Village theatre raises curtain on heritage tours

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A THEATRE is raising its curtain for a celebration of culture on your doorstep.

The Little Theatre in Cleadon is throwing open its doors as part of this year’s Tyne and Wear Heritage Open Days.

Now in its 11th year, the scheme, which runs from September 6-9, brings history to life through free events and open days at cultural hot-spots in the region.

Visitors to the South Tyneside venue will be treated to front-of-house and backstage tours with past and present members of the theatre.

People will also be able to watch a 10-minute video about young people from The Little Theatre’s Summer School.

Denise Wilson of The Little Theatre said: “We hope that people will discover that even a small theatre can be a vibrant and exciting place with plenty of opportunity to learn and demonstrate a number of skills.”

The theatre has been entertaining visitors for more than 65 years and this is the first time the Boldon Lane venue has been part of Heritage Open Days.

Denise said: “Without heritage open days many members of the community would not even know that some buildings and cultural enterprises exist.

“Certainly this has been true in the past for The Little Theatre.

“Heritage can be viewed as something passed down to us, something that must be cherished and maintained, or it will be lost, perhaps forever.”

Two of the young people involved in The Little Theatre Summer School were Sunderland students Rachel Otterson and Corey Muizelaar.

Rachel, 17, who is studying for her A-levels at Bede College, said: “The summer school has been superb, as we concentrated on acting and learnt a great deal. It was an amazing experience where we all gained priceless experience.”

Corey Muizelaar, 11, from Penshaw, said: “I really liked how all of the cast and crew worked closely together, in particular when we developed different characters and accents to act out.”

He added: “I think the open days are an important chance to showcase drama and for people to find out more about the theatre.”

l The front-of-house and backstage tours of The Little Theatre in Cleadon will take place on September 7 and 8 between noon and 4pm.

For more on Heritage Open Days, visit www.twhods.org.uk

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