Cost cutting plan at the Regent

IPSWICH'S Regent Theatre may have fewer shows over the next few years – but its borough council owner is confident they will attract more people through the doors.

IPSWICH'S Regent Theatre may have fewer shows over the next few years - but its borough council owner is confident they will attract more people through the doors.

The Star revealed last week that the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration at Civic Centre wanted to develop the theatre as a rock venue.

It hopes this strategy will slash the losses at the theatre, which last year stood at £782,000. The administration hopes losses next year will be cut to £367,000 and to £256,000 the following year.

New council leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry was confident this would enable the theatre to develop over the next few years.


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She said: "The approach of strong leadership and good management by the new administration will slash half a million pounds from the Regent bill.

"Suffolk people can also play their part by continuing to come to the Regent Theatre and by pulling together we can secure a viable, long-term, future."

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Crucial to cutting losses at the theatre is the decision not to book theatrical shows unless they are popular West End musicals - or shows by well-regarded local groups.

A council insider said that part of the reason behind the theatre's losses was a decision a few years ago to reduce the number of days when there was nothing on at the Regent.

This meant shows were booked even though they did not attract a very large audience - leading to increased losses at the venue.

He said: "The new policy may well result in there being fewer shows at the theatre, but the council is pretty confident that those we do attract will be much more popular so in fact more people will actually go to the theatre."

Regent manager Hazel Clover has been given a freer hand to book shows and bring in artists she thinks the public will want to see.

And the council is also planning to upgrade the catering and bar service - bottles of wine will be available to box-holders at the theatre.

The changes were due to be discussed at tonight's meeting of Ipswich Council's executive.

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

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