East Anglian theatres look for early summer re-opening

The New Wolsey sporting its new signage as part of the redevelopment of its cafe/bar and foyer.

The New Wolsey sporting its new signage as part of the redevelopment of its cafe/bar and foyer. The theatre is starting a recruitment campaign prior ro re-opening. - Credit: New Wolsey Theatre

With theatres able to re-open with limited capacity audiences from mid-May East Anglia’s playhouses are looking to dust the seats, fire-up the follow-spots and welcome back audiences hungry for some live entertainment.

The New Wolsey Theatre, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds and the Colchester Mercury have all got preparations underway but remain cautious as to when they will be able to welcome full-houses again.

Sue Lawther-Brown, of the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, said that a date when they would welcome audiences back inside the auditorium was still to be decided but they hoped to stage some outdoor performances, in the new Theatre Square between the main building and the new NW2 building, in the early summer.

Some of these performances maybe staged at lunchtime and she hoped that many could be free, although the exact details have yet to be worked out. “We are hopeful that these will be in June/July time but it all needs to be really nailed down.

“Once we can throw those doors open to NW2, you’ll see a big difference in the range of what we can offer.”


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She added that work is continuing on a possible summer programme and plans are already underway for an autumn season which may include a home-grown musical.

The Theatre Royal. Bury St Edmunds is opening on May 20 with a new production of Around The World in 80 Days

The Theatre Royal. Bury St Edmunds is opening on May 20 with a new production of Around The World in 80 Days - Credit: Theatre Royal

Julie Cole, from Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, said that the theatre is looking to re-open its doors on May 20 with their own production of Around the World in 80 Days, helmed by new artistic director Owen Calvert-Lyons. The first eight weeks of the season is likely to have restricted audience numbers so socially distanced seating plans can be implemented.

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It is hoped that they will be able to welcome back capacity audiences in late June. More details including booking information will be released in the coming weeks.

Because of ongoing redevelopment work, Colchester’s Mercury Theatre has been closed longer for 18 months, six months longer than most other East Anglian theatres

After an ambitious £10m transformation programme, executive producer Tracey Childs and executive director, Steve Mannix, are anxious for the theatre to re-open its doors and for audiences to get a look at what the ‘Mercury Rising’ campaign has achieved.

“The timeline laid out by the government means that we can now begin confirming our exciting plans and arrangements to unveil our stunning new building. We look forward to welcoming the community to the Mercury from late spring, to relax in and enjoy our new café and bar and be some of the first to experience our new range of activities for the community.

In the meantime, we are firming up our programme from the summer, but audiences can look forward to a spectacular return to our stages.”

We have also approached Eastern Angles and DanceEast for comment.

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