Stunning mosaic created by pupils to mark theatre’s 200th year

Riley and Luke in frotn of the new mosaic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Riley and Luke in frotn of the new mosaic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Children from six primary schools have helped to create a new mosaic for a historic Suffolk theatre to celebrate its 200th anniversary this year.

Riley and Luke in frotn of the new mosaic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Riley and Luke in frotn of the new mosaic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The finished piece of artwork was mounted in the garden of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds today and features people and characters who have been at the historic playhouse over the past two centuries.

Primary schoolchildren from All Saints, Great Whelnetham, Risby, Hartest, Great Barton and Barrow were were given the opportunity to work with theatre staff to learn about a figure from the playhouse's past and take part in a drama workshop on the subject.

Artists Jacquie Campbell and Heidi McEvoy-Swift, of Rojo Arts, then spent a day in each school working with the children to make the figures that appear in the final mosaic.

Today, the schools involved returned to the theatre to see the mosaic in place, and to participate in another series of workshops in and around the theatre.

Riley and Luke in frotn of the new mosaic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Riley and Luke in frotn of the new mosaic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant


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Who are the figures featured?

From left to right, the figures are:

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- Crocker's Horse. Professor EK Crocker was a showman who brought his 30 'educated horses' to the theatre between 1894-1900.

- A Fan Lady, representing many of the ladies who would have attended the theatre from when it opened in 1819.

Riley and Luke in frotn of the new mosaic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Riley and Luke in frotn of the new mosaic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

- William Wilkins, the architect of the theatre who partly based his design on the ancient amphitheatre in Sicily.

- Nanny Fanny, the pantomime dame from Sleeping Beauty, representing all of the pantomimes staged at the theatre since the Victorian period.

- Florence Glossop Harris, a highly-regarded Shakespearean actress, said to have played every female role written by the bard, and owner of the theatre's lease 1910-1915.

- William Charles Macready, one of the most famous actors of his day who visited Theatre Royal in 1828, playing seven different lead roles in five days.

- Peter Pan, who represents not only the upcoming pantomime but also the author JM Barrie's visit to the theatre in 1893.

- Monsieur Gouffe, the performer whose act involved dressing as a monkey and performing acrobatic feats around the auditorium, most notably swinging from the gallery to the stage on a zip wire, using just three fingers and carrying a child on his back.

Brought to life

Several of the characters in the mosaic are also currently being brought to life by volunteer actors in the Close Encounters Live Interactive Tours of Theatre Royal, which are still running on selected dates until early September.

The tours give guests a chance to meet and interact with them in an immersive history experience.

How can I see the mosaic?

The mosaic is now on display permanently in the theatre's garden which opens during performances as a place for audiences to make use of before the show and during the interval with their drinks.

To find out about and book tickets for all of the upcoming performances at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, contact the box office on 01284 769505, online at www.theatreroyal.org/upcoming or visit the theatre in person.

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