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We share our home with stage stars

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:18 02 July 2010

Heather Ashmore and her husband John Ashmore put up people who perform at the theatre all year round and have been doing so for the past four years.

Heather Ashmore and her husband John Ashmore put up people who perform at the theatre all year round and have been doing so for the past four years.

Peter Walsh

The closest many people will get to the cast of hit musical Les Miserables is seeing them take their bows at the front of the stage, but one Norwich couple will be living and eating with three of the actresses for the next five weeks.

The closest many people will get to the cast of hit musical Les Miserables is seeing them take their bows at the front of the stage, but one Norwich couple will be living and eating with three of the actresses for the next five weeks.

Heather Ashmore and her husband John, from Le Strange Close, off Christchurch Road, in Norwich, are one of several families used by the Norwich Theatre Royal throughout the year to put up cast and crew who perform at the Theatre Street venue.

The couple, who are currently hosting cast members Joanna Loxton, Rosa O' Reilly, and Rhiannon Sarah Porter, have been taking theatre performers under their wing for the past four years.

Mrs Ashmore, 58, a part-time administration assistant, said: We love it. It's very interesting. “If you're going to see a show and have people with you who are in a show it makes it all the more interesting. It's nice when you go to a show and see someone on the stage who's stayed at your house.”

The couple used to house international students from the Bell International Language school, but when that closed in 2006, they turned their attentions to taking in theatre performers.

Mrs Ashmore said: “We've got several bedrooms in the house and it just seems such a waste if they are empty all the time - it's a nice way of having people in the house and using the accommodation we've got.

“We love it so much. They are all interesting people who have very different jobs to what we do - it's a completely different way of life. ”

The family have got three actresses staying with them at the moment, but over the years they have had a range of people with different roles.

Mrs Ashmore said: “Fiona, a girl who was staying with us at Christmas was playing the saxophone in the pantomime, and we had a lovely bloke stay here who was an electrician on the Witches of Eastwick.

“He probably came about two weeks before the show as there was a lot of work to do setting it all up. Then you hear about some other aspects of the show which is interesting because there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes.”

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