Wensum, by Jim Harding, January 13, 2015

Sarah Lamb as Alice and Jonathan Howells as The White Rabbit in The Royal Ballet production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,  choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, to music by Joby Talbot, with set and costume designs by Bob Crowley.  Performed at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 28 February 2011.'ARPDATA ; 'ALICES ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND ; 'Music by Talbot ; 'Sarah Lamb (as Alice) and Jonathan Howells (as The White Rabbit) ; 'The Royal Ballet ; 'At the Royal Opera House, London, UK ; '28 February 2011; 'Credit: Royal Opera House / ArenaPAL SUS-140312-095159003

Sarah Lamb as Alice and Jonathan Howells as The White Rabbit in The Royal Ballet production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, to music by Joby Talbot, with set and costume designs by Bob Crowley. Performed at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 28 February 2011.'ARPDATA ; 'ALICES ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND ; 'Music by Talbot ; 'Sarah Lamb (as Alice) and Jonathan Howells (as The White Rabbit) ; 'The Royal Ballet ; 'At the Royal Opera House, London, UK ; '28 February 2011; 'Credit: Royal Opera House / ArenaPAL SUS-140312-095159003

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Hundreds of local residents have enjoyed the live screenings at our cinema over the past twelve months or so.

As a regular attender I’ve been delighted by the quality of the performances and the availability of such prestigious shows on our doorstep.

For the vast majority, I suspect, the opportunity to see top rank theatre, opera and ballet right here in Fakenham far outweighs the inevitable pleasure of being a part of the live audience. Far cheaper, too. Let’s face it, the two versions of what is offered do vary.

For me, the film evenings convey a different experience altogether in that the camera does much of the talking. Sitting in the comfort of a warm cinema we get to zoom in on the actors, dancers, singers or whatever in close-ups not available to a live audience.

Plus there are all manner of different angles, including from above, to highlight how the director has interpreted the work.

In the early days there were a few transmission hiccups.

Half-way through a pulsating performance of Othello with Adrian Lester and Roy Kinnear we somehow lost contact and were unable to complete the second half. Ticket money was returned and, to its credit, the cinema relayed the show at a later date.

Perhaps my strangest afternoon was in watching the film version of Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes performed last summer on Aldeburgh beach.

It was terrific but I was the only one in the cinema.

But generally the audiences have been good and on occasions exceptional which has to be very encouraging for the management team behind the whole enterprise.

Personal highlights include Helen McCrory’s stunning Medea and Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. And just before Christmas we were treated to the Royal Ballet’s spectacular version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, an evening of total enchantment. Good to see some younger people attending this as well. The coming year promises much and it’s to be hoped that our cinema continues to get the support it deserves for its ambition.

n Thanks to Teresa Verney and her Sing for Joy group, I’ve overcome a reluctance to break the ice and have joined in regular afternoon singing sessions at the Salvation Army hall.

These informal gatherings have opened doors to all kinds of music and the realisation that most of us, given the encouragement, can hold a tune.

Teresa oversees similar groups in Sheringham, Cromer and Norwich and for the past two summers we have got together for big fund-raising concerts in the amazing Salle church out Reepham way. Both well-attended events raised over £1,000 for Parkinson’s and the Blue Ribbon charity and were great fun.

Should you be inclined to tap into your singing side, an opportunity presents itself at the end of February. Fakenham Choral Society is hosting a Come and Sing day to raise funds for the new Tapping House Hospice at Hillington.

It will be led by the charismatic Janet Kelsey in morning and afternoon workshops at the community centre concentrating on Faure’s Requiem.

Then at 6pm a performance of the work will be given in the parish church. Participants for the whole experience pay just £10 – or £5 for students – and everyone must register by February 21.

On the night itself – Saturday, February 28 – there will be programmes, a raffle and buckets for donations. Entrance will be free.

Full details and registration forms can be found on www.fakenhamchoralsociety.co.uk or contact Rosemary Dear at dear-brian@hotmail.com

or on 01328 851776.