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Packed Autumn Season of Shows in Bury St Edmunds

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is looking ahead to more ‘normal’ times with the release of their Autumn 2021 programme of events sponsored by Churchgates.

We have all been through a really difficult year in different ways and we have got out of the habit of looking ahead and planning dates in our diary, but Theatre Royal have put together such a varied programme of events that you’ll be hard pushed not to find something you’d like to see. And of course, every ticket purchased is supporting the theatre’s road to recovery after being closed for 14 months. Choose from stand-up comedians, drama, music, dance and, of course, the long-awaited Pantomime.

Churchgates are pleased to offer their continued support to Theatre Royal “We are delighted to be the Autumn Sponsor of The Theatre Royal once again, and look forward to the fantastic programme of events lined up over the next few months. After the last year or so, it will be lovely to get back to see live shows and enjoy the rich cultural offering that the Theatre has to offer. Well done to everyone at the Theatre for their resilience, ingenuity and dedication to the Arts.”

The Autumn season kicks off with Theatre Royal’s own production of Louis Sachar’s Holes from 20 August to 4 September. Four professional actors will be joined on stage by a cast of young people who take part in Theatre Royal’s Summer School.

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a detention centre, Camp Green Lake, where the inmates build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. They are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Louis Sachar’s multi-million bestselling novel is adapted for the stage by the author himself in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

Theatre Royal has some popular comedians visiting this year for a run of one nighters which are sure to sell out fast.

On Wednesday 22 September, John Shuttleworth returns to regale audiences with an evening of his classic songs, pausing only to reapply his deep heat rub! Milton Jones on Sunday 26 September with Milton: Impossible where he reveals the truth about being an international spy, before being given a disappointing new identity which forced him to appear on Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo. But this is also a love story with the twist, or even a really bad sprain. Just gloriously daft nonsense or is there a deeper meaning?

Mark Thomas on Sunday 3 October uses his trademark style of storytelling, stand-up, subversion and really, really, well-researched material to try and find out how the hell we ended up here. A sort of funny national edition of Who Do You Think You Are?

Sunday 10 October and Ed Byrne presents his brand-new masterclass in observational comedy and takes a long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has any traits that are worth passing on to his children!

We round off our stand-up fun with Rob Newman’s Philosophy Show on Thursday 28 October. In this all-new show, multi award-winning comic Rob Newman weaves together Nietzsche’s sunglasses, James Bond in Toxteth, electric spiders and singing Neanderthals into a hilarious tour-de-force that offers new hopes for a changing world.

There’s no shortage of drama this season with at least one great drama every month.

Tuesday 16 to Saturday 18 September sees Eastern Angles and Matthew Linley Creative Projects in association with the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough’s thrilling retelling of Suffolk’s a real-life murder mystery… The Ballad of Maria Marten.

Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 October Blackeyed Theatre, in association with South Hill Park, presents The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A thrilling stage adaptation by Nick Lane of Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark psychological fantasy which immerses you in the myth and mystery of 19th century London’s fog-bound streets where love, betrayal and murder lurk at every chilling twist and turn.

Rescheduled from 2020, National Treasure Sue Pollard joins us on Tuesday 26 October for Harpy. Pollard is Birdie who is a hoarder. The neighbours see her hoard as a hazard for house prices. But it isn’t rubbish. It’s her life’s work and it exists because years ago something deeply cherished was stolen from her, and Birdie’s not been able to give up anything since. She’ll do anything to get this priceless thing back. Anything at all.

Tuesday 2 to Saturday 6 November Jodie Prenger stars as Emma, in the UK tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s classic musical, Tell Me On A Sunday charting the romantic misadventures of a young English girl in New York in the heady days of the 1980’s. Brimming with optimism, she seeks success and love. But as she weaves her way through the maze of the city and her own anxieties, frustrations and heartaches she begins to wonder whether she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.

Tuesday 9 to Saturday 13 November we welcome Irving Stage Company back with their Alan Ayckbourn festive treat, Seasons Greetings. It’s a traditional family Christmas – what can possibly go wrong? This critically-acclaimed comedy classic from one of Britain’s most popular writers invites you to the annual gathering of the dysfunctional Bunker family – join them for mayhem on a truly festive scale.

Whatever your taste in music, Theatre Royal has something for you this Autumn.

The unforgettable music of Simon & Garfunkel is performed by Bookends on Sunday 19 September. Bookends, made up of Dan Haynes & Pete Richards, have toured the globe performing these songs in a truly captivating way, against a backdrop of iconic imagery, their delicate recreation of the unmistakable sound of the American folk-rock duo is something of a masterpiece.

