Bury's audiences get back into the theatre-going habit

The balloon flight in Around The World in 80 Days at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds the first theatre to reopen in Suffolk

The balloon flight in Around The World in 80 Days at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds the first theatre to reopen in Suffolk - Credit: Tom Soper

Bury St Edmunds’ Theatre Royal is buzzing again now that audiences are back in the building enjoying the mad-cap adventure comedy being acted on stage in their opening production of Around The World in 80 Days.

People filling the auditorium at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds now that it has re-opened to t

People filling the auditorium as the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds becomes the first theatre in Suffolk to reopen to the public - Credit: Danielle Booden

This new production directed by artistic director Owen Calvert-Lyons was chosen because it captured the spirit of his vision for the venue. The story was a Victorian classic which reflected the heritage of the building but was told in a very modern, energetic way which said a lot about contemporary theatre.

Reflecting on the weekend, Owen said: “The whole team were giddy with excitement to have an audience back in the theatre watching a live performance on stage. It was a very emotional, brilliant moment for everyone: staff, artists and audience. This is what theatre is all about - the electrical charge of sharing an experience with another human.  

“This is something we have got out of the habit of doing so I would urge theatre lovers to get off the sofa and come back and experience live theatre – there really is nothing quite like it”

People at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds on the first day open. Picture. Dainelle Booden

People at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds on the first day open. - Credit: Dainelle Booden

He said that reduced capacity makes the auditorium very safe and the one-way system stops bottle-necks and overcrowding in the corridors.


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Lessons continue to be learned and the operation is tweaked as everyone gets the feel of being in a theatre again. He said that both theatre staff and audiences have to adjust to a new way of doing things.

People at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds on the first day open. Picture. Dainelle Booden

People at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds on the first day open - Credit: Dainelle Booden

“And in terms of learning – we and the audience are on a journey of getting back to ‘normal’ but in a slightly new way.  Our front-of-house staff and wonderful volunteers haven’t done this for a long time. They came back with enthusiasm and energy and embraced the one-way systems, the at-seat bar orders via a new app and the gentle reminders to pop a mask on.  

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“We’ve learned that any reticence to return to theatre is more about audiences being ‘out of practice’ about booking tickets and attending live performance.  New habits of staying at home have been formed and we need to remind audiences about how wonderful it is to see live performers in front of them and to share the experience with other people.”

The fast-paced Around The World in 80 Days is the first production at the newly reopened Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

The fast-paced Around The World in 80 Days is the first production at the newly reopened Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Tom Soper

Coming next at the Theatre Royal will be a performance by international Coloratura Soprano, Christina Johnston on May 30 and the Irving Stage Company will be presenting Stephen

Sondheim’s caustic look at relationships in the critically acclaimed musical Company between June 15-19.

Around The World in 80 Days runs until June 5.

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