Reopening appeal by Historic Suffolk Theatre

The current crisis has delivered a devastating blow to every sector of the community. Theatres are used to fighting for funding but as Theatre Royal is currently closed, almost all of their income has ceased. They receive crucial public authority funding from Suffolk County Council and West Suffolk Councils, but this makes up a small percentage of what is needed to survive. They are very fortunate to have ongoing and loyal support from Patrons, Friends, Major and Corporate Sponsors – without whom (even in normal times) they simply could not survive – as a charity this support is vital to their survival. Theatre Royal received an Arts Council Emergency Response Grant to help them through this challenging time. This grant provides them with some breathing space but they need to build a bigger pot to raise the essential funds to start to re-open when lockdown eases.

Reopening a theatre is not straightforward – they need time and money to programme and promote the season; for their own shows they need to cast and rehearse shows – their income will not simply leap back to what is what before the crisis.  Their campaign target is to raise £50,000 to allow them to begin preparations to re-open Bury St Edmunds’ beloved playhouse.

The return to normality is likely to be a long journey – please support this campaign to ensure that our much-loved Theatre will be in a position to come out of this long dark period as strong as ever. With your help we can start to put plans in place to re-open our doors once again.

Roger Quince, Chairman of Theatre Royal Board of Trustees

For 200 years Theatre Royal has brought significant economic benefit into our local economy. The theatre brings joy to the town of Bury St Edmunds by bringing you the best live theatre, telling stories that inspire and welcoming big names in the world of theatre, television and film to their stage. Through their outreach programme the theatre aims to inspire young people, to give local people a voice, to serve our community and to engage marginalised groups for whom theatre and the arts may otherwise be inaccessible.  As a theatre, they help and support their brilliant family of freelancers (writers, producers, set designers, technicians, actors to name but a few) to create new work.

We were heartbroken to close our theatre and there are many challenging times ahead but Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has stood strong for 200 years and we will continue to do so. We’re determined to welcome our audiences back and we’re asking for help from the community of Bury St Edmunds, this brilliant town, to help us to do this so that the show can go on!

Adrian Grady, Theatre Royal General Manager & Interim CEO

It is in times like this that we need our arts organisations more than ever.  Our beloved Theatre Royal has been saved and restored by the love and effort of so many local people over the years, from its rescue from barrel store in the 1960s to its complete restoration to Regency playhouse in 2007. We must now come together again and give it life support during possibly the most difficult time since its creation over 200 hundred years ago.

Judith Shallow DL. Former Chairman and Life Patron

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is appealing to people to consider donating to their Reopening Appeal, The Show Will Go On! to help support them through the challenging months ahead and keep Bury St Edmunds’ beloved Theatre Royal – an integral part of our beautiful town – for generations to enjoy and love. With your help The Show Will Go On!

What others think of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds:

We had a great time filming ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’ at the fabulous Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. Like all theatres, it and its staff have been hit hard by the Covid lockdown, and if this beautiful and historic theatre is to open its doors again and become what it has always been, a working theatre in the community, then it’ll need a tremendous amount of help from every quarter.  I’m urging everyone to help where they can as the Theatre Royal launches its emergency appeal.

Armando Iannucci 

Having spent many happy hours in its beautiful auditorium and on its marvellous stage, I urge you to support this appeal to re-open Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, so that she can be saved for generations to enjoy.

Sir Derek Jacobi CBE

I first worked at this wonderful theatre in the early 1990’s. It’s a jewel in Bury St Edmunds’ crown and must be preserved at all costs.

Robert Glenister

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is special.  It’s a jewel-box of Georgian elegance, lovingly restored after its years as a brewery barrel-store (where, among others, the young Peter Hall on holiday jobs would stand and dream of its recovery).  Equally importantly, it serves its Suffolk town and us around it with artistic energy, intelligence and stimulating comradeship. Endangered now like all theatres, it needs us to stand by it again.

Libby Purves OBE

There isn’t a more beautiful theatre in the country or one with a richer heritage than Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds.  I’ve been there a few times now and I’m pleased to say that we had a full house and lots of laughter on stage and in the auditorium.  What we’ve got to ensure now is that is has a golden future as well.  This has been a traumatising time for theatres across the land and we need to rally to the cause.  I know the Theatre Royal has many friends and now is the time to stand up in the stalls, not just for a standing ovation but to be counted.  Dig deep if you can to support this jewel in the crown of British theatre.  It really is one of the best and we want to be saying ‘Encore!’ for many years to come.

Gyles Brandreth

Cooeeeeeee well what a to-do this old Corona thingy is?  I’ve been cooped up on my own with not even the sniff of romance for nearly 10 weeks.  Even Tiger Lily has needs you know!  What I really need right now is for my beloved Theatre Royal to open its doors so I can be re-united with Smee, the love of my life.  I’d like to be a lot closer to him than 2 metres I can tell you but if that’s what we have to do I will to my best to be restrained.  Theatres are having a rum old time and what I’d like you to do is donate a few pounds to Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds emergency appeal.  It’s a lovely old theatre with lots of lovely dark nooks & crannies where you can have a secret little smooch.  It would be so upset if it couldn’t re-open.  My Smee would be devastated too.  Do what you can my lovelies and you’ll make an old Tiger Lily very happy.

Tiger Lily (aka Chris Clarkson) Pantomime Dame