Sudbury’s Quay Theatre launches spring programme - who will you see?

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury.

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury. - Credit: Archant

As the panto season came to a close on Sunday, Sudbury’s Quay Theatre is launching into its new spring programme with a broad range of fresh offerings including more comedy, local history talks and family film showings.

With grant funding down around 10% on last year, the community-run theatre’s management is looking to “pack the building” as often as possible to make it pay.

This means thinking beyond the usual auditorium performances and opening up the space for private hire. The popular theatre bar, for example, has started hosting special events such as acoustic music sessions, quizzes and monthly singles nights.

“The idea is to create a safe space for single people to go out and meet others, have a chat and a drink with no pressure,” said Sharon Buckler, the Quay Theatre’s coordinator.

Meanwhile the spring auditorium programme is as diverse as ever with plenty of drama, music, cinema, and live-streaming of performances such as Puccini’s Madama Butterfly from the Royal Opera House.

“We will be doing a lot more comedy this season with a much wider variety of acts,” Ms Buckler continued.

“We’ve had quite a lot of success with stand-up comedy in the past but if people don’t know the name, they don’t come.

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“So we’ve broadened it out a bit with comedy plays and music. We have Croft & Pearce from Radio 4’s Croft and Pearce Show who do characters and sketches.

“We’ve also got George Egg the Anarchist Cook coming on February 17 who prepares a three course meal on the equipment you’d find in a hotel room, like an iron, kettle or trouser press. It’s all aimed at pulling people into the theatre and giving them a good laugh.”

There will be half-term afternoon film showings of The Secret Life of Pets and Pete’s Dragon aimed at families.

Starting on January 22, a series of six ‘History Sundays’ will cover subjects as diverse as the story of Sudbury Workhouse from 1702 to 1929 to how a Suffolk farmer saved children from smallpox during the 18th century.

“We can’t afford to take the risks that we would like to with what acts we put on at the theatre so it’s all about balancing what we can show and how we can make it pay,” Ms Buckler said.

“Grants are going down about 10% per year and we are still really grateful to Babergh district and Sudbury town councils for their continued support, but with things like maintenance we need to do a bit more fundraising. The bar is doing really well so that helps to make up the difference.”

She said the Quay had become far more than a theatre where people “come to watch performances”.

“Because we have so many volunteers who come along to help out on a regular basis, it’s like a community in itself,” she added.

For more details about what’s on at the Quay, visit www.quaysudbury.com or pick up a brochure form Sudbury Library.

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