Oscar star to help local youngsters

An Oscar-winning actor has helped “fix it” for a group of young north Norfolk drama fans to visit an historic London theatre and get tips on taking to the stage.

An Oscar-winning actor has helped to fix it for a group of young north Norfolk drama fans to visit a historic London theatre and receive tips on taking to the


American Beauty star Kevin Spacey, who is now artistic director at the Old Vic, set up a tour, workshop and matinee show for 35 youngsters from drama groups in Sheringham and North Walsham this weekend.

It came about from a Sheringham Little Theatre approach to the star pointing out that the youth work done at the Old Vic was tackling the same issues as similar ventures in Norfolk.

Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson said she wrote to Mr Spacey after seeing a profile on the South Bank Show that focused on his theatre's youth work.

"I told him a lot of a issues of urban youngsters - low esteem, confidence, aspirations and ambition - were just

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the same as the ones we were dealing

with in rural Norfolk," she said.

"People think these are just urban problems, but it is just the same in idyllic rural areas."

Mrs Thompson said drama work boosted youngsters with low confidence through teamwork, feeling the appreciation of an audience and helping to find personal skills and talents.

A handwritten postcard came back from Mr Spacey saying he would pass the Norfolk group's details on to the Old Vic's education section.

Mrs Thompson said: "I thought that would be the last I would hear of it, but then we got an invite for 35 youngsters to visit. It will be incredible for them."

Drawn from drama groups run by the theatre at Sheringham and North Walsham, as well as students from

Paston College at North Walsham and Sheringham High School sixth form, the contingent will be given a two-hour workshop of tips to help prepare mentally and physically for the stage.

They will also enjoy a tour of the 200-

year-old theatre, lunch and a performance of Sir Alan Ayckbourn's comedy, Table Manners.