Show goes on for drama society

STEPHEN PULLINGER It appeared to be heading towards a sad adieu but, thanks to the EDP, one of Norfolk's oldest amateur dramatic groups is now preparing to say Allo Allo.


It appeared to be heading towards a sad adieu but, thanks to the EDP, one of Norfolk's oldest amateur dramatic groups is now preparing to say 'Allo 'Allo.

At the end of last month, Yarmouth Operatic and Dramatic Society had warned it could be facing its final curtain after 107 years without a dramatic improvement in audiences for its production of Aladdin. On some nights there were as few as 40 people in the town's 250-seat St George's Theatre and the society was facing crippling debts.

But as the group yesterday announced its April production of 'Allo 'Allo - based on the popular BBC comedy - chairman Graham Turner praised the role of the EDP in helping the show to go on.

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Gorleston's Myleene Klass, who shot to fame with chart toppers Hear'Say, and former S Club singer Hannah Spearritt both started their careers with the society, and they led calls in the EDP for families to get out and see the pantomime.

Mr Turner, a society member for 38 years, said last night: "Thanks to the EDP we picked up quite dramatically and did extremely well. By the end we were playing to full houses.

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"I think there had been a bit of complacency in the town. People did not think they needed to support their local group and needed that little extra push."

With scenery and costumes it costs the group up to £15,000 to stage a pantomime - thanks to the late rally in audiences, the production of Aladdin has more than broken even.

The society, which has produced more than 300 shows and is thought to be the fifth oldest in the country, is appealing for new people to audition for 'Allo 'Allo.

All parts are up for grabs, from Rene and Madame Edith to Michelle of the Resistance and Lt Gruber.

Auditions will be held at the Imperial Hotel on February 1 at 7.30pm.

Mr Turner, who played Widow Twankey in this season's panto, said: "The last time we put on 'Allo 'Allo five years ago it received much critical acclaim and many full houses.

"Its seaside humour fits Yarmouth well and we are aiming at early season visitors as well as the locals."

'Allo 'Allo will run from April 17 for five nights at St George's Theatre.

Anyone unable to attend audition on February 1 is asked to call Mr Turner on 01493 748865.

Despite being one of the most successful amateur dramatic groups in the area, Pulham Players are struggling to cast their latest production.

The group is staging Midsummer Murders - an evening of three one-act plays, each on a murderous theme, involving comedy, drama and music.

The plays will be presented on May 31, and June 1-3, and there are lots of good roles for men and women, and opportunities to work backstage.

Anyone interested in taking part is invited to an introductory evening at Pulham Market Memorial Hall, at 7.30pm on February 3, with the three directors Alan and Julie Bolton and David Vince. This will be followed on February 10 with a reading of each play.

For details, call the Boltons on 01986 788834, or Mr Vince on 01379 608768.

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