Sudbury Quay launches £40k appeal to secure future

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury.

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury, which has reopened, following lockdown, in its 40th anniversary year and has launched a lifeline appeal - Credit: Phil Morley

A popular Suffolk theatre celebrating its 40th anniversary has launched a £40,000 lifeline appeal to help it survive the impact of the pandemic.

The Sudbury Quay has re-opened its doors following the Covid shutdown and is delighted to be back - and has created an outdoor stage, sheltered by a large marquee, in order to keep the entertainment running.

Quay Theatre manager Sharon Buckler says that 2021 is the venue’s 40th anniversary and there should have been plenty of community celebrations but for the time being they are just pleased that the theatre is still operating.

However, the theatre will need help to negotiate the next few months when it will have to cope with reduced income because of the continued restrictions on audience numbers. So, the Quay Theatre is launching a birthday appeal which will help keep the theatre running until things can return to normal.

Sharon said: “Having been through tough times in the past, The Quay has managed to increase and improve its presence, output and services over the past decade to become a thriving cultural venue with the future looking very positive, with a programme of more than 250 shows per year.

“After 15 months of closure and with the aid of successful funding bids along with the furlough scheme, The Quay has been able to retain its small staff in the interim, and even offer fresh entertainment online with filmed content and contributions from local performers. There has also been much work undertaken within the premises to enhance the visitor experience and ensure that all spaces are Covid-safe. 

“An outdoor stage space has been put together with a reduced summer programme to slowly ease the venue and audiences back into enjoying live theatre, whilst tentatively re-introducing indoor performances from July.

Sharon Buckler, theatre manager at Sudbury Quay

Sharon Buckler, theatre manager at Sudbury Quay, who has created an outdoor stage to help keep the theatre working through the summer. She says a community appeal is needed to meet their costs until audiences can fully return - Credit: Sharon Buckler

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“The theatre is not only an entertainment venue, it also runs affordable youth courses, courses for adults with learning difficulties, opportunities for over 30 volunteers and affordable hire spaces for over 20 local organisations. It really is an essential community hub for many people in Sudbury and also acts as a destination point for visitors, helping to boost the local economy. 

“A realistic figure of £40,000 needs to be raised which would help to continue the programming, staffing and maintenance essential to the short-term and long-term future of this vital cultural venue in the heart of its community.  

A tranquil backwater of the River Stour alongside the Quay Theatre in Sudbury, with a horse-chestnut

A tranquil stretch of the River Stour alongside the Quay Theatre in Sudbury, which has just reopened and has launched an appeal to see them over the next couple of months - Credit: Archant Archive

“With a smaller capacity and inevitable reticence for many people to return immediately to live performance, but with overheads remaining unchanged, the comparison to a normal year of trading income is likely to run into thousands of pounds. As a registered charity The Quay has always relied on its trading income to keep afloat, along with small grants where they can be obtained.

“Now, the venue needs to do all that it can to bring audiences back safely and provide a space for the freelance performers who have had little to no help during the past months. 

‘With the help of our community, we can come back bigger and better than ever and Keep Live Local’. 

Among the shows for the summer season are: The Night the Titanic Sank (June 5), Three Men in a Boat (June 12),  music from Kadie Heaney with Dylan Irvine (June 19), comedy from Shazia Mirza and her latest show ‘Coconut’ and Chris Green and Sophie Matthews bring conjure up four centuries worth of Witty Ditties (July 3)

The first indoor event will be a double-bill to mark the centenary of the Sudbury Dramatic Society who will be staging two one act plays: Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down and The Last Bread Pudding (July 7-9).

You can book tickets for the shows and find out to you can support the Quay Appeal by visiting the theatre website or calling 01787 374745 or emailing