Dancers' dilemma: Pier show cast priced out by Airbnb

Singers Rob McVeigh and Emily Yarrow with the Cromer Pier Show dancers. Picture: DAVE 'HUBBA' ROBERT

Singer Rob McVeigh, centre, with cast members of a previous Cromer Pier Show. Mr McVeigh will be returning for this year's show - but some cast members have found themselves searching for accommodation. - Credit: DAVE 'HUBBA' ROBERTS

Dancers, singers and other cast members of the Cromer Pier Show have been "priced out" of the town by skyrocketing demand for holiday accommodation. 

Organisers of the show - also known as the Seaside Special - have appealed for anyone in Cromer or nearby areas such as Aylsham or North Walsham who could offer the cast somewhere to stay at a reasonable price during their three-month summer run. 

Deb Lewis, box office and retail manager at the pier, said that while the show's team was thrilled to be back after a Covid-induced break in 2020, finding digs was proving a headache. 

Cromer Pier feature. The Pavilion Theatre box office and sales manager Deb Lewis with general manage

Cromer Pier box office and sales manager Deb Lewis with general manager Francis Gildea. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: ANTONY KELLY

Ms Lewis said they had been quoted weekly rates of £400 at a few places around Cromer, which was well out of the budget of cast members who have been without a regular income for most of the past year. 

"I presume they've all been changed into Airbnbs, offered for larger rents or snapped up because of demand. Also, with the pandemic, maybe people are reluctant to give up spare room," she said. 


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Ms Lewis said they needed to find "five or six" places to stay, because some of the dancers could share a room. 

She said the show's organisers were looking to build up a pool of accommodation providers who could offer somewhere to stay during performances from July to October, and again during pier's Christmas show.

Cromer Pier Show star Phil Butler prepares to crown the Carnival Queen, as Gary Dickenson, President

Phil Butler preparing to crown a past Cromer Carnival queen. Mr Butler will return as host of this year's Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Ally McGilvray

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Ms Lewis said: "As well as the summer holidays you have got the seven weeks at Christmas, so it's a decent return."

Although the pier show was cancelled last year a smaller production led by musical director Nigel Hogg went ahead in its place.

This summer's performance, produced by Openwide Coastal, will be much more like a traditional Seaside Special, and Ms Lewis said the hope was social distancing restrictions would be gone by the time the curtain lifts on the first show on July 17.

Rather than running two versions of the show throughout the summer season as is normally done, this year there will be just one version, but each week there will be a different guest performer. 

Ms Lewis said bookings were going well so far.

Ventriloquist Steve Hewlett with sidekick Arthur Lager on Cromer Pier. Steve, who is a regular at th

Ventriloquist Steve Hewlett with sidekick Arthur Lager on Cromer Pier. Mr Hewlett will be one of the weekly guest stars at this year's Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Colin Finch

She said: "We're all feeling really optimistic. We're encouraged that there are still a lot of coach tours, it seems that everybody's really keen to get out and about.

"We have the 'See if Safely' accreditation to say that we have everything in place to make sure we'll have a safe return to the theatre, and that gives people confidence to book."

Ms Lewis said anyone who could offer accommodation could get in touch with her via email at DLewis@cromerpier.co.uk.

Cromer Pier Show 2018.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The cast of the Cromer Pier Show in 2018. The show, also known as the Seaside Special, is returning this year after a break in 2020 due to the pandemic. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: ANTONY KELLY


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