Top orchestra making new home in Suffolk
BRITAIN'S top orchestra is to become resident at a Suffolk seaside theatre, it was revealed last night.The Royal Philharmonic will be based part-time at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre - one of only two bases outside London - after two years of negotiations.
BRITAIN'S top orchestra is to become resident at a Suffolk seaside theatre, it was revealed last night.
The Royal Philharmonic will be based part-time at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre - one of only two bases outside London - after two years of negotiations.
The news, the biggest coup in the theatre's 100-year history, has been warmly welcomed by officials in the area, already famous musically as the birthplace of composer Benjamin Britten and more recently the home town of the award-winning rock band, The Darkness.
The 700-seater venue is small in comparison with the orchestra's other residencies - the 1,300-seater Royal and Derngate Theatres in Northampton and the 900-capacity Cadogan Hall in London's Sloane Terrace.
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Martin Halliday, Waveney District Council's venues manager, said: “I am over the moon. It's the biggest thing ever to happen to us and to Lowestoft. We've always been overshadowed by Snape.
“But over the last two years, we've been trying to revive the venue as it's been traditionally known as a seaside theatre for adult comedians and tribute bands but we started off introducing ballets and operas with full orchestras and local people have been supporting these and coming to see culture and more quality entertainment.
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“The residency is a real opportunity to build a brand royalty and an audience on a regular basis and for a venue of this size, we are in an extremely privileged position. I am sure some of the major cities in the UK would be pleased to have been offered this opportunity.”
The orchestra - which has over 100 members including international conductors and soloists - will perform five concerts next year from April, with its education team building links with local schools, orchestras and choral societies.
It is hoped the residency will continue after its initial three-year period but it will be dependent on the level of support received at the box office in its first year.
Ian Maclay, managing director of the orchestra, said: “I feel sure that our programmes will prove to be very popular. We hope to build a close relationship with the audience and that the partnership with develop year by year.”
Eastern Orchestral Board director, David Richardson, has also been involved.
“I am delighted. Music is one of the world's most powerful languages, communicating directly to the emotions. It is excellent that the Marina will be able to make orchestral music a regular feature of its programme and in future, spread the benefits more widely in the community.”
Mayor of Lowestoft and the district council's portfolio member for operations and facilities, councillor Stephen Ardley, added: “This is tremendous news and it is an honour for Lowestoft to host this exciting project and I am sure the people of Waveney will give it their full support.”
The orchestra last performed at the Marina in June, several years since its previous visit, but comments from the audience were extremely positive about the concert and the prospect of more in the future.
Chris Evans, the orchestra's press and marketing manager, said: “We have been to Lowestoft on several occasions and it's a lovely venue. But is doesn't matter if it's Lowestoft or London, there are classical music lovers everywhere.”
Details of the programmes and soloists for the series will be announced early next year.