Bury St Edmunds: Theatre prepares for a blossoming spring with a fantastic new season programme

A scene from the Dinosaur Zoo

A scene from the Dinosaur Zoo - Credit: Archant

One of the most crucial seasons for a West Suffolk theatre has been unveiled in the wake of it announcing £140,000 of cutbacks.

Four roles are set to be axed at the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, as part of a cost saving package headed up by its new director Karen Simpson. But she said the new spring season offered a “fantastic range” of performances.

“This is the start of a new era. It has been very exciting creating this programme - I want audiences to be enthralled by what they experience and eager to return again and again,” she said.

There is a colourful selection of drama, dance, music, comedy and family shows celebrating both classic and new work.

The highlights include a host of productions to tempt audiences to the historic Georgian playhouse, in Westgate Street, with drama at the core of the programme.

It ranges from the spicy comedy Egusi Soup through to the Shakespeare classic Twelfth Night.

The theatre will also welcome the premiere of This May Hurt A Bit prior to its stint on the West End, and there’s mayhem and merriment in the classic comedy She Stoops To Conquer, and a tale of love and loss to mark the centenary of the First World War - Birdsong.

Most Read

There are goodies for the family with February half-term and the Easter holidays laden with Hansel and Gretel Off The Sofa on rural tour, animals aplenty in Old MacDonald Had A Farm, silliness from Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play and the opportunity to meet (and even touch) all sorts of amazing prehistoric predators at the Dinosaur Zoo.

Popular old favourites are welcomed back with the fun-filled Showstoppers Improvised Musical, a trip down memory lane with Sounds of the Glenn Miller Era, Eric and Little Ern, Formby, plus the ever caustic Rigsby will be causing trouble in Rising Damp.

Music, dance and cabaret, is featureed in the shape of Tangomotion with dancers from Argentina, meanwhile Julie Madly Deeply brings a taste of cabaret and Jaleo Flamenco offer an evening of virtuoso Spanish guitar and fancy footwork.

Musical theatre’s leading lady and Suffolk star Ruthie Henshall sprinkles some glamour on stage and there’s a touch of class with Dinner and Divas, as a four course dinner on stage is accompanied by professionally sung arias.

The theatre’s director said: “We want to build on families coming to us and it is fantastic that we will be having the world premiere of This May Hurt A Bit before it heads off to London and then nationwide. It’s a real coup for us.”

She said the theatre was also keen to build on its relationship with the local community groups using the building as well as its 700 “friends” which she described as an “astonishing number” of people.

“A lot of bigger theatres would love to have that many. But if they fill us out from day one I would be delighted. I need full houses. It is essential for us,” she added.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter