New outdoor theatre hopes to bring post lockdown performances to the woods
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Drama and music will soon be coming to a Suffolk wood as work continues to build a bespoke amphitheatre amongst the trees.
The Thorington Theatre in the Woods is currently in construction in woodland near Southwold.
The amphitheatre will sit in what is thought to be a Second World War Two bomb crater on land owned by Mark and Lindy O’Hare.
The finished venue will seat around 350 people.
“It’s an amazing venue,” said the theatre’s creator Silas Rayner.
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“Really it’s open to anything.”
Mr Rayner hopes that the venue will be used for anything from theatre performances, to music gigs and even potentially TV programmes such as Springwatch or the Sky at Night which could benefit from the venue’s view of the open sky.
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All the timber for the amphitheatre has been sourced from the surrounding woodland.
The woods are coppice, meaning that the trees used to build the new venue will grow back, making the project incredibly sustainable and a lot more financially viable than it would have been if materials had been sourced from builders yards.
The initial plans for the theatre began three years ago with the first trees being felled in 2019.
“It’s the perfect wood for building,” said Mr Rayner.
“It's meant we are able to do it with a low carbon footprint but we had to let it dry out."
As well as leading the creation of the site, Mr Rayner also works in the music and events industry, making him the perfect person to bring the project to reality.
"With the coronavirus the number of events has gone down so I've had the time to focus on this," said Mr Rayner.
It’s hoped that it will be ready to welcome visitors later this year, subject to any virus restrictions.
A number of performances have already been scheduled.
“We have got a couple of shows planned for June,” said Mr Rayner.
“The joy of being outside is that some venues had been able to open for small performances.”
Mr Rayner hopes that after lockdown the venue could still welcome 150-200 guests.
“We are quietly confident we will be able to do something,” said Mr Rayner.
“I think we will be seeing some shows.”