Curtain up for family fun at the Little Theatre

Youth group members getting into the mood for a production of Wind in the Willows.

Youth group members getting into the mood for a production of Wind in the Willows. - Credit: Richard Batson/ SLT

Live performing arts should appeal to all generations says Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson, in her regular column.

A previous Halloween youth session at Sheringham Little Theatre
For many children going to a pantomime is their first taste of live theatre.
So, as we gear up for our Jack and Beanstalk show, our community arts venue is keen to get across a festive message: that a family theatre trip is – just like a pet dog - not just for Christmas. It’s for life.

Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson.

Debbie Thompson, director of Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Richard Batson/ SLT

We try throughout the year to put on shows that children, along with parents and grandparents, will enjoy as a shared experience.

What can be better than a visit to a stage show however old you are?

Stepping into a brightly-lit theatre buzzing with pre-show excitement, settling down (with a bag of sweets) into a dimming auditorium, before it explodes into life with action, comedy, music and magic.

These days there is an endless choice of instantly-available 24-7 entertainment which can be streamed to your TV, tablet, phone or games console.

But that is often a solitary experience in your lounge, bedroom or office, with all the distractions of being at home.

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Theatre remains special. Somewhere to go; to escape; to lose yourself in another world – with other people around you, including your family, making memories to talk about afterwards.

A Halloween youth session at Sheringham Little Theatre.

A Halloween youth session at Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: SLT

That is why we, and other arts hubs, remain passionate about providing a programme for all ages – particularly during the October half-term holiday.

Theatres may have an image of being somewhere for arty grown-ups to go.

But they are great places for youngsters to enjoy live drama, music, comedy too. Even better is getting involved through our youth drama groups and workshops.

Our youth work hopefully instils a love and understanding of acting and performing that may turn into a career.

The professional cast of Ghosted, staged in Sheringham this year, several of whom began their love

The professional cast of Ghosted, staged in Sheringham this year, several of whom began their love of drama at the Little Theatre. - Credit: Mark Benfield/SLT

Many of our young performers have gone on to become professional actors.

Or it may just provide that extra confidence that helps them through education and into employment. 

We have hour-long sessions running on Monday nights for 6-8 year-olds (5pm), 9-12 year-olds (6.15pm), and 13-16 year-olds (7.30pm).

Email dramagroups@sheringhamlittletheatre.com for more
information.

Jez Bond and his dad appearing on Britain’s Got Talent.  

Jez Bond and his dad appearing on Britain’s Got Talent. - Credit: credit ITV/ BGT

So as we look forward to our family shows it is worth reflecting that long after the curtains have closed, whether you are a performer or an audience member, the experiences and opportunities theatre create can last a lifetime.

Half-term hi-jinks

Youngsters can learn how to create and perform ghostly stories and characters at a half-term Halloween drama workshop.

It is part of a triple bill of magic, comedy and family fun being run over the school holiday.

The workshop is on Thursday October 28 from 10am to 3pm, and is geared to six to 16-year-olds. 

Youngsters taking part will learn spooky stagecraft and acting though games, and work together to create ghostly stories – bringing both elements together to perform them to each other at the end of the day.

Places, costing £10, are limited so booking is advisable.
The workshop is the meat in a “mucking about” sandwich as 2020 Britain’s Got Talent act Jez Bond – who famously strapped his dad to a rocket-powered Catherine wheel and threw knives at him, while riding a hoverboard.

He presents two family shows on the Saturdays either side of it.
The Just Mucking About Halloween Show (October 30, 5.30) adds a spookily seasonal twist to his magic, comedy and illusion cocktail in a “frighteningly fantastic” show, with spot prizes for fancy dress.
Tickets for both shows are £8 via the theatre website www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com or call the box office on 01263 822347.


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