Summer Theatre on the East Coast
Frinton in Essex is a wonderfully laid-back place with more that just a memory of its 1920s and 1930s heyday when it hosted film star, politicians and even royalty. The late Jack Watling, who regularly took a house there with his family for the summer founded the Frinton Summer Theatre, giving many young actors their first experience of weekly repertory and offering new plays as well as established favourites.
His tradition continues with April in Paris having opened on 14 July and running until Sunday 19. That's followed by Marsh House (21-26 July). Say Who You Are between 4 and 9 August is followed by Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends from 11 to 16 August and then by Veronica's Room between 18 and 23 August. The season closes with Mr and Mrs Nobody (25 to 30 August).
Moving up the coast, Jill Freud & Company share their productions between the Suffolk resorts of Aldeburgh and Southwold. Currently playing at Southwold until 21 July (it moves to Aldeburgh from 24 July to 1 August) is Love's a Luxury. That's followed by Mark Simpson's Green for Danger based on both the original book and the script for the subsequent highly successful film (23 July to 1 August in Southwold and 4 to 8 August in Aldeburgh. Ray Cooney's Caught in the Net runs in Southwold from 3 to 15 August and in Aldeburgh from 18 to 22 August.
Gillian Plowman's Crooked Wood derives from the BBCTV film Number 27. It is first at Aldeburgh (10 to 15 August) and moves to Southwold for 17 to 29 August. The season closes with Gaslight, again first in Aldeburgh (24 to 29 August) and then in Southwold (1 to 12 September). There's also a lunchtime theatre programme at Sutherland House and afternoon children's shows.
Norfolk boasts the Princess Theatre in Hunstanton. This opened in 1932 as the Capitol Cinema but was designed to accommodate live performance as well; the opening season included Rookery Nook as well as the film version of the musical The Desert Song. Richard Condon, of Norwich Theatre Royal fame, mounted some interesting productions here in the early 1980s.
This summer's six-week season runs from 20 July until 30 August and includes regular Wednesday evening Search for a Star talent shows, Olly Day's variety shows on alternative Thursdays and the children's show Goldilocks and the Three Bears each Friday afternoon.
Right over on the north coast of Norfolk sits Sheringham. At the Little Theatre you will find a true repertory system in action with five contrasted plays in a season which goes on to 12 September. So if you miss Peter Whalley's thriller Dead of Night this week, it comes back again between 2 and 5 September. Alan Ayckbourn['s Affairs in a Tent takes place between 23 and 28 July and again from 19 to 25 August. [Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is staged between 29 July and 1 August and then August 4 to 18 sees the comedy Look, No Hans!. Coward's Private Lives reveal their complications from 27 August until 1 September and conclude the season from 7 to 12 September.