Column: 'There's no business like showbusiness'

Theatre director Debbie Thompson with the donations box in the Hub, the community cafe at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson with the donations box in the Hub, the community cafe at Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Richard Batson / SLT

In her latest monthly column, Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson explains why public support is vital to the venue, which operates as a charity. 

Theatres are all about show business. But for a large chunk of the past year there has been, to misquote the well-known song, no business for show business.

Sheringham Little Theatre.

Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Archant

And while we have had some grant support to help keep us afloat during the Covid crisis, theatres like ours are by no means out of the woods yet. We tend to be smiley, jazz hands, happy kind of people so hopefully we give off a positive vibe and you may not be aware of the fragility of our finances.

But, a bit like the iconic comedy and tragedy drama masks, behind our smile there lies concern - about recovering our audiences and our income to once again become a self-sustainable community arts venue.

Radio Fun, an upcoming show at Sheringham Little Theatre.  

Radio Fun, an upcoming show at Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Richard Batson / SLT

And remember we are a charity, not a fully-fledged commercial business. So we do rely on additional public and community funding to help balance our books.

Without the support of grants from councils, the National Lottery and Arts Council, plus generous public gifts through donations and legacies we would struggle. So how can you help the Little Theatre in the coming months as we continue to rebuild?

Donimo and Monroe will appear at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Donimo and Monroe will appear at Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Donimo and Monroe

- Come to our shows - ticket income is vital to our future. And if you still a little wary about visiting indoor venues, we are still running at below capacity to provide socially distanced seating.

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- Become a friend or member. For a small fee you get priority booking, special events, and, as a member, a chance to vote at the annual general meeting.

- Donate. We always welcome gifts of money, either in our collecting box in the Hub or via the pulsing donate button on our website home page.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson with the donations box in the Hub, the community cafe at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson with the donations box in the Hub, the community cafe at Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Richard Batson / SLT

- Legacies. If people have enjoyed happy times at the Little Theatre and want to support its work, they sometimes remember us in their will, or their family will make us their charity of choice for funeral donations in lieu of flowers.

- Volunteer. The Little Theatre has a small staff, and relies heavily on people giving their time to help us man the venue, from serving in the Hub to ushering people to their seats.

- Sponsor. Local businesses enjoy supporting the theatre through a range of sponsorship opportunities, in return for benefits such as publicity and using the theatre for corporate hospitality.

- Snack. Our Hub coffee bar is a major income stream, so every time you drop in for a cuppa, cake, savoury snack or light lunch it all helps towards our funds.

The Little Theatre is a community arts venue, and as you can see, our charity status means we rely heavily on the community we support to support us in return.

We appreciate all the help you give us, but if you can spare some extra cash, or kind, to underpin our future we would be very happy to hear from you.

It would be a lovely early Christmas present. Contact us via our website www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com, call us on 01263 822347 or email boxoffice@sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Upcoming events highlights

November 19-20 - Radio Fun – steam wireless style sketches, song and fun from Radio SLT.

November 26 - 1960s night – classic music from the Swinging Sixties from the Rat Pack singers.

December 11 – Handel’s Messiah – streamed concert with VOCES8 octet and English Chamber Orchestra.

December 18 - Donimo and Monroe - Festive variety from a mime artist comedy magician and sax player

December 21-31 – Panto - Jack and the Beanstalk – Fairytale family fun, comedy, song and dance.


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