‘Best panto yet’ - Sheringham panto puts smile on face of theatre as well as audiences

Fun from the successful Wizard of Oz panto at Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Matt Coomber

Fun from the successful Wizard of Oz panto at Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Matt Coomber - Credit: Archant

Sell-out panto shows at Sheringham have provided a bonus to the coffers of the town's Little Theatre.

Nearly 8,000 people saw 43 shows of the Wizard of Oz over the festive period.

Many performances were sold out and there was a waiting list for ticket cancellations.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: 'The panto has been a tremendous success. Takings were above budget – which is a huge help as panto and summer drama are the most commercially important seasons we have and support our other activities during the year.

'Audience feedback was that it was the best panto yet – with a brilliant script, lots of energy and magical elements such as the projection work, sets and puppets.

'We are sorry if people could not get tickets, but would encourage them to book early for the next panto.'

It was a disappointing time, however, for one schoolgirl actress who could not take part in the panto because of a broken arm.

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Young Ayrelia O'Leary–Leeson had already learned songs and dances for roles as a 'Strictly' dancer, a flying monkey and a lifeboatman as one of the team of local youngsters drafted in to support a professional cast.

But instead of stepping into the spotlight, she tripped over a goalpost at school just two weeks before curtain up – and ended up in A&E instead of the land of Oz. The 12-year-old Sheringham High School student, from Plumstead, near Holt, spent 48 hours in hospital.

The next panto will be Beauty and the Beast running from December 7 to January 1 – using the same creative team as this year, headed by director Nick Earnshaw. Tickets will go on sale in March.

Now the Emerald City has disappeared from the stage, events at the venue in early 2018 range from amateur drama, an opera screening, and jazz, to magic, a romantic Valentine's cinema supper club and a fun family show.

Other highlights include Alan Ayckbourn's Confusions by Stage Direct, from January 19-20, and Rigoletto screening from the Royal Opera House, on January 21.

For more information and tickets visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com or call the box-office on 01263 822347.