It has been 13 years since theatre director Debbie Thompson has tread the boards herself. 

But now the former professional actor who heads both the Sheringham Little Theatre and Great Yarmouth's St George's Theatre is returning to the stage to plug an 11th-hour gap in the cast of the Alan Ayckbourn farce Season’s Greetings.

Mrs Thompson has only had a few days to learn the part after an actress pulled out of the show due to a longer-than-anticipated recovery from an operation. 

North Norfolk News: The cast of Season’s Greetings, which is coming to Sheringham Little TheatreThe cast of Season’s Greetings, which is coming to Sheringham Little Theatre (Image: Richard Batson / SLT)READ MORE: 'Forgotten' locals furious at closure of last bank in popular Broads village

And the director of the Little Theatre Players show is none other than her daughter, Katie.

Mrs Thompson said: “It’s quite a small part but we needed to find somebody Katie already had a working rapport with – so it was the right thing to do.

“I love the play and one of my favourite roles from my 10 years as a professional actor was another character in the cast - Rachel, a lonely and bookish spinster - who I played for six weeks during a repertory season at Oldham Coliseum back in 1993.

North Norfolk News: Rehearsals taking place for Season's GreetingsRehearsals taking place for Season's Greetings (Image: Richard Batson / SLT)READ MORE: Ruined Norfolk village church added to 'at risk' list

”Then I had four weeks of rehearsals and a six-week run so I know the play well.”

This time, Mrs Thompson will play highly-strung, tipsy and accident-prone Phyllis.

It is the first time Debbie has been on stage acting since 2010 when she slotted into an emergency vacancy after an actress had to return home to care for a sick child.

Katie said: “Mum is the reason I grew up surrounded by theatre and she has always supported me in following it as a career, so I’m excited to now be able to support her in this role.”

Season's Greetings, which is a fundraiser for the theatre, runs from November 16-18, 7.30pm nightly and a 2.30pm Saturday matinee.

Tickets £15 from or the box office 01263 822347.