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Babergh & Mid Suffolk Stowmarket

Theatre set to reopen following £3.6 million refurb

The Regal Theatre in Stowmarket will re-open its doors to the public at the end of this month following a £3.6 million expansion and refurbishment.

From Friday 28th May, visitors to the Regal will be able to enjoy the new foyer area, box office and café before experiencing one of the three new auditoria with improved sound and lighting technology.

The new backstage facilities will enhance the theatre and live shows which will be part of the new schedule of programming. Major improvements to the toilet facilities and disabled access mean the Regal will be welcoming for all visitors whatever their needs.

The upgrade is well deserved after 80 years of serving Stowmarket and the project has received overwhelming support from the local community. In response to a public consultation process involving 1102 people, over 99% of respondents supported the project in saying that they would use the new theatre if it was redeveloped.

The first screenings planned for the Regal will be Peter Rabbit 2, Kong Vs. Godzilla, Nomadland and Cruella.

The project has been funded jointly by Mid Suffolk District Council and Stowmarket Town Council with the aim of supporting vibrant economy of Stowmarket for residents as well as attracting visitors from the wider Mid Suffolk area. The theatre is located close to the centre of town which boasts a selection of restaurants and bars and there are excellent car parking facilities nearby.

Regal Theatre Manager, David Marsh said: “I’ve spent over 15 years at the Regal, in which time we’ve seen admissions increase tenfold, film projection go from 35mm to digital and even a fire which required significant repairs to the building. There have been lots of memorable moments during that time, but nothing comes close to the eager anticipation that I have at the prospect of welcoming back our audience and letting them see for themselves the fantastic work that has taken place.”

The Design Team leading the project has brought together expertise from across the country. The project has been managed by Northmores of Cambridge and construction has been undertaken by local building company, Mixbrow.

A key objective of the project has been to create a modern entertainment venue whilst protecting and preserving the core of the original theatre which opened in 1936.

David Marsh adds: “The project has given us the opportunity to restore and renovate many parts of the original building so that they are just as they were when the theatre opened. I am particularly pleased with the refurbishment of the original ceiling lighting in the main auditorium and the re-purposing of the original box office which now perform a new role as a serving counter in the café area.”

His views are shared by Town Mayor, Keith Scarff who said: “I am very impressed with the quality of the work that has taken place at the Regal. The redevelopment successfully blends the old and the new creating an excellent entertainment venue which I am sure will be welcomed by customers.” He continued: “My wife Sarah and I have been visiting the Regal for over 30 years and we love its atmosphere!”

Cllr Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council cabinet member for economic growth said: “Stowmarket is the main town in Mid Suffolk and our vision is create a vibrant town for residents and visitors and to support the economic growth of the town. The Regal is a key landmark for Stowmarket and attracts visitors from right across the district who will be able to enjoy the new look theatre as well as all the other fantastic attractions and restaurants the town has to offer. In the full year before construction started, there were close to 70,000 admissions and with the increased number of auditoria and improved facilities, we look forward to welcoming even more visitors in the months and years to come.”

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