Curtain goes up on Stow theatre

A MARKET town's historic theatre has reopened its doors after a £125,000 refurbishment to bring it up to date for the 21st century. The newly renovated Regal in Stowmarket was officially unveiled yesterday following five weeks of decoration and improvements.

A MARKET town's historic theatre has reopened its doors after a £125,000 refurbishment to bring it up to date for the 21st century.

The newly renovated Regal in Stowmarket was officially unveiled yesterday following five weeks of decoration and improvements.

New seating has also been installed along with a better heating system, improved facilities for disabled people and a screen talk system for those who want to watch with subtitles.

The £125,000 project was achieved following a £25,000 grant from the UK film council, £20,000 from Mid-Suffolk District Council, £10,000 from Suffolk Environment Trust, with the rest of the money provided by the town council.


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Tom Offord, manager of the Regal, said he was extremely pleased with the new look and that it represented an exciting stage in the theatre's evolution.

“Two years ago we came close to closure but the residents of Stowmarket and the town council got behind us and this is the culmination of a lot of hard work,” he said. “We have had a couple of years of looking for funding and doing improvements when we could to finally getting enough money together for a major refurbishment like this.

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“It's an exciting time for both the Regal Theatre and the residents of Stowmarket. It was quite dark before and a little bit depressing and certainly the seats were looking rather tired so we thought it was time for a change.

“The auditorium has been completely redecorated and we've picked out the art deco features. We've also put in a new carpet and new seating, which although modern is in keeping with the character and age of the building.

“The heating system, which was barely adequate before, has also been renewed so we will be able to put plenty of heat into the auditorium during the winter and there is more space for wheelchair users and a new screen talk system so we can have audio description and subtitles.”

Mr Offord said the theatre would be showing Pirates of the Caribbean III - At World's End to mark the reopening.

He said: “It will be running this weekend, throughout the half term and beyond. We've already had a few screenings and initial signs are that numbers are up. It's a much brighter cinema and offers a lot more comfort with more leg room.”

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