The show will go on! Sudbury Stagecoach saved after venue lost

Sudbury Stagecoach has a new venue, at Thomas Gainsborough School

Stagecoach Sudbury has a new venue, at Thomas Gainsborough School, following the closure of Sudbury sports centre to the community. - Credit: Stagecoach Sudbury

A performing arts school has secured a new venue following the "devastating" news that Sudbury sports centre was to close.

The sports centre at Ormiston Sudbury Academy was set to close to the community from Tuesday, August 31, after a contract with Abbeycroft Leisure was not renewed.

Stagecoach Sudbury had been based at the site for 17 years, and Principal Katie Cole said the announcement brought more uncertainty at a time when they were hoping "to get back to some sort of normality" after Covid restrictions.

Sudbury Sports Centre will be closed to the public from the end of this month

Sudbury Sports Centre was due to close to the public from the end of last month. - Credit: Abbeycroft Leisure

Having worked with Thomas Gainsborough School (TGS) in the past for workshops and annual shows, Katie got in touch with premises manager Liz Clements.

She, along with the headteacher, were determined to help to save "such a vital part of the Sudbury community".

Stagecoach Sudbury, which has 70 students on its books, will now be based at TGS, starting back on Saturday, September 18.

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Katie said: "I’m exceptionally proud of each and every one of the students. They have exceeded all expectations throughout lockdown; working with us on Zoom, and holding their own in socially-distanced classes back in venue. I couldn’t let the Stagecoach family down.’

Stagecoach Sudbury had been based at Sudbury sports centre for 17 years.

Stagecoach Sudbury had been based at Sudbury sports centre for 17 years. - Credit: Stagecoach Sudbury

Members of the public had voiced their frustration over the decision to close Sudbury sports centre to the community, and a petition to save the facility was launched.

Caroline Wilson, headteacher at Ormiston Sudbury Academy, had said as the contract had come to a natural end with Abbeycroft, and while the school was still recovering from the pandemic, it was a suitable time to "consider options for the future".

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Katie said she was "devastated" to hear of the closure.

"Just at a time when youngsters need the performing arts more than ever, for their mental wellbeing and physical health, we were facing being homeless after 17 years!"

Students from ages four through to 18 were looking forward to a term full of vibrant rehearsals, ahead of their Variety Show; a re-working of a performance that never got shown last March 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Liz, from TGS, said: "We are very happy and excited to be welcoming Stagecoach to TGS. We have worked with them in the past and we are very happy that they have decided to make us their new home."

For more information about Stagecoach Sudbury, visit their website or call 07904 311960. 

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