Dereham shows its generous side by donating theatre tickets to students

Butcher David Smith has bought15 Macbeth tickets for the local high schools. Also pictured are North

Butcher David Smith has bought15 Macbeth tickets for the local high schools. Also pictured are Northgate High School headteacher Glyn Hambling and Gill Huckle. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A new initiative to help young people enjoy live theatre has been hailed as a huge success with 78 students from Dereham schools being given the opportunity to watch a performance of Macbeth for free.

The Teen Ticket idea was the brainchild of the Friends of Dereham Memorial Hall who were concerned that there was not enough support for the younger generation in the town to see classic theatre.

After securing touring theatre company the Pantaloons to perform their adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth next month they wrote to dozens of local businesses and individuals asking them to donate up to 10 tickets and either nominate a particular school to receive them or add them into a general pot for the Friends to distribute.

Gill Huckle, from the Friends, said a total of £780 was donated, which translates into 78 tickets.

She said: 'The donations have been from businesses mainly locally owned and from individuals, mostly from people who do not have pupils in education and want to do their bit.

'There have been three donations of £100 or more, mainly people have donated a couple of tickets, and some have given anonymously.'

As previously reported David Smith, who runs the butcher's shop and deli in Swanton Morley was the first to donate a significant number, promising 10 for Northgate High School and five for Neatherd High.

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Mrs Huckle said a number of local councillors had also personally donated with a total of 12 coming from Breckland councillors.

She said: 'People have commented that it is a novel way of sponsorship. Most donors remember the benefits they felt from getting to the theatre as young people, and want the current generation to enjoy similar experiences.

'The Friends are delighted with the uptake and that our local youth will have the opportunity to experience Shakespeare in what will be an entertaining performance.'

* The Pantaloons perform Macbeth on Friday, November 13 at Dereham Memorial Hall. Tickets cost £12 for adults and £10 for teens from the Box Office at Bead This, Craft That on 01362 696943.

* The Lee Vasey band will perform at the Memorial Hall tomorrow night in aid of the Friends and Dereham Carnival. Tickets cost £12 from The Little Gallery, 62 Norwich Street, 01362 690969 and from Bead This, Craft That, 4 Nunns Way, 01362 696943. There will be a raffle.

* The winner of our competition for two tickets to the Lee Vasey event is Melvin Neave from Dereham.