Walk to celebrate 200 years of historic Suffolk theatre gathers pace

PUBLISHED: 15:58 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:51 06 March 2019

The Theatre Royal's 200th birthday celebrations launched in February Picture: AARON WEIGHT

The Theatre Royal's 200th birthday celebrations launched in February Picture: AARON WEIGHT


More than 50 people have already signed up for 200-mile sponsored walk to celebrate 200 years of Bury St Edmunds’ historic Theatre Royal.

The Theatre Royal's community engagement programme performance of Sunnyview in 2018 Picture: AARON WEIGHTThe Theatre Royal's community engagement programme performance of Sunnyview in 2018 Picture: AARON WEIGHT

Organisers are hoping to have more than 100 people taking part in the final day of the event on Easter Monday, with either a 15-mile walk from Knettishall or a eight-mile trek from Ixworth ending at the theatre.

Architect William Wilkins, who built the theatre in 1819, was also the proprietor of the Norwich circuit of players, and the 200 for 200 Walk follows the historic route of the players’ tour of six theatres in East Anglia.

MORE: Sophie Raworth to take part in Theatre Royal’s 200 for 200 charity walk

The event is aiming to raise £15,000, which will go to the theatres community engagement programme.

The theatre has been working with several charities over the past three years including Women’s Refuge, Bury Drop In Centre, The Befriending Hub, and the YMCA.

The community engagement work helps train people in creative and writing workshops, giving them opportunities, renewed self-esteem, a route back into the community and a voice to present their work on stage.

The pioneering project has reached hundreds of individuals since it began.

Walkers will also be raising funds to support the theatre’s ability to offer its range of opportunities for children and young people, helping inspire them to achieve their potential.

MORE: Bury’s Theatre Royal launches 200th anniversary celebrations

Organiser Julia Read said she is thrilled with the number of participants who have so far signed up for the walk, which takes place over ten days from Saturday, April 13, to Monday, April 22.

“We are absolutely delighted. We would love to have over 100 people taking part on the final day and are aiming to raise £15,000,” she said.

“Walkers will be helping to raise funds for individuals and youngsters coming through our community engagement programme which we simply wouldn’t be able to offer without having secured the requisite funding.”

MORE: Award-winning actor Sir Derek Jacobi supports 200-mile walk for Suffolk playhouse

Bury Physio, who are based at Maynewater Lane in the town, are supporting the walk and also entering a team into the event.

Anna Clayton, clinical lead physiotherapist at Bury Physio, said: “We are delighted to sponsor this particular fundraising initiative.

“The importance of health and wellbeing is at the heart of the treatment we provide at the clinic.

“Walking is a brilliant form of exercise that is accessible to people with all levels of ability and fitness.

“The benefits are abundant with improvements in heart and lung function, bone strength and joint mobility. It is also a great way to manage mental health when outdoors in nature where we have the opportunity to be mindful of the environment around us.”

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