Southwold summer theatre celebrations

TWO decades of summer theatre in Southwold were celebrated yesterday with the launch of a new booklet.Twenty Years of Live Theatre in Southwold tells the story of how Jill Freud and Company established what is now considered a Suffolk tradition.

TWO decades of summer theatre in Southwold were celebrated yesterday with the launch of a new booklet.

Twenty Years of Live Theatre in Southwold tells the story of how Jill Freud and Company established what is now considered a Suffolk tradition.

Lady Freud said: "Looking back to the early days it is a miracle that we managed to survive and are still here today.

"There are a great many people to thank for all their help and expertise over the years."


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A launch party to promote the booklet was held in the Garden Room at Sutherland House Restaurant in Southwold with guests including actors, celebrities and civic leaders from Southwold Town Council and Waveney District Council.

Lady Freud recalled how the EADT reviewed the first performance of the company in Southwold.

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"Not only was the show well received but also Clement Freud's very first first-night speech in which he said: 'I have lost a wife this summer but Southwold has gained a theatre. It is a sacrifice which I make with the greatest pride'.

"After 20 years, I hope he feels the same," she said.

The enthusiasm among the cast, backstage workers and everyone in the company is still as strong as ever.

"I am really looking forward to what will be a very special season," said Lady Freud.

The season begins in Southwold on Thursday, July 10, with Stepping Out by Richard Harris, and Lady Freud is looking forward to getting her dancing shoes out.

"I first learned to tap in 1990 when we put on Stepping Out and I have kept it up ever since.

"I will be the oldest dancer on stage by some way but I am looking forward to the shows," she said.

Tributes to Jill Freud and Company at Southwold have been paid by many well known actors and actresses from stage, television and film.

Anton Rogers, who is also a patron of the company, said: "I am absolutely delighted to be involved with the wonderful company at Southwold.

"It has been my pleasure to have appeared there twice and I am always thrilled to return."

Other tributes came from former Eastenders star Ross Kemp, actresses Maureen Lipman and Prunella Scales, actors Timothy West, Dennis Quigley and Simon Williams, along with poet Pam Ayres.

Novelist P D James, a great lover of Southwold, said: "For thousands, a visit to the summer theatre has become an eagerly awaited part of the summer holiday and visitors are well advised to book early."

For the past nine years shows have also been performed along the Suffolk coast at Aldeburgh and again this year there will be a season at the town's Jubilee Hall starting on Friday, July 25.

The booklet is on sale at the Tourist Information Centres in Southwold and Aldeburgh, and in various shops, hotels and restaurants in the area.

It costs £2 and all the proceeds will be used to provide new seating at Southwold's St Edmund's Hall.

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