Video/gallery: Behind the scenes of the Ipswich Regent theatre’s refurbishment

The Regent Theatre, St Helen's Street, Ipswich, has undergone some major changes

The Regent Theatre, St Helen's Street, Ipswich, has undergone some major changes - Credit: Archant

When people walk through the doors of the Ipswich Regent tonight to see Riverdance, they are in for a surprise.

Ipswich Borough Council has been working with KLH, Barnes Construction, Cook and Sons, MLM, Hyams, Bower Fuller and Optimum Controls since July to improve audiences’ visits to the St Helen’s Street venue.

The main focus of the project involved installing two new air handling units and panel to significantly improve the control of heating and cooling throughout the theatre and backstage areas.

Some of the budget was used to restore the original foyer, inner foyer and vestibule ceilings - the latter being covered up in the 1970s - to their 1929 glory using paint analysis and a photograph from the period. More modern changes include the addition of a new bar till system designed to speed up service.

Costing £566,000 in total, the mechanical and electrical work involving the air handling units, ducting, lighting and building management systems came to £416,000 with restoration work on the ceilings and painting coming to £150,000.

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“As the main client, Ipswich Borough Council would like to thank its contraction and design teams for this excellent project which was completed to time and within budget and will make coming here a more enjoyable experience for customers and performers alike. The theatre is now very much fit for purpose and future-proofed for the years ahead,” said Stuart Oxborrow, IBC’s project manager.

Councillor Bryony Rudkin, IBC’s portfolio holder for culture, added the research undertaken to make sure things were restored exactly as they were where possible is wonderful.

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“It really has brought a sense of light back into the building. It’s important people have a great customer experience when they come to see a show, that they sit somewhere nice, welcoming and can really appreciate what wonderful architecture they’ve come to.”

See the transformation yourself, watch the video here. What do you think of the changes? Email

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