Historic theatre seeks new image

A BRANDING exercise masterminded by an Essex firm is set to breathe new life into an historic Suffolk theatre.

A BRANDING exercise masterminded by an Essex Colchester firm is set to breathe new life into an historic Suffolk theatre.

The curtain is set to rise on a revamped Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, the UK's only surviving Regency playhouse, in September following £5.1million-worth of painstaking restoration and redevelopment work.

Silk Pearce of Colchester has now been appointed to oversee a complete brand overhaul of the site in readiness for its re-launch as a top performing arts venue.

The consultancy's branding and design work will include creating a new logo and visual identity for the theatre to be used on printed materials and the internet.

The theatre first opened in 1819, and underwent several rounds of modifications and closures over the next 200 years, including a 40 year stint as a barrel store for the brewers Greene King

The building was closed in September 2005 for restoration work to begin. The auditorium has been stripped back to expose architectural features that were previously covered up and facilities were added or upgraded.

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The aim was to return the theatre to its Regency era glory, and mirror the town's status as a “Georgian gem”, while turning it into a state-of-the-art venue capable of attracting and hosting national and international productions and audiences.

The backstage facilities, bar, foyer and public areas are being transformed, and the stage will be improved to allow it to be extended to allow it to stage authentic period productions or levered back to provide a traditional orchestra pit.

Matthew Sanders, marketing manager for the theatre, said they had looked at a number of experienced design and marketing consultancies for its planned re-brand and re-launch.

“Silk Pearce quickly became a clear winner on account of its approach and track record with international arts organisations,” he said.

“The consultancy is skilled at creating visually-striking, distinctive logos and corporate identities that not only clearly express an organisation's aspirations but also appeal to all its target markets. We are very much looking forward to getting our work under way within the next few weeks.”

Silk Pearce creative director Peter Silk said the Theatre Royal was an important part of the UK's theatrical heritage and when fully restored would offer a “truly unique audience experience”.

“Our creative work will draw on the theatre's rich history and architecture while also positioning it as a forward-thinking venue to house the most demanding new productions.”

The restoration has been supported by many well-known theatrical names, including Sir Peter Hall, who was born in the town.

Silk Pearce works with a number of cultural and arts clients, and recently announced major contracts with Aldeburgh Music, The Poetry Trust and Britten Sinfonia. It was also appointed to help re-launch Thetford's Ancient House museum, which re-opened in September 2006.