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Thetford drama teacher gearing up for Thurston Community Players’ debut production of Cinderella





A new amateur dramatics group from Suffolk is gearing up for its first ever production and has now sold more than 300 tickets.

Sarah Cornell, 60, has been teaching drama for 30 years and founded the Thurston Community Players in September.

After helping to direct numerous school plays and musicals including Oliver, Bugsy Malone, Joseph and her favourite, Les Miserables, she said she was delighted to get the chance to begin a new challenge with the group’s inaugural production of Cinderella.

Emma Stratton plays Cinderella in the Thurston Community Players' debut production. Picture: Sarah Cornell
Emma Stratton plays Cinderella in the Thurston Community Players' debut production. Picture: Sarah Cornell

Sarah said: “When I moved to Thurston five years ago I was surprised to find there was no established drama group and I’m delighted that in these difficult times for the arts, funding has been made available for us to start this exciting community project.

“I’m feeling a bit nervous and it’s been hard work but I think it’s really exciting and as it’s our debut, it absolutely makes it a little bit more special.

“I have always enjoyed directing and performing with local theatre groups and it has been a joy meeting these new and talented actors.”

Sarah Wall plays Buttons and Sam West plays The Fairy Godmother. Picture: Sarah Cornell
Sarah Wall plays Buttons and Sam West plays The Fairy Godmother. Picture: Sarah Cornell

Sarah, who teaches at Thetford Grammar School, will be directing the production and has credited Sam West and Lorna Podbury for helping her put it all together along the way.

“Sam has been amazing with the singing and dancing and generally been so wonderful, while Lorna has just been so incredibly helpful as well,” she said.

Sarah also extended her gratitude to the rest of the performers, Thurston Parish Council and the shopkeepers who allowed advertisements of the show in their windows.

Mervyn Gooding as Baron Hardup and Laurna Podbury as Baroness Vindicta. Picture: Sarah Cornell
Mervyn Gooding as Baron Hardup and Laurna Podbury as Baroness Vindicta. Picture: Sarah Cornell

On top of helping Sarah out with the directing, Sam will also be playing the fairy godmother while Lorna will be playing Baroness Vindicta.

More than 320 tickets have already been sold for Cinderella at Thurston Community College, with two shows on Saturday, March 2 and one on Sunday, March 3.

In the future, Sarah hopes to do something on Agatha Christie’s The Hollow and also a pantomime by the end of 2025.