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Theatre expansion project ready to take centre stage

PUBLISHED: 17:58 05 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:59 05 December 2017

Sheringham Little Theatre including the flat roof area on the right which is earmarked for an extension in its Little Bit Bigger project. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

Sheringham Little Theatre including the flat roof area on the right which is earmarked for an extension in its Little Bit Bigger project. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

Archant

A popular pint-sized seaside theatre is set to press ahead with its plan to get a little bit bigger.

Sheringham Little Theatre aims to add a multi-purpose room on a flat roof to give more space for rehearsals, meetings, overspill from its Hub café bar, and for community hire.

The Little Bit Bigger project stalled this year due to planning issues, but these have now been overcome and permission granted.

In 2018, the venue aims to top up funding from grants and make a start on building.

Chairman Richard Ellis told the annual meeting: “Forty per cent of the funding is in the bag, from tax rebates and a community contribution from a housing development in the town.

“We are fine-tuning the costs and will be seeking grants for the balance with the aim of making a start in 2018,”he added.

Other highlights from the past year included:

• The theatre returning a small profit of around £3000 having reduced its reliance on council funding, but for which it was still grateful to plug a funding gap.

• Successful summer drama and panto seasons, and better attendances for cinema and satellite screenings.

• A trustees “away day” which prioritised drawing up a fundraising strategy; increasing theatre comfort including seating; improving the website and ticketing system and planning for the diamond anniversary of its summer drama season in 2020.

Mr Ellis praised the efforts of the theatre staff and army of volunteers without whom it could not survive. He was re-elected chairman, with Lord Walpole as president for a 44th consecutive year.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson reported a busy year including a community production of Oliver in tribute to theatre stalwart Mike Thame which “showed Sheringham Little Theatre at its best” with all generations working together.

New ventures – some resulting from public feedback at last year’s annual meeting – included special Halloween events, children’s shows and amateur dramatics.

Plans were progressing for 2018’s summer season and panto, while a youth production of Bugsy Malone would harness a new wave of younger children, she added.

Find out more about the theatre programme and how to get involved at www.sheringhhamlittletheatre.com

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