Theatre to have new shows and new seats

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Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal has announced an exciting diary of summer events that will send visitors back in time.

This summer, the theatre will open its doors and give the public an all-access backstage pass to the last Regency theatre in the country.

The theatre’s artistic director Colin Blumenau said: “Summer has always been difficult as the cultural counterbalance usually sits in people’s gardens with a glass of Pimms. This year we are trying something different.

“Backstage Past: Access All Eras is simply a celebration of 200 years of history. People will have the opportunity to come into the theatre and in a very practical way see its history from 1819 to the present day.”

From May 16, the theatre will be open from 10am-5pm Wednesday to Sunday for visitors to go in and learn about its 193 years of history.

Between August 8 and 19 visitors will get the chance not only to look around the theatre but to also meet the characters who have starred in its history.

A group of actors will lead visitors on guided tours through the theatre’s history and introduce them to some of the more notable characters involved in its past.

The theatre has also announced that it will be starting a staggered programme of seat replacements.

Executive director Simon Daykin said: “The process will be started over the next few months. We will be looking at designs and asking the community to feed in their thoughts about what we should and should not be doing.

“Many of our customers complained about our current seating – we want to find comfortable seating while retaining the character of the theatre.”

Simon has made a pledge to theatregoers that the seats in the dress and upper circles and will be replaced by the end of summer 2013.

The theatre has also unveiled a varied evening programme for the summer which will see the return of some familiar faces as well as some types of performance audiences may not have seen before.

Jeremy Hardy, star of Radio 4 shows The News Quiz and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, will deliver an evening of comedy on May 16.

On June 10 a burlesque show called Shipwrecked will attempt to shock and excite audiences followed the next day by what may be a slightly more relaxed evening hosted by Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse novels, to celebrate his most famous creation.