Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion set to reopen as a theatre after venue is sold

The Spa Pavilion at Felixstowe.

The Spa Pavilion at Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion theatre is set to reopen this summer after it was announced today that the venue has been sold to a company specifically formed to save the building.

Suffolk Coastal council refused to say how much NRG Theatres was paying for the publicly-owned venue, which has been closed for the past two years.

The council said today that negotiations have been completed and contracts were now in place with the takeover planned for May 15, delayed until then to enable nearby works to the historic seafront gardens to move away from the theatre and car park.

NRG has been formed specifically to save the Spa, and while it has already secured sufficient financial backing to refurbish the building, it also wishes to work closely with local theatre groups and other community ventures to put the theatre on a sustainable commercial footing.

The aim of the venture is to act as a catalyst in the regeneration of the theatre, partnering with all groups able to create productions which will fill the auditorium.

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It is planning a cosmetic refurbishment of the front-of-house, kitchen, bar and restaurant areas to enable a short summer season of touring events and the re-opening of full restaurant and bar facilities.

This will be followed by a full refurbishment of the auditorium and back of house areas, designed to enable the production of a wide-ranging programme of theatre and entertainment later in 2016.

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Ray Anderson, chief executive of NRG Theatres said: “We have been working with the council for several months to find a solution which will enable our backers to invest the required funds to allow us to restore the Spa to its heyday.

“Although the theatre equipment is now very out-dated, we are confident that we can deliver the refurbishments, enhancements and contacts needed to attract the calibre of entertainment which will fill the theatre.

“We really look forward to working energetically with the local community to drive this project to completion.”

NRG Theatres is to hold an informal event at the Spa to introduce themselves, launch their plans and engage with the community and other interested parties on June 5 between 11am and 1pm.

The company intends to include both local and national theatre alongside music and comedy. It has pledged to work closely with the various interested local groups to ensure that, as far as possible, their needs can be accommodated by the business plan.

Although the precise terms of the arrangement remain confidential, Suffolk Coastal will not be required to invest any of the money needed to restore the theatre to full operation.

Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member with responsibility for planning, whose portfolio includes the theatre, said: “I am extremely pleased that NRG Theatres Ltd is taking on Spa Pavilion theatre and look forward to seeing a rejuvenation of the building under its new ownership.”

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