Were you involved in the re-opening of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds in 1965? 50th anniversary reunion planned

The former barrell store at the Theatre Royal

The former barrell store at the Theatre Royal - Credit: Contributed

Campaigners who fought to give a west Suffolk town its beloved theatre back half a century ago are to be reunited at an anniversary event.

Staff and volunteers at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds are calling for anyone with links to the re-opening of the venue in 1965 when the building was transformed from brewers Greene King’s barrel store to a working community theatre.

Anyone who helped with the fundraising or who has a story to tell about the theatre’s history around that time is asked to get in touch and take part in an afternoon of reminiscence on January 17. Perhaps you, or one of your family, were one of the campaigners or maybe you came to one of the first plays staged once the doors re-opened? Or perhaps you trod the boards yourself or remember your parents or grandparents doing so?

If so, the Theatre Royal is inviting anyone connected to the re-opening to pop along on the day from 2pm to 4pm and enjoy tea and cake, and a trip down memory lane to 1965.

The idea is also to record recollections of this vital piece of history for future generations.

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Heritage officer at the theatre, Isobel Keith, said: “This is a really exciting project to be involved with and a wonderful opportunity to connect with our local communities.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing people’s memories of the swinging 60s in Bury St Edmunds.”

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Director of the Theatre Royal, Karen Simpson, said the project would put the venue back at the heart of the local community by people engaging with its history and taking ownership of it.

She added: “We currently have no recordings of the people who experienced first-hand the reopening of the Theatre Royal.

“If it is not collected now, not only a vital piece of local history but a key part of British theatre history will be lost for future generations.”

Money from the Heritage Lottery Fund of £65,200 will be used for the anniversary project. Anyone who has links with the re-opening but can’t make the reunion can email isobel@theatreroyal.org with their details.

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