ACTRESS Jane Asher is to become the patron of Frinton Summer Theatre.

The popular theatre, based at the town’s McGrigor Hall, is the longest-running summer repertory theatre in the UK.

Asher, who starred in TV shows and movies such as The Masque of the Red Death, Alfie, Deep End, The Mistress, Crossroads and Death at a Funeral, is also known as being an entrepreneur and for publishing three bestselling novels.

To celebrate her becoming the patron there will be a fundraising event, An Evening with Jane Asher, on August 28 in the Greensward tent, where the theatre is also staging Jesus Christ Superstar.

Asher’s first-ever stage appearance was in Frinton at the age of 13 and she has fond memories of happy family holidays in the town.

“I acted in film and on television from the age of five, but in those days you had to be 12 to work in the theatre,” she said.

“Housemaster at Frinton was the first time I was ever on stage, and it led to my playing Alice at Oxford Playhouse that Christmas and to a part in a West End play.

“The happy experiences I had there inspired a life-long love of working in theatre and for that I shall always be grateful to that magic little theatre.

“I’ve always felt proud to be part of the long list of actors who began their stage careers in Frinton, and I am even more proud to have been given the special honour of becoming the next patron.”

She takes over the patronage from actor Richard Wilson, best known for playing Victor Meldrew in BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave.

“I would like to thank Richard for all the wonderful work he has done for our theatre,” said theatre producer Clive Brill. “He has been an absolute gem.”

“I am also over the moon that Jane has accepted our invitation to become our new patron.

“It is a testament to the place Frinton Summer Theatre holds in British theatre history and to the quality of its productions.”

Tickets for An Evening with Jane Asher cost £20 from