Support urged for arts complex

THEATREGOERS are being urged to support a new arts and entertainment complex that will replace a theatre near Woodbridge.The demolition of the Angel Theatre, Rendlesham, will take place this week as part of a major redevelopment of the domestic side of the former Bentwaters air base.

THEATREGOERS are being urged to support a new arts and entertainment complex that will replace a theatre near Woodbridge.

The demolition of the Angel Theatre, Rendlesham, will take place this week as part of a major redevelopment of the domestic side of the former Bentwaters air base.

The theatre, a building previously used as a cinema by the American air force, will be razed to the ground and replaced by a village green with houses and community facilities being built nearby.

There is a redundant large community centre that closed when the Americans left in 1993 and this is being turned into an arts centre which will include the Angel Theatre.

There will be a smaller seating capacity of 340 seats. These will be retractable to give greater flexibility for the staging of productions. There will be an arts gallery and conference facilities and an improved front of house.

It is expected the first show will be in April and later there will be an inaugural opening when the refurbishment has been completed.

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Greg Vincent, estate manager for Rendlesham Project Services Ltd, said: ''The seating is being paid for by a combination of funding from the site owners and a grant from the East of England Development Agency and some of the work is being done by the theatre group itself.

''The overall plan is for an arts and entertainment complex and the building will be a very, very good facility. What we have to do now is to get as many people in there as we can.''

Maggy Wilson, Suffolk Coastal District Council's cabinet member for culture and arts, said: ''I think it will be super. The Angel Theatre is so well established as a very valued cultural centre and it would have been awful to lose it. I think they will have better facilities including for front of house and we would like to congratulate the developers and the theatre for what they are doing.''

The theatre opened in September 1999 and there was an outcry a year ago when it was revealed it would be demolished. At the time an alternative venue had not been found.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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