Church to make concert debut

A DREAM of turning one of Ipswich's best known waterfront churches into a first class concert venue will be realised later this month. Around three-quarters of a million pounds have been spent on transforming the historic and formerly redundant St Peter's Church in College Street into a facility for the performing arts.

A DREAM of turning one of Ipswich's best known waterfront churches into a first class concert venue will be realised later this month.

Around three-quarters of a million pounds have been spent on transforming the historic and formerly redundant St Peter's Church in College Street into a facility for the performing arts.

Ipswich Hospital Band will be based at the centre, while the building will be open to dozens of other groups.

To mark the unveiling of the venue, the band will be performing a grand opening concert on May 24.

The building's redevelopment has seen the installation of a stage and a 205-seat auditorium, as well as sound and lighting facilities which will be suitable to accommodate a range of performances.

Bernard Westren, from Ipswich Hospital Band, said: “We're very satisfied with the final outcome. It's beyond our expectations because it's very difficult to visualise how an empty building can be transformed.

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“We're very much looking forward to performing there.”

As well as concerts, the church will be available to host a range of artistic activities.

Conservation work to the fabric of the building has been carried out while a range of displays have been installed telling the story of the church's history, which dates back to 1130.

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey refurbished the church in 1528 to serve as the chapel of his short lived Cardinal College of St Mary and ten years later St Peter's because an ordinary parish church.

The building, situated on the fringes of the Waterfront's regeneration area, will be open daily between 10am and 4pm.

The official opening took place on Thursday, with councillor Judy Terry cutting the ribbon.

The concert to mark the opening of the church begins at 7.30pm, with doors opening at 6.30pm to allow visitors to view the heritage displays.

Tickets cost £7 and include an interval refreshment.

For more information or to secure your tickets, call 01473 225269 or 07717 398296, or alternatively e-mail manager@stpetersbythewaterfront.com

Could more redundant churches be converted for the use of the community? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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