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Some of the most famous names to have graced the stage at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, are to be commemorated in a new trail around the town promoted by Our Bury St Edmunds which runs the Business Improvement District (BID).
The Theatre Royal Star Trail, which has already raised close to £10,000 for the theatre, will see stars placed on the pavement in prominent positions in the town centre – not unlike the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On World Theatre Day (March 27) those behind the project gathered to officially launch the Trail – which will be put in place on the streets in May – and thank the sponsors who have so generously come forward to support the project. Sponsorship of the trail will go towards the £170,000 the theatre needs to raise each year to support its operating costs.
Theatre Royal Director Karen Simpson said: “World Theatre Day, which has ‘sharing the joy of theatre with others’ among its aims, is the perfect day to launch this trail and it’s wonderful to have had so much interest in it, even though we are two months ahead of the stars being put into their locations. I don’t believe there is anything else like this in the UK at the moment although I understand the music industry is planning a Walk of Fame in London this year.”
The idea for the trail came from Andrew Speed who is Chairman of Bury St Edmunds Town Council and represents Abbeygate Ward on the Borough Council as well as being a board member of Our Bury St Edmunds. He added: “Hollywood has its Walk of Fame which is a fantastic tourist attraction and Bury St Edmunds has already hosted two wonderful and unique Trails around the town with the Wolves and last year the World War One-themed trail. So with Theatre Royal celebrating its 200th anniversary this year it seemed an ideal opportunity to combine some of the best elements of those other popular and successful trails. I am so pleased to see how enthusiastically the idea has been supported.”
As with previous Our Bury St Edmunds Trails, those who ‘find’ all the stars will be able to enter a draw for one of 10 prizes. The stars will be in place around the town between May 25 and October 27. Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds Mark Cordell said: “Our Bury St Edmunds is gaining a reputation for its unique and quirky trails, having worked with local artists for the previous highly successful events to support local charities. I’m sure this one will prove equally popular as residents and visitors to the town centre alike try to find everyone from local celebrities such as Rick Wakeman and Ian Lavender, to Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley.”
Joining Andrew and Mark at Theatre Royal to help launch the Trail were Julia Read, Head of Development at the theatre as well as Vince Canning from Coastline Graphics in Bury St Edmunds which is a sponsor of the Trail and is also making the stars to be used. Sponsorship opportunities for three remaining stars are still available and potential sponsors should contact Julia Read at the theatre on 01284 829 942.
The stars featured in the trail and their sponsors are:
- Gyles Brandreth – Jacobs Allen Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers
- Lesley Garrett – Our Bury St Edmunds
- Karen Simpson – Greene King
- Alex Jennings – Vivien Gainsborough Foot
- Sir Derek Jacobi – Abbeygate Cinema
- Roy Hudd – Greene & Greene
- Sir Michael Parkinson – St Edmundsbury Financial Services
- Rick Wakeman – Larkbridge
- Sir Timothy West – Century Logistics
- Lucy Parham – Gross & Co.
- Nigel Havers – Troy Group
- Sir Ian McKellen – Coastline Graphics
- Ardal O’Hanlon – Brancaster House
- Julian Clary – Abbeycroft Leisure
- Dame Judi Dench – Oakes Barn
- Ian Lavender – Sheridans
- Maureen Lipman – Becketts Investment Management Group
- Joanna Lumley – arc Shopping Centre
- Christopher Biggins – Old Cannon Brewery
- Dame Harriet Walter – The Angel Hotel
- Robert Glenister – JM Finn
- Patricia Hodge – Churchgates.
Stars available to sponsor: Chris Clarkson, Britt Lenting and Oliver Mawdsley – all three of whom appeared in Theatre Royal’s most recent pantomime, Sleeping Beauty.