A scheme aimed at boosting interest in the theatre among teenagers has been launched in Dereham. ‘Teen Tickets’, a project being led by Dereham Memorial Hall, is designed to show young people the joys of live stage performance.  The idea is for local businesses and individuals to buy theatre tickets from the memorial hall at a cost of £10 each.

These will then be donated to the drama departments of Neatherd and Northgate high schools and Dereham Sixth Form College, allowing students to enjoy shows for free.  The first Teen Tickets show will see The Pantaloons treat an audience to their adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

Tim Cara, chairman of the Friends of Dereham Memorial Hall, was enthusiastic about the scheme’s potential.  “What we want with Teen Tickets is for young people to leave the theatre and say ‘wow, I didn’t realise what this was all about’,” he said.  “If you are a teenager in Dereham, chances are you are haven’t been to the theatre willingly. So, to go to something nearer, where you are only out the house for three hours, has got to be a good thing.  There is huge appeal to drama teachers. You can’t teach drama from a textbook; the more theatre kids have seen, the better. Rather than take them to London, which is expensive and takes a lot of organising, this is in their hometown.” On the upcoming show, he added: “This project needs a production that will appeal to young people.

The Pantaloons will perform their adaptation of Great Expectations at Dereham Memorial Hall. “With The Pantaloons, it is difficult to describe just how good they are at capturing something that appeals to everyone. It is a really unique gift. To get them here rather than Norwich is quite a coup.”

Mr Cara said the response thus far from the community had been “outstanding”, and was confident of reaching the initial target of 100 tickets sold.  He added: “Contributing to something like this means people are showing they appreciate what schools do and supporting the theatre.

“The appeal to businesses is that they can show they are supporting something locally and putting money back into the community.  The support has been much stronger than expected, especially given the times we are living in.”

To donate, email timcara@hotmail.co.uk for a form or visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/friendsofderehammemorialhall.

(Source: Dereham Times)