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Teenage actor hopes panto fun will help stage career dream

PUBLISHED: 10:01 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:01 13 November 2018

Sam Thompson, right, as Le Fou with Kyle Fraser who plays Gaston in Sheringham Little Theatre’s upcoming panto Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Richard Batson

Sam Thompson, right, as Le Fou with Kyle Fraser who plays Gaston in Sheringham Little Theatre’s upcoming panto Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Richard Batson

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Teenage actor Sam Thompson may be playing the fool in his first major panto role – but has serious ambitions of making the stage his career.

Sam Thompson, centre, aged 12, in the Dick Whittington panto in 2011. Picture: Andi SapeySam Thompson, centre, aged 12, in the Dick Whittington panto in 2011. Picture: Andi Sapey

The 19-year-old will be seen larking around as Le Fou in Sheringham Little Theatre’s professional cast staging Beauty and the Beast.

And he hopes the latest role will provide him with a happy ending, as he seeks a place at a top drama school.

Sam is no stranger to the spotlight in north Norfolk where he has been starring in shows since he was just six years old.

As a primary school pupil the lad from Knapton took a series of “chorus” roles in pantos from 2006 at the theatre where his mother Debbie is the director.

His first memorable role was as a sea captain in Dick Whittington in 2011. Sam said of that role: “I had a big beard and decided to do a ridiculous Welsh accent.”

He added: “Panto has been great, especially as a child – spending Christmas with lots of friends having fun – and getting permission to miss some school lessons.”

Sam decided at Paston Sixth Form College that he wanted to make the stage his career, and is looking to apply to a London drama school and audition for the National Youth Theatre’s repertory company.

He has since been taking on bigger roles – including as wartime boy Pip in the fEAST drama company’s gritty marshland family drama Salt, and Fagan in the Sheringham theatre’s community production of Oliver!

Sam is currently helping lead education sessions at the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth bringing history alive for visiting school parties.

He added: “Now I am really excited about taking a major panto role, and learning from the experienced panto team around me which will be a big help towards my dream of going to drama school.”

Local children taking part in Beauty in the Beast are already rehearsing their parts for the show which opens on December 8. Sam will join fellow key cast members when they gather in late November.

For panto tickets and more information call 01263 822347 or visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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