How you can help theatre create a modern protest song

An anti-war protests in Berlin, taken in 1986, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

An anti-war protests in Berlin, taken in 1986, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The spirit of protest is a theme of an upcoming series of workshops at Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Richard Batson

Sheringham Little Theatre is seeking people to help pen, and perform, peaceful protest songs, explains director Debbie Thompson in her monthly column.

We shall overcome! It is a famous line from a 1960s protest song, and is very apt for the times we live in today.

Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson. Picture: Supplied by SLT

Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson. Picture: Supplied by SLT - Credit: Archant

Powerful words and music highlighting human rights issues, objections to war and nuclear arms, and racial and gender inequalities have raised awareness and unity across many generations.

Whatever your age you will have heard a song whose meaning goes deeper than mere bubblegum pop lyrics and catchy tunes. Bob Dylan, U2, Joan Baez, blues and punk artists have all been at the forefront of songs calling for change.

The Bob Dylan Story is coming to Cromer Pier's Pavilion theatre. Picture: SALLY ROSE MCCORMACK

Bob Dylan, who wrote some of the 20th century's most famous protest songs, including Blowin' in the Wind and The Times They Are a-Changin. - Credit: SALLY ROSE MCCORMACK

This month we are offering a chance to help create a modern one through a link-up with our friends at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

On May 18 (7pm-9pm) you can bring your passions and ideas to the first of three free-to-join workshops run by Luke Styles and Jessica Walker from the People’s Cabaret.

The idea at this session, and follow ups in July and September, is to create a new song tapping into the challenges of our lives here and now in Norfolk – and let’s face there is plenty of them!

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After looking at the history of protest songs, and listening to some from the 1920s to the 60s, the team will work on ideas and words, and you can even join the People’s Chorus when the results are performed at the Festival next year.

So we would love to see you budding Bobs and Joans joining this exciting project. Book a place by emailing peoplescabaret@nnfestival.org.uk. Let’s stand and sing together.

In another collaboration with the Norwich Festival a pop-up orchestra featuring the Britten Sinfonia and local young musicians will play between 1pm and 3pm outside the Town Clock (in the Hub if wet) as part of a musical journey from the coast to Chapelfield Gardens in Norwich.

We have the Queen’s Jubilee coming up soon, and I expect you will be enjoying street parties and flag waving in your neighbourhood. We are doing our bit by hosting a cabaret show with difference Royally Worked Up on June 4.

Royally Worked Up, a cabaret show with difference coming to Sheringham Little Theatre.  

Royally Worked Up, a cabaret show with difference coming to Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Supplied by Sheringham Little Theatre

Freyja Westdal and Beth Hayward give their post-menopausal Agony Aunt views on lie – and helping mark the Jubilee with fun and games including Charles’ favourite Whose Throne is it Anyway?

It should be fun, and we pass our congratulations on to Her Majesty for her steadfast and dutiful service during so many troubled times.

Fundraising has kicked off

One of the theatre’s challenges is funding – but we are busy planning to tackle it rather than just sing about it.

Our next fundraising concert Saturday Night at the Musicals on May 14 show by Emma Riches (remember her - Rapunzel in our lockdown panto) and Josh Marlow, who will be singing songs from musical movies including Grease, Dirty Dancing, and the Greatest Showman.

And please pencil in June 16-18 for Stage Direct’s comedy One O’clock From The House. We are so grateful to this local amateur group for supporting our community theatre. We’ll tell you more next month.

Our trustees like leading by example and one of them Richard Batson – a former editor of this paper – has discovering old childhood games in his loft, including his Subbuteo table football, which he is selling off to raise a few more pounds for the theatre.

Sheringham Little Theatre trustee Richard Batson, who is selling his Subbuteo.

Sheringham Little Theatre trustee Richard Batson, who is selling his Subbuteo. - Credit: Supplied by Richard Batson

It’s a great way to kick off our fundraising campaign. And if you have any fundraising events, or ideas, which could help please email me at Debbie@sheringhamlittletheatre.com