Saturday 25 September and Oh What A Night! takes you back in time on a musical journey through the incredible career of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. With a repertoire which needs no introduction, Oh What A Night! combines infectious personalities, amazing vocals, slick harmonies and even slicker dance moves to deliver a show full of energy and nostalgia which will leave you wanting more!

Saturday 2 October you are invited to celebrate the life and work of Neil Diamond with Sweet Caroline starring renowned tribute artist Gary Ryan, as seen on ‘Stars in Their Eyes’! The show will take you on a musical journey celebrating 50 years of some of the greatest music ever written. From Brooklyn to Hollywood, Neil Diamond has left a legacy of great songs spanning all genres from the Reggae of Red Red Wine, through the Country of Cracklin’ Rosie, and the Hollywood music of The Jazz Singer.

The musical extravaganza for 2021 is rounded off in rocking style on Saturday 9 October with the ultimate tribute to Queen, Radio GaGa. Break free and shake all over like a jellyfish as Radio GaGa recreates two magical hours live on stage, celebrating the magic, fun & showmanship of the bands touring days. Playing all your favourite hits including, Don’t Stop Me Now, I Want to Break Free, Somebody to Love, Another One bites the Dust, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You and of course Bohemian Rhapsody.

Tuesday 21 September sees the return of the hugely popular Dad’s Army Radio Show. Two actors, two microphones, over twenty-five characters – and lots of sound effects! The nation’s favourite sitcom returns new-minted in this highly-acclaimed production David Benson (Goodnight Sweetheart and One Man, Two Guvnors) and Jack Lane (Wisdom of a Fool and 7 Days) transport the audience right back to Walmington, working from original radio scripts – complete with sound effects, vintage music and all of Perry and Croft’s beloved characters and catchphrases.

If fun is what you’re after then Thursday 23 & Friday 24 September is all about Girls Just Wanna Have Fun from the writers of hit sketch-show, Hormonal Housewives comes this brand-new musical comedy to get you ‘In the Mood for Dancing’ as it’s jam-packed with your favourite night-out anthems. Come and join best friends Karen, Jackie, Jocelyn and Angie, played by an all-star cast: Legendary Nolan Sister Maureen Nolan, X-Factor Finalist Niki Evans, CBBC Creeped Out’s Stephanie Dooley and Olivier Award Winner Leanne Jones on a night out with no holds barred. Sex, diets, men, fashion, chocolate, wine and more wine all feature in a riotous script that promises to be the girl’s night out to remember.

Sunny Side Up on Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 September is the hilarious and moving account of a struggling Yorkshire coast B&B and the people who run it. In this John Godber Company & Theatre Royal Wakefield production we join down-to-earth proprietors Barney, Cath and Tina as they share their stories of awkward clients, snooty relatives and eggs-over-easy, in this seaside feel-good rollercoaster which digs into what ‘staycations’ are all about.

On Thursday 30 September to Friday 1 October audiences will be delighted to see the return of Showstoppers, The Improvised Musical spontaneous musical comedy at its absolute finest – direct from the West End. A brand-new musical comedy is created from scratch at each performance of this award-winning show as audience suggestions are transformed on the spot into all-singing, all-dancing productions with hilarious results.

Wednesday 6 October why not consider An Evening Without Kate Bush? Enter ‘Strange Phenomena’, howl with ‘The Hounds Of Love’ and dance on the moors with ‘Wuthering Height’s. Kate’s not there, but you could be! Performer Sarah-Louise Young explores the music and mythology of one of the most influential voices in British music.

Join Helen Wood’s one-woman quest to visit every National Trust property and become the NT’s biggest super-fan in National Trust Fan Club on Friday 8 October. Don’t miss this chance to see Helen’s new show direct from its world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe packed to the brim with Goretex, cream teas, and a loyal canine assistant (when NT rules allow).

Every season Theatre Royal arranges very special events to help raise much-needed funds for the theatre and this season is no exception.

Sunday 5 September, Last Night of the Proms with Bury St Edmunds Concert Band. The Bury St Edmunds Concert Band return for a memorable concert evening to celebrate the finale of the terrific summer season of The Proms as they perform popular classic and patriotic anthems.

Saturday 11 September, An Evening in Conversation with Christopher Biggins and Lesley Joseph. Rescheduled from July this pair will join us for a fun evening of chat and laughter. This event will also be live streamed.

Sunday 12 September, The Daily Telegraph’s Matt Pritchett MBE. Join Matt, British pocket cartoonist who has worked on The Daily Telegraph newspaper under the pen name Matt since 1988. Matt’s much-loved cartoons provide a consistently original take on the big news stories of the day as he produces daily jokes for the newspaper (nearly 3000 in total and counting….).

Friday 17 September 2021, Golf Day. The 9th annual Golf Day will be, once again held at Stowmarket Golf Club in association with Suffolk Village Info. Entries are welcomed from teams of 4 for a relaxed day of golf kicking off with a bacon roll and rounded off to a tee with fish & chips.

