Frinton Summer Theatre (2014)


An incredible 47 performances of 11 events at four different venues over just seven weeks – with a total of 9,800 seats sold.

Frinton Summer Theatre has a rich history, having nurtured the talents of some of the country’s most famous faces in its 75 year history.

But in 2013, diminishing audience numbers meant it’s future hung in the balance.

Matthew Townshend, project direct of mtp was asked to step in.

And, with the help of a well-orchestrated celebrity-endorsed media campaign and the production of some wonderful plays, he managed to give it a new lease of life.

The 2013 season was hugely successful but, when Matthew was asked to stay on as producer for the 75th Anniversary in 2014, he really pulled out all the stops.

As a result the season was record-breaking.

In seven weeks there was 47 performances of 11 events including plays, community projects, music and comedy at four different venues with a total of 9,800 seats sold.

Celebrity support

The late Lynda Bellingham lent her support, giving the theatre where she began her career, a glowing commentary for it’s programme.

But the icing on the cake was the inclusion of award-winning actor Richard Wilson OBE in the cast.

Well-known as one of the finest actors in the UK, he became an established household name for his best-known roles playing Victor Meldrew in the popular BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave and Camelot’s court physician, Gaius, in the successful BBC drama Merlin.

And, understandably, his performance in the mtp production of The Dog at Frinton, drew huge crowds.

A brand new play written by comedy script writer Jon Canter, it was a three-hander involving a live dog – who was cast after a series of local audition slots for domestic pets.

Richard was joined in his Frinton debut by other familiar cast members such as Vicki Michelle (a recent contestant on I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here and most famed for being in Allo’, Allo’).

And one of the plays featured on the run – Noel & Gertie, received such high praise from the critics that mtp decided to tour it across the UK in 2015.


FST 75th Anniversary Season:

Within The Gates 
– a new play written by Patrick Marlowe

– a thriller by Anthony Shaffer with John D Collins

Relatively Speaking
– a play by Alan Ayckbourn

The Importance of Being Earnest
– by Oscar Wilde starring Vicki Michelle and Giles Watling

Noel and Gertie
– by Sheridan Morley

The Dog
– by Jon Canter starring Richard Wilson

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