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Bury St Edmunds theatre celebrates 200 years

Around 60 staff members, volunteers, stewards, heritage guides and other supporters of the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, took their seats today to celebrate its 200th birthday.

Built in 1819, it was restored to its Regency design in 2007 and as a Grade I listed building, it is the only theatre in the National Trust's portfolio and the last working Regency playhouse in the country.

Speaking to the attendees at the event, Karen Simpson, artistic director and CEO, said: "What a smashing year it has been, incredible in so many ways, from the moment we launched our birthday celebrations to things like our fantastic production of Pride and Prejudice in the summer.

Theatre Royal supporters came to celebrate the theatre's 200th anniversary today (October 11). (19115548)
Theatre Royal supporters came to celebrate the theatre's 200th anniversary today (October 11). (19115548)

"Our story is also now being told in new ways too because we want as many people as possible to become interested in our theatre and that is what we have been trying to do with the 200th anniversary celebrations. So thank you to everybody that has been volunteering as part of the year, visiting or been a paying audience member you really have made this so special.

"It could not have happened without such an amazing team, that is the reason the Theatre Royal is buzzing at the minute and long may it continue for another 200 years."

Other events to celebrate the bicentennial have included a 200 for 200 sponsored walk, which saw fund-raisers Tony Kelly, Dawn Roberts and Margaret Wright walk 232 miles over 10 days and the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Star Trail, which ends on October 27 and is in partnership with the Our Bury St Edmunds BID, which has seen 25 stars placed around the town of famous performers who has trodden the boards at the theatre.

On Sunday, the theatre will be hosting its birthday party with 'A Right Royal Revue', staged and hosted by veteran performer Roy Hudd OBE.

The line up for the fund-raising evening includes comedy ventriloquist Steve Hewlett, cabaret double act Kit and McConnel, illusionist Andy Van Buren, chart-topping soprano Fiona Jessica Wilson, West End star Sammy Kelly as well as the Theatre Royal’s resident dame Chris Clarkson.

All tickets include a complimentary glass of Champagne and souvenir programme, with premium seats also including a post-show reception and unlimited Champagne.

A charity auction with lots including the exclusive use of a Scottish mansion for two nights and lunch with Roy Hudd at London’s exclusive Garrick Club will help to raise funds for the Bury St Edmunds theatre.

For more information or tickets, call 01284 769505 or go to www.theatreroyal.org/shows/a-right-royal-revue/

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