A BAFTA-winning actress is expected to bring a huge boost to a theatre on the Norfolk coast as she is announced as its new president. 

Star of stage and screen Suranne Jones was revealed as the new president of Sheringham Little Theatre at the annual meeting of the charity trust that runs the venue. 

She found fame as Karen McDonald in Coronation Street and she has since appeared in hit TV shows such as Vigil, Gentleman Jack and Dr Foster, with the latter earning her a BAFTA Television Award for best actress. 

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Fakenham & Wells Times: Suranne Jones inside Sheringham Little Theatre, where she is the new president Picture: Andi Sapey/SLTSuranne Jones inside Sheringham Little Theatre, where she is the new president Picture: Andi Sapey/SLT (Image: Andi Sapey/SLT)

Jones, who is a a frequent visitor to north Norfolk and the theatre with her family, said: “When we first visited the area I was excited to see Sheringham still had The Little Theatre and it wasn’t long before we started coming along.

“Theatre in rural areas is so important, not only for audiences to see shows they may not be able to easily see, but also for young people who may not have an outlet for their creativity and have no idea how to get into the business.”

Fakenham & Wells Times: Lady Walpole is stepping down as president of Sheringham Little Theatre Picture: Andi Sapey/SLTLady Walpole is stepping down as president of Sheringham Little Theatre Picture: Andi Sapey/SLT (Image: Andi Sapey/SLT)

She takes over the honorary title from Lady Walpole, who succeeded her late husband Lord Robin Walpole in 2022.

Fakenham & Wells Times: Suranne Jones outside Sheringham Little Theatre Picture: Andi Sapey/SLTSuranne Jones outside Sheringham Little Theatre Picture: Andi Sapey/SLT (Image: Andi Sapey/SLT)

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Lady Walpole steps down after the couple completed a total of 50 years in the role.

Fakenham & Wells Times: Suranne Jones (centre) with theatre director Debbie Thompson and chairman Jonathan Beak Picture: Andi Sapey/SLTSuranne Jones (centre) with theatre director Debbie Thompson and chairman Jonathan Beak Picture: Andi Sapey/SLT (Image: Andi Sapey/SLT)

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said that having a high-profile star and household name as president was a huge boost for the 160-seater seaside venue.

She said: "We are very honoured Suranne has agreed to take on this role and excited to be working with an actress who started off in the youth group of her local theatre in Oldham, so she understands the importance of community arts venues."

Jonathan Beak, chairman, said: “We hope it will raise our profile in the community and maybe nationally, and help us grow the theatre for the future."