New Year variety at Auden Theatre in Holt

The launch party for Madhu Choudhry's Ethnic Fusion School of Indian Cookery near Dereham.

The launch party for Madhu Choudhry's Ethnic Fusion School of Indian Cookery near Dereham. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

A 1980s jazz funk band who hit the pop charts join classical music, comedy, drama, and Indian cookery in a varied early 2015 programme at a north Norfolk theatre.

The Auden Theatre at Gresham's School in Holt combines school and public events on its varied menu.

Long-running cult band Shakatak visit on May 23 with their mix of jazz funk and pop which saw them reach the chart top 10 twice in 1982 and 84 with Night Birds and Down on the Street.

The foursome - Jill Saward (vocals), Bill Sharpe (keys), George Anderson (bass) and Roger Odell (drums) - continue to tour the UK, Europe and Far East.

Among the early performances is a visit by a globe-trotting classical choral group VOCES8 on Thursday January 15.

It is the first of the venue's subscription concerts of top notch performers now in their 18th season.

VOCES8 is a multi award-winning vocal group which tours internationally and has sung in the USA, Asia, and Africa.

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Other subscription concerts are Peter Donohoe (piano) February 6, the European Union Chamber Orchestra on March 3, and Zelkova Quartet on May 10.

Music offerings also include the North Norfolk Chamber Opera doing The Elixir of Love (and English translation of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore) from April 16-18.

A taste of exotic cookery will be provided on January 30 by Norfolk-based Indian cookery school boss Madhu Choudhry - who is doing demonstrations of classic recipes followed by a tasting session - with takeaways available if pre-ordered by January 27 by calling 01362 638449 or emailing madhu@ethnicfusion.co.uk.

Drama offerings include staging of John Godber's Teechers - a comedy looking at a teacher's switch form state to private education - on February 2. It is by the visiting professional company Blackeyed Theatre.

Another touring company, Propellor Theatre, visits on February 23 with a pocket version of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.

School productions include the Gresham's prep school's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from March 18-20.

Auden administroar Wendy Metcalfe said the 300-seater theatre was in daily use by the school but also aimed to provide a varied programme for the public.

Headmaster Douglas Robb said the flourishing arts theme at the theatre was underscored by the diversity of events involving children as well as professional performers.

For more information and tickets visit www.greshams.com, or contact the box office on 01263 713444 or boxoffice@greshams.com. It reopens on January 8 and is open Monday to Friday 12.30-2pm in term time. Follow the Auden on Twitter at twitter@audentheatre.

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