Cash boost for west Suffolk’s version of the Edinburgh Festival

The Theatre Royal in Bury.

The Theatre Royal in Bury. - Credit: Archant

An inspiring, creative and entertaining “mini Edinburgh Festival” for children will take place this summer, thanks to a £15,000 cash boost.

The Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds is spearheading plans for the first ever Children’s Arts Festival in Suffolk, which will take place in June and July.

Organisers have just been told that the project has been awarded special grant funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England to help stage the event.

Also being backed by Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, the festival will be aimed at children up to the age of 13 and will feature dance, drama and music performances, workshops and related activities.

The Lottery funding will come as a welcome boost to the theatre, which discovered last year that it was to lose 8% of its income after its annual Arts Council funding was axed.

In January, the theatre’s managers announced it was to share a senior management team with Bury’s other leading arts venue, the Apex, for a six-month trial period in a bid to minimise costs and improve efficiency.

During the festival, from June 22 to July 4, families and young students will be able to see some of the best professional work from across the UK at the Theatre Royal, the Apex, Conservatoire East, which is based at West Suffolk College, and in schools across the region.

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Director of the Theatre Royal, Karen Simpson, said: “This is such an exciting time for the arts organisations in Bury St Edmunds to work together to produce something really special for the children and families living within our region.

“I always imagined it to be like a mini Edinburgh Festival for families but based here in East Anglia.

“We have over 50 performances taking place and that means that so many people of all ages will get the opportunity to experience first-rate work that is inspiring, creative and entertaining.”

As well as families, organisers will work with around 30 primary and middle schools in the area. Ms Simpson said: “We have focused on the performing arts, so drama, dance, poetry and music all play an important part in the choices on offer.

“In addition to being able to buy single tickets for events we are also launching festival passes to make it easier for people to experience a wide range of different arts activities.”

Programme details are being finalised and will be published shortly.

For more details about the festival visit www.theatreroyal.org or www.theapex.co.uk

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