Town cinema may be axed

A CINEMA based in a Suffolk theatre may be axed because it is running at a loss, it has emerged.The Regal Theatre, in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket, provides film and live entertainment throughout the year.

A CINEMA based in a Suffolk theatre may be axed because it is running at a loss, it has emerged.

The Regal Theatre, in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket, provides film and live entertainment throughout the year.

It is run by the town council and now councillors want to ask residents in Stowmarket about it's future in a questionnaire, as they consider possibly scrapping the cinema element all together.

Live shows are currently making the town council considerable sums of money, but films are losing them revenue and a consultant is this week advising the town council on ways of improving the venue, which opened in 1936.


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Councillors are considering three options: The status quo, keeping the same mix of films and live performances; scrapping the cinema completely; focusing on live shows, with some films when there are no live shows being held.

Town mayor Gordon Paton said: "The Regal is a very important facility for the town and I would like to see it flourish in the future.

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"We do face competition from other entertainment venues and we want to improve the Regal and attract more people.

"I would like to see it used more for live shows, possibly for conferences and exhibitions, possibly with a good quality restaurant and café there. In immediate term we want to improve the seating, sound, heating and ventilation.''

Town councillor Keith Myers-Hewitt said: "The films are making us a loss, although we are not doing so badly with the live events.

"I do not want to see it closed, but there is the possibility of bringing in different management, setting up a lease and getting someone else to run it.

"Nothing is concrete yet and we want to consult the public. But the Regal cannot continue as it is, it takes a lot of money out of our budget.''

The questionnaire seeks people's views about the theatre and cinema and asks if they do not currently use it, what their reasons are.

The current year expenditure is set to exceed income by £47,200 and questionnaires will be going out to people in the town this week, with the deadline for consultation being towards the end of the month.

Once the results of the consultation exercise are known the town council will discuss the issue during a meeting next month.

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