The Theatre Royal brings its spring season programme to life

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The Theatre Royal launched its spring season on Wednesday by bringing some of its programme to life.

With the help of directors, actors, producers and musicians from some of the productions the theatre has lined up, the launch audience was treated to a taste of what is to come.

Lynn Whitehead, the theatre’s head of creative learning, gave a passionate introduction to Romeo and Juliet, a Theatre Royal in-house production and the first with her as director.

A group of pupils from County Upper, King Edward VI and Thetford Grammar Schools wowed the audience with a rendition of a sad song they will perform in the popular Shakespearean tale.

Chief executive Simon Daykin announced that Polly Ingham, a trainee producer at the Theatre Royal last year, would be returning with her production of Dirty Great Love Story, which won this year’s Fringe First Award after a sell out show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

But, he said, better than that, was the fact the theatre had ‘just signed a deal’ to be co-production partner for the show when it goes to New York for the Brits Off Broadway Festival.

I Was a Rat, which promises humour, fantasy and adventure, was introduced using stunning clips from the production company’s past shows, including Cinderella and The Mermaid Princess.

The idea for the show, written by the celebrated children’s author Philip Pullman and adapted and directed by Teresa Ludovico, came from a conversation held at the Bury St Edmunds theatre.

Producer Judy Ownen explained: “It was while we were working here doing The Snow Queen that we had a conversation with the director at the time, Colin Blumenau, who suggested it was fantastic the way that an Italian company comes to Bury and presents these very visual, physical, innovate storytelling of fairy tales that we love, in a way that we often don’t get to see in this country - it’s something very unique, very explosive, very sensual - but wouldn’t it be a fantastic idea for Teresa to come and work instead with some British actors to see what exciting things could come out of that collaboration.”

Jatinder Verma gave a colourful account of Kanjoos - The Miser, a witty version of Molière’s classic farce, which will be set in modern India and will enlist the help of a live band to turn some of the text into song.

Amy Wyllie, who is part of the Theatre Royal’s creative learning team, introduced Tomorrow I will Be Happy, a show about young people, commissioned as part of the National Theatre Connections scheme specifically for young people to perform.

“It is about a brutal homophobic hate crime, murder, and the various repercussions and the things associated with all of that,” said Miss Wyllie, adding, “what we’ve tried to do is not linger in the dark bits but to look at the truth behind those moments.”

For details of shows in the theatre’s spring season, or to buy tickets, visit www.thetareroyal.org or call the box office on 01284 769505.