Century-old theatre appeal for more volunteers and 'bums on seats'

Actor Jose Tarouca as Aramis in the upcoming play The Three Musketeers at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich

Actor Jose Tarouca as Aramis in the upcoming play The Three Musketeers at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich - Credit: Maddermarket Theatre

A rallying call is being made for more volunteers and "bums on seats" to future-proof a century-old theatre in the "heart of the city".

The Maddermarket Theatre, in St John's Alley, is run by volunteers who do everything from mending costumes, operating sound and lights for productions, manning the box office and performing on the stage. 

Maddermarket Theatre Laura Landamore on stage in Much Ado About Nothing in 2019

Maddermarket Theatre Laura Landamore on stage in Much Ado About Nothing in 2019 - Credit: Maddermarket Theatre

Laura Landamore, board member for the theatre who has been involved with the charity enterprise for 23 years, said the theatre had reduced its in-house productions from the Norwich Players from 10 a year to six because of reduced man power since Covid restrictions ended.

Members of the Norwich Players being directed by director Tony Fullwood (right) for their The Merry

Members of the Norwich Players rehearsing for a previous performance of The Merry Wives of Norwich performance - Credit: Maddermarket Theatre

She said: "We are picking up where we left off from Covid. We need a lot of people for the bar, costume department, box office and acting team.

"People have been starved of doing things in the pandemic and are focussing on going out with loved ones or going on holiday. There is more of a focus of people doing everything they missed out on."

A recent production of James and the Giant Peach at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich before the c

Performers from a previous Maddermarket Theatre show, James and the Giant Peach - Credit: Maddermarket Theatre

She added this meant some theatre trips or volunteering for the Maddermarket "had fallen off the radar because other things are more important".

"We need more people through the door and bums on seats," she added. "We are a charity and make our money on ticket sales. We need to make up for what we lost during lockdown. We were shut for such a long time.

"We are not at risk of closure and have reserves but are looking at other ways to increase revenue. It is a lovely beautiful space.

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"The Madddermarket Theatre is in the heart of the city and has been a theatre for 100 years. There are a lot of people who don't know about it but when people come they love it. We don't want it to go.

"We are ok but want to get more people watching shows or hiring the space," Ms Landamore said.

An archive picture of the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich

An archive picture of the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich - Credit: Maddermarket Theatre

The creative marketing expert from Norwich thought of her theatre volunteers as her extended family and supporting the charity taught new skills.

She added the theatre was putting on diverse shows to attract people and the next in-house show was The Three Musketeers which runs from July 12-16.