Monday, 01 May 2023 00:00

New seaside Shanty comedy to premiere in Sheringham summer drama season

Written by  Richard Batson
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
image courtesy of Richard Batson image courtesy of Richard Batson

A tragedy-hit seaside family is trying to get life back on song through music in a new comedy drama premiering at Sheringham this summer. 

Shanty is the story of a Cromer crab fisherman and his two daughters, all grieving after the sudden death of their wife and mum. 

Their rebuilding journey, laced with music and humour born out of adversity, is explored by up-and-coming young playwright and poet James McDermott who lives near Holt. 

“It is a drama drawing its comedy from the family’s attempts to form a band, the mess of grieving and being a young person clumsily trying to find a new way forward,” he explained. 

Dad Brendan is struggling with his fishing business and faces having to sell his crab boat to a rival and work on the fish counter in Morrisons. 

Eldest daughter Marina has dropped out of university after realising her emerging science career was her mother’s dream rather than hers.

Youngest daughter Shanty has lost her way, turns to music to find her voice – and persuades the rest of the family to form a band, with a first gig looming at Cromer Carnival. 

James added: “I wrote Shanty during lockdown under the writing scheme by the Mercury Theatre in Colchester – but they could not develop the play, so I offered it to the Little Theatre which is the perfect place to launch it. I am really excited about it premiering at Sheringham. 

“It’s also about trying to establish an East Anglian identity and voice. The North and London have theirs, but it’s harder to find something as distinctive for this area, capturing the feel of living on the coast, the slower pace of life, and self-deprecating humour.”


The drama, which features live music, sees James teaming up again with experienced West End director Marcus Romer, after working together on Ghosted - a pioneering youth drama performed on the seafront during 2021 – and with actor Meg Artherton who appeared in the show and is set to play Shanty. 

Busy James is about to return to writing scripts for EastEnders, and is teaching creative writing at the UEA where he was once a student, as well as launching a new poetry book Wild Life during a national book tour from June to September. 

Shanty runs from August 8-12 and is one of five shows in the theatre’s summer drama season. 


The others are: 

  • I Am Hamlet (Jul 29-Aug 5), a comic thriller with fun and dark plot twists as a young actor auditions for the lead role in Shakespeare’s tragedy.

  • Hound of the Baskervilles (Aug 15-19), a comedy spoof of the Sherlock Holmes moors murder.

  • Run For Your Man (Aug 22-26), UK premiere of a new version of Ray Cooney’s classic farce Run For Your Wife.  

  • Private Lives (Aug 29-Sep 2), Noel Coward’s intimate comedy involving two mismatched couple.

For tickets and more information visit


Last modified on Monday, 01 May 2023 09:03

Visit the following businesses

Poolside Lodges - Self Catering Accommodation with Hot Tubs
Poolside Lodges is a family run site of 3 single storey lodges located 5 miles from the heart of Norwich city and the Norfolk Broads, meaning we have the best of both worlds on our doorstep; the stunning architecture of the city with its wealth of ...
We are a free car parts finder service. Enter a free request for the parts you require and within minutes receive no obligation quotes.   Nationwide delivery available and parts come with a minimum 1 month guarantee (often longer). About ...
Museum of the Broads
Enjoy the only waterside Museum of Broadland life at the historic and picturesque Stalham Staithe.  We are family and dog friendly, have an accessible site, with a small café and picnic area. So why visit? Superb displays using a variety of ...
R T Harvey Ltd
We were established in 1924 on Tombland in Norwich. The company sold a full range of Game meat, poultry and pork. We moved to Grove Road in 1985 and now sells all game products, pork and poultry as well as cooked meats etc. In 1997 we gained ...
Mattishall Golf Club
Mattishall Golf Club, located between Dereham and Norwich provides a 9-hole course that challenges experienced players, but is also a great course for those new to the game and a six bay covered driving range which is open to members and ...
Chris Crowther Author and Writer
Chris Crowther spent 42 years of his working life flying aeroplanes and helicopters in various parts of the world, mainly West Africa as Chief Pilot of a helicopter operation, and where his first books were written. After hanging up his flying ...
benefits banner

Related items

  • Sheringham Little Theatre October to March programme announced

    Music, panto and local drama talent are among the highlights of the latest programme of events to be announced by Sheringham Little Theatre. 

    A new brochure flagging up shows between October and March includes a Blues, Roots and Americana music weekend, a Cinderella panto with a modern Netflix twist, and six “am dram” productions. 

    Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “Cinderella is the best panto story – but as ever we are putting a new slant on it with our Prince Charming as a Netflix star looking for love through his documentary called A Charmed Life.”

    Cinderella runs from December 15 to January 2 with Emily Kate Ann as Cinders, Samuel Garrett as Prince Charming, Kit Henson and Danniella Schindler as the Ugly Sisters Beeston and Bump,  Grace Pennington as Buttonz and Shane Armstrong as the stepmother and fairy godmother.   

  • RNLI Sheringham Lifeboat Day hailed a huge success

    On Sunday 13th August Sheringham RNLI held their annual Lifeboat Day. Hundreds of people flocked to the lifeboat station to see the lifeboat demonstrations including a mock rescue of a swimmer (played by Sheringham helmsman Steve Banks) and a joint demonstration involving Sheringham Lifeboat and both of Cromer’s Lifeboats.

    There were also displays by the local HM Coastguard team, a tombola with prizes donated by local businesses, a teddy tombola, refreshments stall and a Welly Wanging competition.

    At 1pm The Sheringham Shantymen put on a free performance with a collection in the famous RNLI yellow wellies at the end by crewmember Leanne McColm and Sam Farrow and at 3pm the station held their annual lifeboat service with representatives from all of Sheringham’s churches and music provided by the Sheringham Salvation Army band.

  • RNLI Sheringham Flag Day 2023 is a record- breaker

    On Saturday 22nd July sixty two hardy collectors were out and about on the rainy streets of Sheringham collecting for the RNLI as part of the annual Flag Day.

    A record £2181.62 was collected, Sheringham RNLI would like to say a huge thank you to the people of Sheringham for their generosity. Thanks also go to the many volunteers who helped organise the day, hold collection boxes and count the money (and particularly to the kind person who handed over a bag of coins totalling £70!)

    Brian Farrow, Sheringham RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said ‘We are greatly touched by the kindness and support we continue to receive from our fantastic community. To break our record for Flag Day collections at Sheringham during the current financial climate and on such a rainy day is truly heart-warming. Thank you all.’

  • Festival of fun in Sheringham

    The town of Sheringham morphed into a colourful clamour of bells for the first weekend in July, as has become traditional. Morris Sides from across the United Kingdom converged on the town for the highlight of the East Anglian Morris year.

    From Newcastle to Norwich and from Laxfield to Leicester they, hopped, skipped and jumped their way to Sheringham to celebrate a festival of folk music and dancing.  37 groups of people showcased the real diversity that this art form supports and demonstrated the huge variety of forms of Morris dancing to delighted crowds who thronged to the town to support the weekend. For the uninitiated, this can include Molly, Rapper, Mummer, Cotswold, North West and Welsh Border styles of dance.

    After a welcome from the Sheringham Town Crier, Mayor and Deputy Mayor, the 37 sides danced their way through the town before settling down around 11 performance venues in town for over 10 hours of dancing joy spread over Saturday and Sunday.

  • Sheringham to go Potty for 30th

    Sheringham is gearing up for a great weekend of fun on 30th June to 2nd July as the preparations continue for the annual Potty Festival – a celebration of Morris Dancing and Folk Music, which has taken place in the town for the last 30 years.  Named after Sheringham’s “Lobster Potties” Morris side, the weekend will see 35 sides dancing all around town, showcasing some fantastic outfits and skills.  Dancing will follow the various Morris forms including Molly, Rapper, Mummers, Cotswold, North West and Welsh Border.

    The whole town comes alive for this festival of fun, with the 2018 Festival seeing a Guinness world record of 369 dancers dancing together – a spectacular sight.


© All Things Norfolk 2008 - 2023
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.