'Why one theatre seat has special place in my heart'

Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson (right) and her mum, Elizabeth Barnes.

Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson (right) and her mum, Elizabeth Barnes. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

In her latest column, Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson explains why one of the venue's seats has special place in her heart.

My mum loved visiting the Little Theatre. It was a special place that gave her so much pleasure.

She gave me my first tastes of live theatre, taking me to pantos, and, when I was 10, the treat of seeing a touring version of Tess of the d'Urbervilles. It sparked a love of drama that became a passion and then a profession.

Elizabeth Barnes, who gave her daughter, Debbie Thompson, her first taste of the theatre. 

Elizabeth Barnes, who gave her daughter, Debbie Thompson, her first taste of the theatre. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

Later in life, even when not in the best of health, she still enjoyed visiting the venue she was proud to see me running – and thrived on meeting up with friends and fellow theatregoers.

Her favourite seat was ‘on the end at the back!’ – and now you will see a plaque remembering mum, Mrs Elizabeth Barnes, on the back of that seat.

It is part of our campaign to get the theatre seats sponsored. When the new seating was installed in 2019 we had a brilliant response, but there are still 30 of the 160 available. And, as we battle back from Covid closure, we are keen to maximise our fundraising.

Debbie Thompson at Sheringham Little Theatre with the seat dedicated to her mum.

Debbie Thompson at Sheringham Little Theatre with the seat dedicated to her mum. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

As I can personally testify, it is the perfect way to remember a loved one who enjoyed the venue, or just celebrate the support of someone who is still living.

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Easter is a time of regeneration – so it is very apt to see the rebirth of our youth musical group, who are staging a special show to mark their comeback.

Two years ago they were rehearsing Guys and Dolls. Then the pandemic came in and rocked the boat – and we had to postpone then cancel the production.

But the gang are back with a Celebration of Musical Theatre, which will include song and dance from classic shows such as Oliver! and The Sound of Music as well as some contemporary productions.

Sheringham Little Theatre's youth musical group, who are returning to the venue with the Celebration of Musical Theatre show.

Sheringham Little Theatre's youth musical group, who are returning to the venue with the Celebration of Musical Theatre show. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

It is fabulous to see them back at the theatre, brimming with enthusiasm and energy. And we hope it will also encourage more youngsters to join their ranks.

Taking part in our Monday night drama sessions is a great introduction to the world of theatre, and can open up opportunities to take part in shows – including a return of young people to our panto this year.

With all the gloom in the world at the moment – from Ukraine to the cost of living – we all need a bit of laughter and escapism. So I would like to highlight a couple of our upcoming shows, which are ideal for lifting the mood.

Sheringham Little Theatre's youth musical group, who are returning to the venue with the Celebration of Musical Theatre show.

Sheringham Little Theatre's youth musical group, who are returning to the venue with the Celebration of Musical Theatre show. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

Captain Calamity brings his Bedtime and Bubbles Adventure, laced with magic, science and fun for family audiences on April 30.

And on Friday May 6 there is the Big Laughs Show starring host Danny Posthill, whose comedy and impressions have vowed audiences at Cromer Pier and the 2015 Britain’s Got Talent final.

That weekend is a busy one – with a really mixed menu of entertainment. On Saturday May 7 Toast is an evening of funny, heart-wrenching and entertaining poetry.

While on Sunday afternoon, to get you In the Mood (sorry Glenn Miller) for the 1940s weekend later in the year there is the 40s Sweetheart show featuring the voice and sax of Liz Monroe.

Liz Monroe will feature in a 1940s Sweetheart show at Sheringham Little Theatre. 

Liz Monroe will feature in a 1940s Sweetheart show at Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

Those three days really show that if variety is the spice of life, the Little Theatre is a vindaloo venue! Find out more about our shows on the website www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com where you can also download the summer brochure. To sponsor a seat, for a minimum donation of £150, please email boxoffice@sheringhamlittletheatre.com