All change at the Regent

THEY'VE been a part of Ipswich's entertainment industry for more than seven decades, but after a lifetime of service they are finally being retired.As work on the refurbishment of the Regent Theatre continues today, the first job of the renovation work was to start removing the 1,725 seats that have filled the auditorium for 77 years.

THEY'VE been a part of Ipswich's entertainment industry for more than seven decades, but after a lifetime of service they are finally being retired.

As work on the refurbishment of the Regent Theatre continues today, the first job of the renovation work was to start removing the 1,725 seats that have filled the auditorium for 77 years.

Former manager of the Grade II listed building David Lowe was impressed the seats have lasted as long as they have.

“They were put in during the last major refurbishment in 1965 when the specially woven carpet was also put down,” he said. “Obviously the seats have been sent away to be recovered and upholstered every now and again but the framework is the same.

“They have endured a lot of wear and tear over the years and experienced a whole variety of sell-out shows and cinematic blockbusters.”

“I think they have earnt their retirement. And if these new seats last half as long, the people of Ipswich will have been well-served.”

Most Read

After months of planning and lobbying to secure vital funding, a £500,000 project to give the Regent Theatre a complete overhaul has started.

Ipswich Borough Council chiefs agreed to refurbishment in January and Regent staff have been working on plans for the new look theatre ever since.

The final show of the current season, High Society, ended on Saturday and as the last bit of set was taken down, the workmen moved in to start the 13 week refurbishment project.

The work, which began yesterday, will include new seating throughout, new carpet, re-decoration of the entire auditorium and

essential repair work and improvements made to the lighting and sound.

The Evening Star has already inspected the new seats set to replace the current ones, although these will be the final addition to the theatre at the end of the project, once the painting is complete and the new carpet has been laid.

Maintaining the existing seats at the theatre had become an impossible task for staff there, who had to contend with regular breakages of the aging furniture. The old-style seats came in eight different sizes and many of them could not be repaired once they had been broken or damaged.

When the new seats are fitted, the theatre's capacity will drop by 80, but managers there discovered that was the minimum loss they would face after investigating 137 different seat styles.

We will continue to watch the exciting refurbishment of Ipswich's historic theatre as the work and new-look unfolds over the coming weeks.

What do you think about the Regent refurbishment? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter