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Five figure grant for Suffolk theatre - here's what you can expect to see

PUBLISHED: 15:15 15 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:15 15 August 2019

Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal has received a £96,000 grant from Arts Council England. Picture KEITH MINDHAM

Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal has received a £96,000 grant from Arts Council England. Picture KEITH MINDHAM

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One of the county's most prominent theatres has been boosted by a £96,000 grant which will be used to develop stories from the heart of rural Suffolk.

Storytelling and workshops have been a part of Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal in the past. Picture: GREGG BROWNStorytelling and workshops have been a part of Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal in the past. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Arts Council England awarded Bury Theatre Royal the five figure sum for a three-year project called Beyond Walls, which aims to bring community voices into the theatre.

It proposes to take unheard stories from the county's communities and develop them for performance, as well as increase engagement with workshops in towns and villages.

A theatre spokesman said: "This will be a platform for communicating important universal stories buried deep in the life of rural Suffolk, to be delivered by high calibre artists as the experts in a creative process working alongside community participants, whose voices produce contemporary, relevant - potentially lifesaving and ground-breaking new work.

"Beyond Walls has at its heart, a core model of engagement, participation and creation.

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"The project will deepen the relationship between our community, theatre-makers and what is on our stage over the next three years, through artist-led commissions, the Beyond Walls Festival, inclusive and outreach workshops and longer-term engagement."

Among the strands of the scheme is Big Skies - a creative project with teenagers to tell stories and make videos to explore themes of identity, and Refuge - a new play being commissioned exploring the stories of women and the theme of refuge.

Elsewhere, a two-day showcase of community work will be curated for the Beyond Walls Festival, as well as workshops for adults and with charities.

The theatre spokesman added: "Beyond Walls will also enable Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds to extend its reach and target more difficult to reach groups, i.e. rural youth, people in refuge or homeless, and elderly people.

"The inclusive workshop programmes will develop our theatre as a creative hub for all generations. This is key to Beyond Walls.

"Our region is defined by its rurality and the cultural diversity that is a unique part of that, such as eastern Europeans working in farming, Portuguese workers in the health service, American families living in the region and working on the air-bases. It has also become apparent that there is a need to increase aspirations in young people."

Visit the website here to find out more.

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