As the first signs of panto hit the streets of Sheringham, Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson explains why the show is so important to the charity that runs the venue. 
  
You know pantomime is waiting in the wings when odd things start happening in Sheringham.

If you popped into the Dawn Fresh fruit and veg shop recently to get some spuds you may have bumped into Cinderella, or spotted her walking down Station Road.

North Norfolk News: Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie ThompsonSheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson (Image: Submitted)She was in town doing some pre-panto shopping - road-testing the pumpkins for their suitability as transport to her dream date with Prince Charming.

It made a great photo opportunity involving actor Emily Kate Anne, and hopefully, started to create a stir about our upcoming feast of festive fun – which is so important to the theatre.

To misquote a slogan…a panto is not just for Christmas, it’s for all year around.

North Norfolk News: Fun at an Act One youth drama workshopFun at an Act One youth drama workshop (Image: Richard Batson / SLT)It provides one of the main sources of income for our arts venue, which some people think is a business – but it actually a charity.  

We run it in a business-like way, and the panto and summer seasons provide a major chunk of income.

But we are also heavily reliant on sponsorship, grant support, fundraising and donations as we seek to balance the books, which alas cannot be done by a Fairy Godmother alone.

North Norfolk News: Youth co-ordinator Ellen WaiteYouth co-ordinator Ellen Waite (Image: Richard Batson / SLT)So if, or hopefully rather, when, you come to see the panto, or if you are just dropping into The Hub for a coffee we would be so grateful if you popped any spare cash into our collection box – or a ping your card on our smart donation machine.

It all makes a difference, to help us provide performing arts to entertain people of all ages. 

In line with our proud record of supporting young talent, the panto will feature three teams of six young local dancers aged six to 18 from the new performing arts school set up by local man Tom Withington, who also trod our boards himself when he was younger.

North Norfolk News: Blithe Spirit cast Blithe Spirit cast (Image: CSODS)Youth work is a real success story for us - and has seen our weekly workshop sessions move to a bigger venue under a “rebrand.” 
    
They are called Act One and meet on a Monday night at the Lighthouse on Cromer Road. They are for 6 to 9s (5-6pm), 9s to 12s (6.15-7.15) and 13s to 17s (7.30-8.30). They cost £5 a session and are run by our youth co-ordinator Ellen Waite. 

They major in fun, encourage members to be creative, and are great at building confidence. And there is always the chance to audition for community and professional shows at SLT too.

North Norfolk News: Emily Kate Anne stars at Cinders in the upcoming pantoEmily Kate Anne stars at Cinders in the upcoming panto (Image: Andi Sapey)Some youngsters even go on to make careers in the arts world, which is the icing on the cake, but if we just instill a love and appreciation of theatre in members which they enjoy for life, that’s “job done.”

You can see our youth musical crew soon in their A Night at the Music Ghouls show of spooky show songs on October 27-28.

And there are also ghostly goings from October 18-21 when the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society present the classic Noel  Coward comedy Blithe Spirit.
 
For more information about shows, panto and drama groups please visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com or phone 01263 822347.

North Norfolk News: Emily Kate Anne, who plays the lead role in the upcoming Cinderella panto at Sheringham Little Theatre, with Colin the carrotEmily Kate Anne, who plays the lead role in the upcoming Cinderella panto at Sheringham Little Theatre, with Colin the carrot (Image: Richard Batson / SLT)