Frinton's programme for the 75th anniversary season
2014 marks the 75th anniversary year of the summer theatre season at the McGrigor Hall in Frinton. The programme has some old favourites as well as two new plays.
The contribution which the summer theatre season has made to Frinton, an Essex seaside resort which combines a degree of perhaps slightly faded style with a quirkiness all of its own, has now been recognised by outside funding.
Colchester-based Harvey Benham Trust has given the summer theatre a grant to enable it to develop over the next few years and its venue, the McGrigor Hall, has also received a grant towards refurbishment and maintenance. What's more, ticket prices have been pegged to their 2013 level.
The season begins on 15 July with the world première of a comedy by local playwright Patrick Marlowe. It's called Within the Gates, a phrase with particular resonance for Frinton residents and habitual visitors. It runs until 19 July and is followed by the thriller Sleuth by Anthony Shaffer. This is between 22 and 26 July and guest stars John D Collins.
Ayckbourn's first major West End success Relatively Speaking lightens the atmosphere from 29 July until 2 August. Then it's time for Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest with Vicki Michelle and Giles Watling (whose late father Jack ran the theatre for a couple of post-war decades). 5 to 9 August are the dates.
Noël and Gertie follows from 12 to 16 August – the Sheridan Morley musical revue based on the words and music of Coward and Gertrude Lawrence. Then another new play takes the stage on 19 August – The Dog by John Canter with Richard Wlison in the leading role.
It brings the actual theatre season to its end on 23 August though this year there is also a comedy night on 26 August and an anniversary gala with Jacqui Dankworth on 30 August. At the Columbine Centre in nearby Walton on the Naze, All Our Holidays, the Frinton Summer Theatre Community Dance Project displays its talents between 27 and 29 August.