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Star backing for Norfolk theatre’s ‘buy a seat’ appeal

Sir John Hurt during a visit to the theatre’'s projection room. Pictures: Richard Batson

Sir John Hurt during a visit to the theatre’'s projection room. Pictures: Richard Batson

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A movie legend’s name will appear on a seat at a revamped north Norfolk theatre.

Lady Hurt and Debbie Thompson with one of the new seats that will be fitted to Sheringham Little Theatre in January – including one in memory of her late husband Sir John Hurt. Pictures: Richard BatsonLady Hurt and Debbie Thompson with one of the new seats that will be fitted to Sheringham Little Theatre in January – including one in memory of her late husband Sir John Hurt. Pictures: Richard Batson

Now the public is being invited to “sit” alongside Sir John Hurt by sponsoring a new set of seating at Sheringham Little Theatre.

And the venue is also inviting offers from community ventures that could benefit from recycling the existing 180 seats.

A major £60,000-plus refit will happen in January, but a sample seat has arrived at the seaside theatre so people can try it for size – and make pledges to “buy” a seat with a sponsor name plate on it.

Sir John’s widow Lady Hurt, who is a theatre trustee, has secured the first seat in memory of her film star husband who was a regular visitor to, and supporter of, the venue.

She said: “John loved coming here and had huge admiration for Debbie and everyone involved. He would have been delighted by the continuing commitment to improvements and I am very happy to sponsor the first of these splendid new seats in his name.”

Sir John, who died aged 77 in January 2017 after losing a battle against pancreatic cancer, had a stellar acting career including starring roles in The Elephant Man, The Naked Civil Servant, Alien, Harry Potter and Doctor Who. He had made north Norfolk his home and supported a range of arts organisations.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “We are really excited about the new seating, which should improve the experience of people visiting the theatre – and so proud and grateful that Sir John’s connections with the theatre will be remembered through our buy a seat appeal.”

The 162 new seats, which will be fitted during a brief winter closure, should provide more comfort and a little more leg room – plus the ability to accommodate more wheelchairs.

Names on the current seats will be saved and put on display in recognition of previous sponsorship, but the theatre felt the new seating warranted a fresh set of sponsors, said Mrs Thompson.

To “buy” a new seat – for a minimum donation of £150 - visit the box-office in person, call 01263 822347 or email boxoffice@sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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