28 August 2017
Pop Up People’s Theatre to launch in North Walsham Town Centre
with spooky goings on

Sheelagh Hopkins, Connor Worby, Joseph Ballard and Emma Portway-Fox, North Walsham Pop Up People's Theatre team 001.JPG
Regular theatre will be making a comeback in North Walsham this October, with a season of shows all taking place in a new pop up theatre initiative, which will be run by a group of volunteers with New Stages, who currently run North Norfolk Youth Theatre, North Walsham People’s Choir and the town’s adult acting classes.

The function room of the Black Swan, down Black Swan Loke, will be transformed into a temporary theatre for October to December this year. The theatre will launch on 22nd October with a ‘spooky season’ which will include theatre shows from the People’s Theatre Company in the form of Jack the Ripper: a radio play, a series of ghost stories with North Norfolk Youth Theatre called The House and the Infamous Covert Cabaret night of song and comedy. The popular ghost walks around the town centre will also return to help with promotions and raise funds for the theatre programme.

Joseph Ballard, director of New Stages and the Pop Up People’s Theatre said:
“The Pop Up Theatre is all about presenting shows for North Walsham and the surrounding area – always ensuring a welcoming and friendly atmosphere and top shows that will be made in North Walsham for North Walsham.

It’s great to be presenting home-grown live theatre in the town, which is something I have championed for a few years with different shows and events. This is a really exciting opportunity for the community to get involved and support us, to ensure that North Walsham is known for good things to attract visitors, entertain locals and start building the evening economy in the town centre.”

After the Halloween events, the Pop Up People’s Theatre will keep going with the promise something big in the form of Jack And The Beanstalk in December as they hail the return of Christmas pantomime. All the Halloween shows and the pantomime will be written and directed by Joseph Ballard.

The Black Swan have partnered with New Stages to bring the theatre to life and the Showcase Gallery, long supporters of past productions will continue to act as their town centre box office. Tickets can be bought in person from the Showcase Gallery, online or by calling 01692 404533. More information about the shows can be found at www.new-stages.co.uk/popup and from show leaflets which can be found around town in shops, cafes, the Showcase Gallery and the library.

Pictured above: Members of the People’s theatre team (l-r) Sheelagh Hopkins (Publicity Officer), Connor Worby (Young People’s Ambassador), Joseph Ballard (Director) and Emma Portway-Fox (FOH Manager)

Useful links:
What’s On            About the team          Pop Up People’s Theatre      Jack and the Beantstalk


2 May 2017
Losing the plot with murder in a small town:
New theatre group launch their first show

A new theatre group for adults, called North Walsham People’s Theatre, will perform their first show on 20th May.

Titled ‘A Small Town For Murder’, the play has been written by the show’s director, Joseph Ballard, who had started up the group under the umbrella of New Stages, which also runs North Norfolk Youth Theatre and North Walsham People’s Choir. The performance is based on a live broadcast of a radio play in front of an audience, which tells the twisted tale of a series of murders, based on the gossip and hearsay of a small market town.

The actors, their microphones and live sound-effects will all be visible as the assembled actors get to grips with their characters – until things go wrong and they try and keep up with the plot!

The group members have been rehearsing for just over a month and come from North Walsham and the surrounding area, including Norwich.

Sheelagh Hopkins from Eccles-on-Sea, who plays a number of different characters in the play, said:
“We have had so many laughs during rehearsals – parts of the script are very funny and along with the sound effects which are made in the old-fashioned way, we hope the audience will have as much fun as we’ve had making it!”

Joseph Ballard, the show’s director, said:
“The adult acting group is the new addition to the range of classes I’m leading here in North Walsham. We’re all looking forward to the first show, which is in the style of a radio play of the bygone era. For audience members who would like to make the most of an evening out, we’ve organised a fish and chip supper for before the show.

Those taking part are of all ages and experiences – but we all come together to learn from each other and present something that can be shared in the community.”

Bob White, who owns The Showcase Gallery in the Market Place who is selling tickets for the show, said:
“I’m very pleased to support Joseph and his new theatre company for North Walsham. We have supported him in the past and will continue to do so by providing a town centre ticket office where people can get their tickets here in person.”

On Saturday 20th May, the show begins at 7.30pm and takes place at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall on Park Lane in North Walsham. There’s also the optional addition of a fish and chipper supper before the show at 6.30pm. Tickets are priced £5 (show only) or £10 (which includes a fish and chip supper). Tickets must be booked in advance and are available in person from The Showcase Gallery in the Market Place or by calling the box office on 01692 404533 or online at http://www.new-stages.co.uk.

19 April 2017
It’s about new stages for North Walsham:
North Norfolk Youth Theatre celebrates its first production

The first production from newly formed North Norfolk Youth Theatre has been hailed a success by its audience and members.

Thirteen young people aged 13 to 18 performed in Shooting Truth, which was written by award-winning playwright Molly Davies and was originally commissioned by the National Theatre. The free performance took place on 5th April at the Atrium Theatre in North Walsham and was directed by Joseph Ballard, who runs North Norfolk Youth Theatre who had been rehearsing since November last year.

“It was such an exciting play and very thought provoking. What a wonderful choice to produce that with a young cast. A splendid and very professionally executed piece of theatre.” Felicity, audience member

A sparsely lit world, full of shadows was created as the action drifted seamlessly in and out of the modern day, where a group of students were making a film about a witch; to the seventeenth century where the real suspect witch, only young herself, was bullied and threatened and then put on trial by teenagers of her own age.

There were powerful performances from all cast members but mention must go to Tali Brandish-Rouse, who played Freya, the young girl accused of witchcraft. A memorable exchange took place between Freya and her grandmother (played by Mollie Walton) which exposed the dangerous world that these oppressed women had to survive in during the 1600s.

Vulnerability was also exposed by Alice Portway, who played a modern day alternative until she mets an almost like-for-like end just as her seventeenth counterpart did. The rest of the cast brought us these two worlds and merged them together well. Connor Worby played a frustrated film director assisted by Lauren Balls who’s character jumped to life at the mentioned of blood and gore.

The director of New Stages, Joseph Ballard, is an experienced theatre director and performer who has produced a number of shows and events in the town. Joseph said:
“I’m very proud of our youth theatre for presenting a well-acted and thought-through play for our first production. I believe it is very important to support the young people of North Walsham and the local area with fun and engaging sessions where new skills are learnt at the same time. New members are always welcome to join in our projects.”

North Norfolk Youth Theatre meets on Tuesday evenings in North Walsham with classes for 8-12s and 13-17s. The Tuesday acting classes are followed by North Walsham People’s Choir, a group for adults who enjoy singing for fun with a repertoire that ranges from pop, rock and the musicals.

New members to the classes are always welcome and no experience is necessary and the first session for young members is always free. More information can be found at http://www.new-stages.co.uk or by calling 01692 404533.