Essex dog nabs cameo role in Norfolk play

Maisie the dog at Sheringham Little Theatre rehearsals with owners Tricia Allan and Tim Wardley. Pic

Maisie the dog at Sheringham Little Theatre rehearsals with owners Tricia Allan and Tim Wardley. Pictures: Richard Batson - Credit: Archant

Meet Maisie, a pet pooch with a stage pedigree, who has joined the cast line-up at Sheringham Little Theatre's summer drama season.

Maisie gets a treat from actor Ryan Starling who plays granddad Bernard.r. Pictures: Richard Batson

Maisie gets a treat from actor Ryan Starling who plays granddad Bernard.r. Pictures: Richard Batson - Credit: Archant

The five-year-old Bichon Frisse will be stepping into the limelight when the curtain goes up on the farce Wife Begins at Forty, which runs from August 22-29.

The theatre put out a plea for a performing pet to take a cameo role in the comedy – and it was spotted by Tim Wardley, the chairman of the National Piers Society, who is a big supporter of live seaside theatre.

He said: 'I saw the appeal on Facebook and thought 'that would be ideal for Maisie' - and we are delighted she was chosen for the part.

'The stage is in the family blood. My uncle was 1930s bandleader Roy Fox and I have trodden the boards since the age of four – in a farce with Hattie Jacques and Eric Sykes at Bournemouth pier - playing roles from Scrooge to Kenneth Williams.'

Emily Outred, who plays Betty Derbyshire in A Passionate Woman, taking refuge on the rooftop. Pictur

Emily Outred, who plays Betty Derbyshire in A Passionate Woman, taking refuge on the rooftop. Picture: Richard Batson. - Credit: Archant


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Maisie's role involves sitting on the sofa and eating a chicken sandwich.

Mr Wardley's partner Tricia Allan said: 'She is loving it. Maisie is a rescue dog. She was very timid when I got her two years ago. She had no name, and had never been for a walk. But now she loves people and adventures.'

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Maisie's owners are from South Benfleet in Essex and have taken Maisie to the opening night of Cromer's summer pier show in the past. They are holidaying in the area to be with her during her few days of fame.

Play director Simon Thompson said: 'Maisie was ideal for the role and seems at home on stage. She is a natural star.'

Meanwhile, the moving, gentle comedy A Passionate Woman, which was penned by popular TV writer Kay Mellor, is the last play in the theatre's summer drama season. Emily Outred plays Betty, with John Macneill as husband Donald, Ryan Starling as son Mark, and Kyle Fraser as dead lover Craze – Alex Crazenovski. It is directed by Nick Earnshaw.

A Passionate Woman runs from August 31-September 5.

Tickets for both plays from 01263 822347 or www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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