Pier show wraps 'remarkable' season after attendance concerns raised

The award-winning Cromer Pier Show is back on July 19 2021

Cromer Pier Show 2021 - Credit: Cromer Pier/Openwide

The first full-cast Cromer Pier Show season has been declared a success, after some concern was raised about attendance figures. 

The Seaside Special - the world's only remaining end-of-pier variety show - finishes its 11-week run today (Saturday, October 2)

Deb Lewis, the pier's marketing, box office and retail manager, said thousands of people had enjoyed the show and its new format, which saw different guest acts join the cast each week.

The cast of the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

The cast of the 2021 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: William Jarvis

She said: "We've had a really good season, all things considered. 2019 was a record-breaking year and we've been at about three-quarters of that. 

"The show has paid for its production costs and contributed some of what it normally does to subsidise the rest of the pier.

"Obviously it does fall short of previous years but we expected that.

"There are still people who are nervous about coming to the theatre. We do have the See It Safely accreditation and we've been offering socially distanced seating bubbles, which we will keep in place."

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Ms Lewis said among the standout guest acts were comedian and ventriloquist Max Fulham and the performer Ben Nickless.

She said some audience members had been to the show five or six times to see the different acts.

She added: "It keeps it lovely and fresh each week and really changes the whole dynamic of the show. We've had an absolutely ball, looking back to where we were in July, what we've achieved has been nothing short of remarkable."

At the September 22 meeting of the pier's owner's North Norfolk District Council, a report said that up to that point more than 15,000 visitors had seen the show, which was 50pc down on the overall 2019 figure.

Councillor Greg Hayman said he was "alarmed" by the figures, calling them "shocking".

But Ms Lewis said this was not a fair reflection and Virginia Gay, the council's culture, leisure and well-being cabinet member, said she was not convinced the pier show was faring any worse than anywhere else due to the pandemic. 

She said:  "Attendance figures have been very difficult for theatres and concert halls throughout the nation in this period, as there has been a certain reluctance to be in enclosed spaces."