Ballet legend Gary Avis in conversation with Christine Webber on Sunday 14 November. As the leading Dance Actor of his generation and with an international career spanning four decades, join Royal Ballet Principal Character Artist and Senior Ballet Master Gary Avis MBE, in conversation with Suffolk Author and Broadcaster, Christine Webber, for an in-depth look at his spectacular career in ballet and more.

Additional fundraising events are on Tuesday 7 December with The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College Cambridge and their popular annual carol concert at St Mary’s Church and Thursday 9 December at the Hunter Club Call My Festive Wine Bluff gives you the chance to test your knowledge of wine against the wit and expertise of a panel of bluffers as they bluff, and double bluff, as you guess and quaff!

If there was ever a time to get back out to the theatre and enjoy some fun-filled family time together, it’s now!

In the run-up to half term, on Tuesday 19 to Saturday 23 October, Bury St Edmunds Operatic & Dramatic Society return with The Addams Family – the ultimate warm-up act to Halloween.

Sunday 24 and Monday 25 October, Kaleidoscope is a brand-new piece of theatre for babies aged 6 – 18 months inspired by research into how a baby’s sense of sight develops and how they instinctively begin to categorise colour. Using a unique blend of gentle, playful performance, sound and lighting, babies and their grown-ups are invited to join us as we discover the multicoloured world of Kaleidoscope.

Friday 29 to Sunday 31 October, Stuff and Nonsense presents The Gingerbread Man. Imagine being born in an oven and the first person you meet wants to dunk you in his tea! Come and see the adventure of the deliciously smelling Gingerbread Man who finds his feet fast and sets off on the journey of a lifetime!

Sunday 14 November, We Are Not Shellfish is a rebellious and provocative puppetry and mask show, about the power of friendship and how it can change our lives. Leah is angry about the world; she is trying to collect all the plastic out of the ocean before it’s too late. We Are Not Shellfish from Sabotage Theatre’s combines vibrant visual aesthetic with a provocative story of protest and rebellion. It asks what one small person can do to save the world.

In the run up to that most special time of your there is plenty to get you in the festive spirit at the theatre.

Monday 15 to Tuesday 16 November join Ballet Theatre UK in their beautiful re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale ballet, The Snow Queen. Ballet Theatre UK’s renowned company of international dancers, beautiful costumes and glittering stage sets combine to create a magnificent spectacle, all set to a glorious and magical score.

Tuesday 7 December, The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College Cambridge return for their popular annual carol concert set in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary’s Church, Honey Hill to raise funds for Theatre Royal. Enjoy seasonal favourites to get you in the festive mood, sung by the euphonious voices of the choristers of the Selwyn College Chapel Choir.

Thursday 9 December, Come along to the Hunter Club for this wine quiz with a difference! Call My Festive Wine Bluff gives you the chance to test your knowledge of wine against the wit and expertise of a panel of bluffers as they bluff, and double bluff, as you guess and quaff! Enjoy a riotous evening of laughs, fun and fine wine, hosted by Nethergate Wines raising funds for Theatre Royal.

And of course, the Autumn Festive Season would not be complete without the Theatre Royal Christmas Pantomime which, this year, is Cinderella. Having no pantomime in 2020 was devastating for all of us which is why this will be a pantomime not be missed! Join us for a tale laced with laughter and love; plus the ugliest sisters you’ll ever be likely to meet.
Thursday 25 November to Sunday 16 January.

All of the Autumn Season is on sale now at

To make returning to the theatre a little bit more attractive, the theatre are offering a 15% discount on tickets when 4 or more shows are booked at the same time. This excludes Community Shows (amateur productions), Fundraising events, Children’s Shows, Pantomime, On-Demand and Workshops and is eligible on full-price tickets (excludes under 21’s) in price band A & B.

The Box Office is available to help with any queries by emailing

Audience members with access needs or those requiring assistance please contact

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds also want to reassure audiences that it will be a safe return to the theatre, therefore they will be retaining popular safety measures.

This includes keeping the gallery of the auditorium as socially distanced seating for the rest of 2021 (except during pantomime and for performances not using the gallery). There will be a dedicated entrance for audience members seated in that area. Audience members with access needs who would like to remain socially distanced, or those that wish to sit in the socially distanced gallery should contact the Box Office.

Other changes include: e-tickets remaining, the box office will be reopening fully, you can enjoy pre-show or interval drinks outside or have at-seat bar service in the boxes in the Dress and Upper Circle to reduce congestion in the bar (except during pantomime), pre-booked car parking will still be available, and to keep people safe hand sanitisers, additional cleaning and increased air flow will stay for a while.


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