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Westacre theatre celebrates triple anniversary

PUBLISHED: 10:16 05 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:43 08 July 2010

IT was champagne celebration time at the weekend when the popular Westacre Theatre, near Swaffham, marked its triple anniversaries.

IT was champagne celebration time at the weekend when the popular Westacre Theatre, near Swaffham, marked its triple anniversaries.

At a sell-out 2010-plus five lunch and entertainment, the theatre founders directors and staff celebrated with guests the 20 years since its first summer season, a decade since its studio opened and five years of summer performances in the tent.

From humble beginnings staging plays in the ruins of West Acre Priory on the banks of the River Nar, the theatre has turned itself into a popular rural arts centre bringing top actors, directors, and writers to its stage. Many of its performances are sold out and others have 95pc seat capacity.

Actor, writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry, who has a home nearby, is the theatre's keen patron.

And on Sunday guests were told of the development of the theatre and of the productions and actors and actresses that have appeared in the three venues over the years.

As the musicians of the Iceni String Ensemble performed works by Mozart, Purcell and Dvorak, images from the past two decades were screened as a moving back-drop. The event also included a silent auction and a 50-50 raffle.

There was praise from people who have worked in voluntary roles from those early days and thanks were expressed for their tireless dedication and enthusiasm which have brought the award-winning theatre to where it is today and for countless local people and firms who have supported the theatre with cash or in kind. Among these were John Mardle, Andrew Smith, Janet Stevens and Liz Jordan.

And the two key people who have been its driving force since the beginning - Andy Naylor and Isobel Smith (the actress Issy Huckle) - were also thanked for all they have achieved. Andy and Isobel have appeared in many of Westacre's critically-acclaimed productions.

The new season starting at the end of May includes Noel Coward's farce Blithe Spirit, childhood drama Blue Remembered Hills and the first world war satire, Oh, What a Lovely War.

More information about the Westacre Theatre is available on 01760 755800 or go to www.westacretheatre.com

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