The Co-op Juniors have been forced to cancel their planned summer shows as Covid lockdown restrictions show no sign of easing up.

The young Suffolk theatrical company were planning to stage two major musical productions –Andrew Lloyd Webber's award-winning Cats, due to be performed at Snape Maltings Concert Hall in May, and Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr, destined for Woodbridge's Seckford Theatre in June – both have now been postponed until after lockdown.

It is still hoped that they will present their annual Christmas Spectacular at Snape Maltings towards the end of the year but this will be confirmed later.

Creative director Oliver Brett said: "This is disappointing news for the casts of both productions and our audiences, but the rehearsals they had together earlier this year are not wasted. They learn and grow as performers during the process of creating characters and learning musical numbers.

"Thomas Haigh, director of Little Mermaid, and I are immensely proud of what every member of the company has achieved."

After the first lockdown, the group developed a unique Creative Warehouse Project and Theatre Academy classes to provide safe, socially-distanced training for almost 200 young people every week at their Ipswich studios. Together with education director Jo King, Oliver Brett and other creative tutors developed an ambitious programme of activity.

Says Jo King, "Not rehearsing shows allowed us to build on different skills in dance, singing and vocal technique, drama, movement, puppetry and much more using West End tutors along with our local teaching talent.

"We started a £50,000 fundraising campaign to allow us to continue training young people at a time when schools are having to cut down on extra-curricular activities. It's proved to be innovative and energising and we'll be doing more this summer, once it's safe to do so."

If you'd like to donate to the Co-op Juniors Appeal and support their work training young people, visit and click on the JustGiving link.