Every seat taken for long-awaited reopening of Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion

The Stars from The Commitments will be the first act at the reopened Spa Pavilion.

The Stars from The Commitments will be the first act at the reopened Spa Pavilion. - Credit: Archant

A seaside theatre which has been closed for almost three years reopens tomorrow with a sell-out audience set to enjoy a gala night.

Mayor of Felixstowe Doreen Savage will have the honour of officially reopening the resort’s Spa Pavilion at a champagne reception before curtain up.

NRG Theatres, which bought the 913-seater seafront venue from Suffolk Coastal council, has been delighted with the response to its relaunch and says the shows announced so far are selling well.

Tomorrow’s first night audience will enjoy The Stars from The Commitments – the group bringing a high-energy soul night which will be a sneak preview of its 25th anniversary tour next year.

Then on Sunday, singer-songwriter Richard Digance will be appearing with a night of humour and music.

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The Spa is a theatre dear to the performer’s heart and he once wrote a poem while sitting in his dressing room about a beach hut called Penelope – still there today – that he could see from the window

He said: “It’s so important to keep these smaller, independent theatres open.

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“You can’t beat live performance. I’m so pleased the Spa Pavilion, which is one of my favourites, has been saved from redevelopment.”

He said his show would take his audience down memory lane with some new sketches, too.

He said: “I can’t get away without doing some of my comedy gold moments, the audience won’t let me! However, I’ve got a few new surprise sketches up my sleeve, too.”

Since taking over the Spa, NRG Theatres has been carrying out some refurbishment work, removing the boards from the lounge bar and restaurant windows, carrying out repairs and improvements, especially tracing and fixing leaks, and preparing the interior for the grand opening.

The opening of the box office was delayed slightly by the discovery of an old light tunnel in the foyer – while following a leak, it lead to the glass bricks in a pod on the roof, which had been completely obscured with roofing mastic. When the ceiling in the foyer was removed, a natural light tunnel was found, which has now been restored.

Suffolk Coastal sold the theatre after deciding that it could no longer afford the annual £250,000 subsidy paid to the operators.

After looking at several options for the site, the council decided its immediate priority was to retain it as an entertainment venue if at all possible.

For more information on shows people can contact the Spa Pavilion box office on 01394 284962, Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm.

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