New dressing rooms at Ipswich Regent could attract more stars

The Regent in Ipswich has been closed in response to Coronavirus and after the Prime Minister's spee

The Regent in Ipswich could soon be having new dressing rooms and an improved backstage area - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

More major stars could be performing at the Ipswich Regent Theatre in the near future if plans for a new and improved backstage area go ahead.

Next week proposals are being put forward to the Ipswich council executive to approve a development that will bring the backstage area of the Regent into the 21st century.

The work will involve the development of a small existing building at the rear of the theatre to increase and improve the dressing room facilities for performers.

If agreed, the project is anticipated to cost £300,000 and would be scheduled to be completed by September 2021, the beginning of the Regent’s autumn/winter season.

A report to the executive says the work will help attract larger and better shows to the theatre. If the work is not carried out then the theatre is in in danger of being left behind.

The report said: “Current provision used by performers is a mix of 1920s brick-built outbuildings and an unheated temporary canopy solution. Both are now outdated and therefore no longer suitable for use by performers.

“The quality of the dressing room facilities can negatively impact the council’s ability to attract touring shows. The facilities for and the safety of performing artists is an important consideration for both the producer of the show and the council.

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"As such, it is proposed that a small modular building complex is developed to the rear of the building between the existing cottage and the gates on the Woodbridge Road elevation.”

Councillor Sarah Barber, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for the town centre, said: “The Regent already attracts big names and shows but these improvements will help make our theatre even more impressive to show producers on the lookout for good quality venues for their performers, both on and off-stage.

“With a better backstage area, we can ensure that performers get a warm welcome and enjoy a comfortable, safe stay, which in turn will help to grow our varied programme and attract more audiences.” 

Funding for the project could be met from existing capital budgets within the capital programme.

The decision will be made at the Ipswich council executive meeting on March 9.

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