Theatre announcement expected today

THE future of a loss-making Suffolk theatre was last night back in the spotlight after worried residents warned they had been told it would move again.

By Richard Smith

THE future of a loss-making Suffolk theatre was last night back in the spotlight after worried residents warned they had been told it would move again.

An announcement about the Angel Theatre, Rendlesham, near Woodbridge, is expected today and it is understood that its dance studio could be moved onto the enterprise park at the former Bentwaters air base.

It is not clear whether stage performances will also be moving out of the current theatre building on the old domestic side of the air base.


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The theatre says it will make a statement today and Rendlesham Project Services Ltd, owners of the theatre building, has been unavailable for comment.

Schoolchildren performed at the theatre yesterday afternoon and Colin Macdonald, vicar of Rendlesham, claimed it was the “last ever” show at the theatre.

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Rev Macdonald said: “Alternative arrangements will be made in order to allow the classes to continue but it does mean the end of the theatre which for many years has put on all manner of professional touring productions.”

One anxious resident said: ''Many people signed a petition that was at the post office in Rendlesham to save the Angel Theatre.

''Many people in Rendlesham or outside Rendlesham are not agreeing with the idea to close it down.

“It is appalling as this is one of the major places in Rendlesham for something to do, either joining a club such as dance, line dancing, acting etc.

“There are many people now living in Rendlesham due to new houses being built and it is still expanding. We need the Angel Theatre as there will be nothing left in Rendlesham to do for anybody.”

A few weeks ago Suffolk Coastal District Council refused permission for the owners to demolish the theatre and use the site for 50 units of one and two-bed flats for elderly people.

Rendlesham Project Services Ltd wants to move the Angel Theatre into the sports centre and says that the introduction of sheltered housing would contribute to a balanced community in Rendlesham.

Audiences average 145 in an auditorium that can hold 350. It costs £44,000 to run the theatre annually but income was recently only £14,000 and planners were told that the income was expected to drop below £6,000 when dance groups moved away.

The theatre is in a huge building constructed in 1992 and was used as a community centre by the Americans before they left Bentwaters in 1993.

The building was brought back to life at a cost of £121,000 in 2002 when the Angel Theatre was transferred from a nearby site after its original home was demolished.

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