Stowmarket Town Council is pleased to announce that it is funding major improvements to the Regal Theatre. The theatre has gone from strength to strength in recent years, under the management of David Marsh and through the hard work of the Regal team. Admissions have grown each year over the past decade, with 2016 and 2017 marking the top two highest years for admissions since the theatre opened in 1936.
Following the production of outline proposals by the Town Council, Mid Suffolk District Council has agreed to provide a grant of £1.56 million and to make a loan of £1 million to enable the project to go ahead. As well as funding the £1 million loan, the Town Council has allocated a further £500,000 towards the project. Councillor Barry Salmon said: “We are delighted that the District Council is supporting this project. The Regal Theatre is hugely popular and it is great news for the town that both the District and Town Councils are willing to invest in its continuing success.”
Work will begin immediately in scoping the project, developing procurement arrangements and planning the design and build phases of the project. It is anticipated that works on site will commence in early 2019 and the full build, comprising a new front of house and two additional auditoria, will take approximately 65 weeks to complete.
The site occupies a strategic position at the south-eastern gateway to the town centre. The new entertainment venue is expected to see an increase in admissions from its current 65,000 per year to over 100,000 per year following redevelopment. This is expected to generate increased footfall in the town centre supporting local businesses particularly, those places providing food and drink close to the theatre.
The Town Council believes that investment is required in a range of modern infrastructure and amenities in Stowmarket to accompany the significant residential development that has been taking place. The Regal Theatre is an amenity that is valued by local people and so it has been chosen for investment in response to community support for the project. Stowmarket Town Council is also involved in another major project with key local partners and it hoped that there will be an announcement made on this in the next few months.