Doors won't close during repairs

THEATRE bosses have today pledged that audiences will not miss out while more than £2 million is spent on updating the New Wolsey in Ipswich.Since the theatre re-opened in 2001, it has concentrated on building up audiences – which it has achieved successfully.

THEATRE bosses have today pledged that audiences will not miss out while more than £2 million is spent on updating the New Wolsey in Ipswich.

Since the theatre re-opened in 2001, it has concentrated on building up audiences - which it has achieved successfully.

But now chief executive Sarah Holmes said attention needed to paid to the fabric of the building.

One of the most urgent needs is to repair the theatre roof.


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Ms Holmes said: "We have a leak in the roof and that does need attention, but we also need to do other work to the theatre to bring it into line with the disability discrimination act.

"And it is a building from the 1970s and there are other things that need to be done - for instance we need to install a new heating and ventilation system."

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There are spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium, but the lift to the top of the theatre is not satisfactory and other changes need to be made."

The total cost of the work has been estimated at £2.2 million - the roof itself could cost £300,000.

The theatre is set to speak to its funding partners Ipswich Council, Suffolk County Council and Arts Council East about finding the finance for the work.

However, Ms Holmes said it would have to be programmed over several years because she did not want to have to close the theatre while it was completed.

"We have worked hard to build the audiences and encourage people who did not normally come to the theatre - and that is something that has been very successful," she said.

"The last thing we want to do is to close for a few months for the work to be carried out - we would try to programme this in while we are operating."

Do you think the money should be found to update the New Wolsey? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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