East present a showcase of young music performers following the success of last year's show.

Popular actress Sian Phillips is still remembered for her brilliant portrayal of the evil Livia in that landmark television series I, Claudius - but, of course, she's done a host of other things besides. They include success starring in Marlene, and she will be appearing in cabaret on February 9 with a sophisticated and sometimes autobiographical musical journey through the vagaries of life and love, featuring songs from the likes of Noël Coward, Stephen Sondheim, Flanders and Swann, also Billy Joel. Tickets £15.

The latest Eastern Angles production is at the theatre on February 16. Cuckoo Teapot is a drama inspired by the annual migration which used to take place from East Anglia to Burton-on-Trent to do the malting for the breweries. The drama is a tale of star-crossed lovers - and mothers to match. Tickets £11.50.

Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society present one of the popular “Farndale” spoofs from February 20-23, this one being The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Production of A Christmas Carol. The good ladies mount another assault on the classics. Can the classics survive? Tickets for the comedy are £7 or £8, depending on show.

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A real treat for folk and blues fans in March with a weekend of great music. The Rhythm and Blues Spectacular (put together by Scott Butler of Deckchair Productions) on Saturday March 8 features an afternoon headline set by one of the UK's best slide guitar players, PJ Wright plus guitar wizard Neol Davies, ex-Climax Blues Band bassist Roger Inniss, and drummer Clive Bunker (ex-Jethro Tull, Blodwyn Pig). Support comes from Roger Lymn and Ian Goodall. And that's just the afternoon!

In the evening it's the latest incarnation of rhythm and blues maestros Dr Feelgood with a rare unplugged set as well as full-on electric mode. Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke support. All-day saver tickets are £20 (£25 after), or - on sale from February 8 - afternoon-only £12.50, evening-only £15.

The following day it's a Folk on the Pier All-Stars Big Session, brought together by top folk fiddler and Cromer folk festival regular Tom Leary. The 7.30pm concert - which is raising money for Norfolk's biggest folk celebration - ace acoustic guitarist Kevin Dempsey, blues and folk-rock guitarist PJ Wright, acoustic guitar maestro Pete Smith and award-winning Essex folk band Mawkin, plus Tom taking a turn too. Tickets £15, concs £13.

The Fabulous Years of Popular Song (March 13, £9.50) is a popular return visit for singer Tony Jacobs and pianist Jim Barry, featuring songs by Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and others.

The Sheringham Players present the drama Absent Friends from March 19-22. Tickets £7, first night £6.50.

Little Theatre regular Sid Kipper heads over from St Just-near-Trunch on March 29 for more hilarious local tales in Country Cod Pieces. Tickets £9.

Songs from the Shows (April 12) is exactly that, presented by local trio Showbitz, who have delighted audiences across East Anglia. Tickets £9.50.

Saul Jaffe performs the one-man show The Elephant Man on April 26, a moving yet uplifting story of the remarkable life of John Merrick, who moved from Victorian freak show to celebrity. The Proteus Theatre show is devised and written by Mary Swan and Saul. Tickets £10, students £6.

In contrast, jollity is the order of the day from May 1-4 with much-loved musical The Boyfriend. Tickets £6.50, under-16s £5.

Children's entertainment is not neglected, with Rags to Witches presented by Josh Elwell Theatre on February 15 (£5.50, under-16s £5), Openwide Theatre's modern take on The Pied Piper of Hamelin (and a workshop) on March 15, and Sheringham Little Theatre Drama Groups presenting Kenneth Grahame's classic story The Wind in the Willows (April 1-5, £6.50, under-16s £5).

The theatre is strong on community involvement, and there will be an early-March Youth festival, with family drama and A Celebration of Performing Arts. On April 19 there's a Dance for Life session to benefit the good work of the British Red Cross. Tickets £6, students £4, under-16s free.

The venue also has a strong programme of exhibitions, mostly with a local flavour. From February 1 to March 1, London-based, Sheringham-loving photographer Joan Byrne presents Sheer Sheringham, his collection of unusual views of the beach.

That's followed (March 3-April 5) by Recycling, Jessica Perry's exhibition showcasing her ability to turn all kinds of junk into stimulating artworks. Paston College students and Sheringham High School pupils will be exhibiting their latest work, while from May 6-31, Gill Baguley presents Contrasting Views.

The theatre will also continue to screen its fine selection of mainstream and arthouse pictures (usually twice on a Tuesday), including Elizabeth: The Golden Age, And When Did You Last See Your Father?, Stardust, Evening, In the Shadow of the Moon, Casablanca, Death at a Funeral, Into the Wild, Silk and Earth. In addition, on April 18 film historian Stewart Orr introduces Bombs at Teatime, archive films from 1940-49.

Box office: 01263 822347;

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