Award-winning actor Sir Derek Jacobi supports 200-mile walk for Suffolk playhouse


Sir Derek Jacobi. Picture: THEATRE ROYAL BURY ST EDMUNDS - Credit: Archant

Sir Derek Jacobi is throwing his support behind a sponsored walk aimed at raising money for an historic Suffolk playhouse.

Tony Kelly and Dawn Roberts, principal walkers on the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds 200 for 200 spon

Tony Kelly and Dawn Roberts, principal walkers on the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds 200 for 200 sponsored walk Picture: THEATRE ROYAL BURY ST EDMUNDS - Credit: Archant

The award-winning actor, who has played a variety of stage, screeen and TV roles - most recently as Alan Buttershaw, in Last Tango in Halifax - will be performing later this year at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and is backing the 200 for 200 sponsored walk.

The theatre is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year and is organising the walk from Friday, April 22 to Monday, April 22.

Sir Derek said: “Theatre Royal is very dear to my heart and I am full of admiration for the walkers taking part to raise funds and support its work.

“I shall look forward to the progress reports and offer all our walkers my warm wishes for their support of this beautiful theatre.”

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Sir Derek has also appeared in an array of films including Gladiator, Gosford Park, The King’s Speech and most recently Murder on the Orient Express.

The principal walkers Tony Kelly and Dawn Roberts will be joined by a team from sponsors Bury Physio and others along the way and they are aiming for lots of people to join in and raise funds.

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Dawn is a long distance walker and has led groups in Suffolk for several years and is part of a health promotion walking group.

She said: “Being outdoors is very therapeutic and sociable and great for mental health.

“Walking is my passion and the theatre is close to my heart. No one realizes how much money needs to be raised for Theatre Royal and that’s shocking to me. We hear all about lots of other charities, but walking for the arts is a different challenge.

“I’ve been coming to Theatre Royal for 25 years as I love live performance, it’s exciting. I’m a carer and bring many of my clients in to see shows here from 20 to up to 96 years old. There is a wide range of shows for all my clients and a warm atmosphere. It doesn’t matter if one of them laughs in the wrong places, no-one makes a fuss.”

Tony is a science teacher and a photographer. He designed the 200-mile trail through the Suffolk and Norfolk landscape which follows the historic route taken by a troupe of performers some 200 years ago who would tour theatres in the larger market towns to bring entertainment to people. Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is the only one of those original venues remaining.

“This 200-mile walk is a proper challenge because of the big distances over 10 days. It’s ambitious given one of the days is 37 miles and we’ll already have done 100 miles by then. Once that 37 mile walk is done then it’s plain sailing after that.”

200 for 200 will be thrown open for as many people as possible to participate on the last day with the option for either a 15-mile or an eight-mile walk, both of which will end up at theatre where there will be a celebratory party for all of the walkers.

The walk is being supported by the East Anglian Daily Times and the Mercury Series and details can be found in the theatre’s Season Brochure or on its website at

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