Quay Theatre ‘grateful’ for the generosity of town authority

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury.

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury. - Credit: Archant

A community theatre in west Suffolk which relies solely on grant funding and the support of volunteers is to receive a cash boost from the town council.

It has just been announced that Sudbury Town Council is to award The Quay Theatre its annual contribution of £9,600 plus a one-off grant of an extra £1,200 in recognition of the difficult circumstance the venue has encountered during the past year.

Much-loved volunteer Nicki Murphy, who was involved with the Quay for nearly 30 years and was credited with bringing it back from the brink of closure, died suddenly last September at the age of 65.

In 2013, under her guidance, the theatre saw its debt reduce from more than £250,000 to under £100,000, after embarking on a series of measures including job cuts, revised programming and “better housekeeping”.

It costs £75,000 a year to keep the Quay open and the only funding it receives is a £35,000 annual grant from Babergh District Council and the contribution from Sudbury Town Council. At a council meeting this week, Sue Ayres, who is a town councillor and a Quay Theatre trustee, said the extra money was “very valuable” to the Quay and “much appreciated”.

Trustees and staff at the theatre recently pledged to raise £50,000 to build on Mrs Murphy’s legacy and fulfil her plan to raise enough money to replace the 125 seats and the carpet in the auditorium, which could be achieved this August.

Michael Harding, member of the board of trustees and chairman of Sudbury Dramatic Society, said the extra cash would come in very useful. He added: “The Quay is delighted by the generosity of the town council. We were deeply saddened by the loss of our co-ordinator Nicki Murphy but feel that we are continuing to make strides.

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“In the past year, we have increased footfall and Nicki’s replacement Sharon Buckler is doing a terrific job, bringing in new ideas and energy to the position. We have a running fund to replace the seating and we are also looking to carry out more long-term improvements to the building.”

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