Sudbury’s Quay Theatre to host high-profile guests this summer including Germaine Greer

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury - Credit: Archant

A community theatre in west Suffolk is preparing to take a “few risks” as it welcomes some high-profile – and controversial – characters onto its stage.

Sudbury’s Quay Theatre recently unveiled its summer programme, which this year features several big name acts alongside some top local performers.

The theatre, which is currently enjoying a period of financial stability after a rocky few years, is already renowned for offering a wide variety of acts ranging from comedy, music and film to amateur dramatics and history lectures.

However this season, according to Quay co-ordinator Sharon Buckler, they have chosen to invite some more “thought-provoking” performers.

Among those will be David Starkey, the UK’s leading constitutional historian, who is known for his forthright views.

As it is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, he will give his views on the 13th Century agreement which for the first time limited the power of the monarchy by stating the basic rights, privileges and liberties of leading citizens and clergy.

Ms Buckler said: “We regularly host history nights at the Quay and so that was something we wanted to follow up on. There is a great interest in history here in Sudbury and we have two history societies which is really good for a small town.

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“We know that not everyone will agree with David Starkey’s views but he will certainly stimulate debate.

“We also have Dan Cruickshank, who is a regular presenter on the BBC and a leading expert on architecture and buildings, giving a presentation on July 18.

“We are taking a few risks with our programme this season but hopefully it will pay off.”

Also on the programme is the outspoken Germaine Greer and former England cricketer Matthew Hoggard. Last year, the Quay paid host to well-known poet Wendy Cope and comedian Alexei Sayle.

Ms Buckler continued: “They both said they loved the Quay so much that they would love to return. That’s a real feather in our cap and it is great for the theatre’s reputation that big name acts are now choosing to come here.”

Quay fundraisers have been working to give the theatre’s interior a welcome makeover. So far around £19,800 of the £30,000 needed has been raised and a £10,000 grant is expected to cover the remaining cost.

Bryn Hurren, chairman of the theatre’s board of trustees, said the carpet and seats would be replaced in August. Meanwhile, the Quay has acquired a new £4,000 high-definition projector for its film showings.

Next season, this will enable them to trial streaming live performances from venues such as the National Theatre.