Royalty Theatre, Sunderland: Season’s preview

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Katy Wheeler previews the forthcoming season at the Royalty

FROM true life tales to swashbuckling fun, there’s plenty to look forward to this year at Sunderland’s oldest community theatre.

 The curtain goes up on the 2011/2012 season on September 19 with The Diary of Anne Frank, the true and poignant tale of the twenty-five months spent in hiding from the Gestapo by Anne and her family during Second World War.

This is followed by:

* Nightmare: The fright of Your Life, a taut and exciting horror thriller (October 31 to November 5).

* Sinbad, a swashbuckling family pantomime. Early booking is strongly recommended as tickets tend to sell out fast. (December 8-18)

* Flint Street Nativity, a comedy with music by Tim Firth, the creator of Calendar Girls (January 23-28).

* Natural Causes, a comedy thriller (March 5-10).

* Keeping Tom Nice, a drama centred on a severely handicapped young man, it is a rich and compelling examination of a family disintegrating under the pressures of an increasingly complex world. This is a Studio Theatre production (April 4-7).

* My Own Show, a hilarious, witty comedy.

 A TV chat show host is reunited with an old school friend on the set of This is Your Life, which gives her ideas for rescuing her own ratings. (May 14-19)

* Hi-de-Hi! Adapted from the original TV series, the play follows Joe Maplin’s efforts to set up a holiday camp in the Bahamas. (June 25-30)

 Royalty Chairwoman Anna Snell said: “I’m absolutely thrilled with the new season’s line-up. It holds plenty of variety and there should be something in it to suit all tastes.”

 The Royalty’s brochures for its forthcoming season are available from the Tourist Information Centre at the City and Library Arts centre, as well as branch libraries and other locations throughout the city.

 Having such a varied programme means the Royalty, off Chester Road, has a need for actors from all age groups and with a range acting skills.

 The Royalty knows that Sunderland has talent, and the theatre will be holding an open audition on September 8 at 7.30 pm to give people a chance to prove it.

 Separate auditions for each play will be held throughout the season, so keep a lookout for further announcements in the Echo.

 Although the theatre aims towards professional standards for productions, it is run entirely by volunteers.

 All of its members, whether involved in acting, directing, back stage work or keeping the place running by staffing the bar etc. are passionate about what they do and are committed to bringing their audiences high levels of artistry and entertainment.

 Even if you’re not keen on acting there is much to interest and occupy anyone who wants to become involved.

 Anyone who wishes to do so will be made welcome – just pop into the theatre any Friday at about 9.30 pm.

 A series of technical workshops for those wishing to develop lighting and sound engineering skills will be held throughout the year, with announcements of dates to be published in the Echo, as well as the Royalty Theatre’s Facebook page.

 The Royalty is also busy having its website ( revamped and the upgraded version with full information on its productions, as well as other activities, will be up and running by early September.

* Bookings for all productions can be made at the Tourist Information Centre, City Library and Arts centre, Fawcett Street, Sunderland, from September 1.