Theatre group faces closure after 50 years

The Orchard Players sing their hearts out in their summer show of 2019, 'An American in Suffolk'

The Orchard Players sing their hearts out in 'An American in Suffolk' - Credit: Cheryll Burton

A theatre group that has delighted crowds for five decades is warning it is at threat of closure.

Members of the Orchard Players in Capel St Mary say as a result of the pandemic, its venue hire costs will nearly double from 2022.

The hall hire will rise from £2,400 including storage per annum to £4,800, with the players paying out around £3,500 per show. 

The group has met to discuss the costs but is now seeking either sponsorship or a solution to cheaper rehearsal space and storage to ensure its future. 

Linda Garrod, secretary for the group, said: “We rely solely on ticket sales and fundraising, and also a small grant we get from the parish council. If we don’t get our costs covered for the show, and also with the increases in our venue hire next year, it is likely that we’ll have to fold.

“It’s a wonderful group that has been together for so many years. 

"Members can start at the age of nine and gain confidence and enjoyment from being around all age groups, and come out and show what they can do.  When you have this talent, it’s a massive part of your life and it becomes a real part of you.”

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The group will be staging 'Musical of Dreams' on January 13, 14 and 15.

This is an original production written by one of their members, Richard Seager, and contains songs from Matilda, Mary Poppins, Bugsy Malone and many more.

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