Staging a story that has worldwide appeal, Westacre Theatre presents Pippin The Musical created by multi-award winning Stephen Schwartz. Young Pippin refuses to spend his life in the quest of ‘common things’ but aspiring instead to a greater fulfilment.
His search for how to reach out for the secret of true happiness and contentment leads him - through loyalty to his father - to discover the horrors of war. Declining to participate in the victory celebrations, he is lured by temptations of the flesh. Unsatisfied by those experiences, he follows the intrigues involved in political power. Seen by some as a dark tale, it highlights the dangers of false appearances and empty promises.
The soul-searching Pippin dwells under the illusion that there has to be an absolutely perfect place and purpose for him in life. His obsession for an ideal existence without any flaws promises to be self-destructive.
An absolute all-time classic mystery, Hound of the Baskervilles was a sell-out success from the very outset with all its readers rejoicing at the return of Sherlock Holmes. Such was its massive triumph that this most famous exploit guaranteed the Holmes character was revived permanently.
Many of Conan Doyle’s ardent fans see this as being his best book out of the 60 gripping adventures with Holmes and his loyal friend Dr John Watson. Over 130 years after Holmes first appeared in print, he amazingly continues to be the most popular fictional detective ever.
Westacre Theatre Company make the most of their new outdoors stage to bring the plot’s many twists and turns to life in this side-splitting spoof. Retelling the entire plot in a single evening means you are in for fun-filled surreal show. This fabulous and fast-paced piece features a local legend about a ghostly hound haunting Dartmoor. In the dark of night, countless unsettling happenings unfold at Baskerville Hall. You would be barking mad not to see this production.
Why do leaders around the world, once elevated to a position of authority, abuse their power often by rewriting the rules to suit their own agenda? So is it that power corrupts? Must some animals always be more equal than others?
George Orwell’s Animal Farm is the next in-house production from the Westacre Theatre Company. Presented in-the-round on the Summer House outdoors stage, this lively version of the satirical tale is very full of vim and verve and follows many memorable adaptations for stage (including for National Theatre), television, film and radio.
Once Orwell’s book was published in 1945 after considerable delays, it received the huge critical acclaim and wide recognition that it so rightly deserves. Among many accolades, it is listed in the Top 100 of Best English Language Novels (Time Magazine) and is ranked at No 46 in the Big Read Poll (BBC). In a 2016 survey, Animal Farm was chosen as the UK’s favourite book from school.
This is a deeply moving, modern classic at Westacre Theatre which reflects on three periods in time – before the outbreak of World War Two, the War itself and the post-War era. Set in the three cities of Hamburg, Manchester and London, it primarily follows three mothers and the vitally important decisions that a parent has to take in the best interests of their child.
There is German Jewish Helga who, in 1938, is faced with the unbelievably distressing choice of whether to keep her beloved 9-year old daughter Eva in Germany or prepare her for the rail journey to Britain all on her own by Kindertransport. This was well before mass travel so neither mother nor child knew what Eva should expect.
Arriving in England, feeling completely abandoned and speaking no English, Eva is safely scooped up by working-class Lil Miller from Manchester. One of many totally- selfless ordinary people, good-hearted Lil loves young Eva like she is her own.
Reunions with old friends are always good, aren’t they? In a strikingly simple two-act play in a single setting with six characters sitting around and talking, prolific playwright Alan Ayckbourn made Absent Friends one of his most significant dramas of the 1970s.
Best performed in a cosy venue where you cannot help but eavesdrop on the captivating conversation on-stage means the Westacre Theatre Studio provides the perfect auditorium. Directors Andy Naylor and Issy Huckle certainly ensure that after all these years this challenging work continues to maintain its considerable charm, while at the same time losing none of its amazing ability to disconcert us through its emotional truths.
