Two of Norfolk’s biggest players in the community are joining forces in a major new partnership, bringing together the worlds of Premier League football and world-class theatre in a range of unique and creative collaborations.
Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich City Football Club are kicking off a brand new partnership with a pledge to work even more closely together for the benefit of Norwich, Norfolk and the whole community.
It will begin with the Canaries becoming official partners of this year’s pantomime Cinderella, which takes to the Theatre Royal stage on December 17.
Norwich City and Norwich Theatre Royal are united by the incredible commitment of fans and audiences who pledge a strong loyalty to both organisations supporting both the Premier League side as it battles for supremacy and the theatre as it works each year to stage the highest-quality and widest-reaching programme across its three stages.
The two organisations also share the same deep-rooted commitment to local communities through annual programmes of work with people of all ages and abilities through the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation and Theatre Royal’s extensive Learning & Participation programme.
Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive, said: “This new partnership is an incredibly exciting one for us. To join forces with an organisation with such a similar incredible heritage and strong loyalty from its supporters to us makes great sense and provides a platform for exciting collaborations. As two organisations that are key players regionally and nationally in our respective industries, this will be a great chance to forge a fantastic and unique working relationship.
“It will begin over the coming pantomime period as we collaborate on a number of projects to encourage more people to come and experience the excitement of live theatre and we have many other projects in the pipeline.”
Ben Kensell, Chief Operating Officer at Norwich City, added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Norwich Theatre Royal. It is something we have wanted to do for a period of time because there’s great synergies between our two brands. We have a real commitment to supporting local communities being a key driver for us both. Our Community Sports Foundation already do an outstanding job within the county and this partnership will only help to extend our community efforts in the sports and arts areas. The theatre is a historic institution in the City, and we’re proud to be collaborating on some exciting projects in the near future.”
The news comes as preparations gather pace for this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime. Casting was confirmed in early summer and includes Great Yarmouth-born entertainer and actor Joe Tracini (Hollyoaks, Dengineers, Spamalot) as Buttons, and actress and singer Amanda Henderson (Robyn in Casualty, the Les Misérables movie, Oliver! in the West End) as one of the Ugly Sisters.
The cast also includes internationally acclaimed actor-singer David Witts (Joey Branning in EastEnders, Fiyero in Wicked) as Prince Charming, and panto stalwart Richard Gauntlett who returns to the Theatre Royal panto family for the 19th time as writer and director as well as playing the Fairy Godmother this year.
The Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime is a key part of the Christmas calendar with almost 60,000 people coming to see it last year. Produced by Theatre Royal itself, it provides a festive boost to the local economy as well as offering a host of additional activities around it including school events, workshops for young people, and the opportunity for students to do work experience backstage and front-of-house during the run.
And the partnership is set to grow in 2020. Stephen Crocker said: “Cinderella is just the first step in this exciting new relationship. We share with Norwich City a passion for our home city and creating memorable experiences for everyone that steps through our doors and pledge to make this a Premier League partnership for both of us.”