Over 46,000 enjoy end-of-the-pier shows

ED FOSS Cromer's traditional end of the pier Seaside Special season came to a close last night with a final performance marked by the announcement of healthy viewing figures for the year.

ED FOSS

Cromer's traditional end of the pier Seaside Special season came to a close at last night with a final performance marked by the announcement of healthy viewing figures for the year.

In its first season in a refurbished Pavilion Theatre, at the end of the town's updated pier, the show brought 46,200 people through the doors, slightly down on last year's total of 47,138.

But this year's season, a week and several performances shorter than last year, actually welcomed more people on average per week than last year. A weekly figure of 3300 compared favourably to a previous figure of around 3150.

A £2.4m string of improvements to the pier during the winter and spring months saw the 443 seater auditorium boosted by another 80 places, a major revamp of the foyer entrance and bar and backstage improvements for the performers.

There were also improvements at the pier entrance, with the two turrets extended to provide a better booking office, a shop, plus toilet and restaurant facilities.

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The last few performances of the year were a 'best of' mixture of the season's two shows, Cromer Presents and On the Town.

Saturday night's final show finished with the popular number Singing in the Rain, featuring real 'rain' in which the cast happily splashed.

It was the last of 112 performances across 14 weeks this year, and afterwards a series of thanks were read out by lead cast member Andy Ford, chairman of North Norfolk District Council John Wyatt and the pier's general manager Richard Howard.

Mr Howard said the theatre's attendance figures continued to be the envy of other theatres, both coastal and inland.

The final night featured a well-received and energetic performance from Andy Ford, who led a new look stage cast during the season, featuring only one familiar face from previous years, that of dancer Jessica Bedford, in her fourth season.

The time-honoured mix of variety, including comedy, music, colourful costumes and energetic dancers, kicked off with the opening night on June 26. Earlier that day actor and writer Stephen Fry officially opened the pier.

t There are still several shows running at the theatre during the rest of September and October. These include Keith Skipper and friends in aid of BREAK, Abba Tribute band Voulez Vous, An Audience with (former Seaside Special favourite) Tucker and The Cromer Smugglers in concert. Further details: www.thecromerpier.com, box office 512495.

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