We watch in real time as the innocent and well-meaning intentions of recently-bereaved bank worker Colin simply enlarge the emerging gulfs between his five friends. Having arranged a tea-party for him after his fiancee died tragically, they are held together through a toxic and emotive combination of business and cross-marital ties. For sure, the five are hugely worried about what to say to Colin in the awkward circumstances; but this really is just the tip of the iceberg.
Many months ago, when Westacre Theatre began planning its next in-house production, who could possibly have foreseen that during the final stages of their rehearsals every news bulletin would be covering in graphic detail the tragedy of families in Ukraine being split up and becoming helpless refugees in Europe. Kindertransport is the play under rehearsal and is considered to be the seminal play by Diane Samuels wrestling with the short and long term consequences of exactly that.
Just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, nine year-old Eva had waved goodbye to her mother Helga and finds herself alone on the platform at Liverpool Street Station. Abruptly uprooted from her home in Germany, she cannot speak any English and is badly confused. Tagged like a piece of luggage, she is handed over to strangers.
Faced with a completely different culture and a whole range of human responses, it turned out to be the total selflessness by thousands of ordinary British people that shone through when faced with the needs of helpless children.
A major international star of stage and screen joins the Westacre Theatre cast when Dylan Thomas’ classic Under Milk Wood is intriguingly transformed into Under Lockdown in Milk Wood. Helping to reunite some of the original Welsh village characters during the pandemic will be a very special cameo appearance by Welsh actor Sir Jonathan Pryce CBE.
The award winning star was Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall, the High Sparrow in Game of Thrones, Prince Philip in the final two series of The Crown, and as Pope Francis in The Two Popes alongside Anthony Hopkins.
Modern, clever technology will bring Jonathan Pryce to the stage of your local community theatre. To discover his role in this brand new story, you will need to be part of the audience for one of three performances on 5th and 6th November.
The Westacre Theatre Company is back, treading the boards of their brand new open-air stage. Situated in scenic West Norfolk countryside alongside its landscaped lagoon, the new performance area, seating and sound system comes complete with an eye-catching canvas canopy.
The Westacre venue originally blossomed into life over 30 years ago with its legendary outdoor productions. So the older audience will no doubt reminisce about the return to open-air roots.
In resisting an airborne virus, superior ventilation brings significant advantages. But often open-air is true theatre at its most natural with the drama intensifying in the lengthening shadows. Outdoor performances frequently feel far more relaxed and can attract plenty of people who would not normally be tempted to venture inside their community theatre.
West Norfolk’s first Drive-In Cinema launched in style last weekend on two gloriously sunny evenings. Now Westacre Theatre looks forward in anticipation of two more showings.
Friday June 4 sees the British gangster thriller ‘The Gentlemen’ played out on the giant open-air screen.
On Saturday, Hugh Jackman stars in the final film of this short Spring season celebrating show business legend PT Barnum. Creating his worldwide spectacular sensation, he is ‘The Greatest Showman’.
Tickets from www.westacretheatre.com are priced per car; gates open at 8pm with the films starting at dusk. Hot dogs and a licenced bar from the outside kiosk will complete your evening of fun.
Winternet is a brand new idea for Westacre Theatre. Sadly, you can’t come to the Theatre this Christmas so Westacre is coming to you!
Keen to bring as much good cheer as possible to everyone, your local community Theatre reached out to two dozen talented alumni from its long-running Bursary Scheme. In suitably festive mood, they will put on their own very individual performances which you can view each day for free from the comfort of your own home.
"We are desperately disappointed at not meeting with our audiences in person this year" explained director Sadie Grist, "but our Bursary students are stepping forward and their stories, songs and poems are enabling us to reconnect with our friends and supporters old and new all through December"
Graduating successfully into back-stage, on-stage and technical careers with top flight companies and venues across then UK, these students joined residencies that have run since 2005 thanks to welcome financial support from both the County Council and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk over several years. Many of the Theatre’s followers have also shown great generosity and without them the Scheme simply could not continue.