Five options for Regent

CONSULTANTS engaged by Ipswich council to look at the future of the town's Regent Theatre came up with five possible options.They also recommended that the council should work with an entertainment company to bring a professional management to the theatre.

CONSULTANTS engaged by Ipswich council to look at the future of the town's Regent Theatre came up with five possible options.

They also recommended that the council should work with an entertainment company to bring a professional management to the theatre.

Two companies, Clear Channel - which runs the Spa Pavilion in Felixstowe - and the Ambassador Theatre Group have expressed an interest, as has the management team of the Theatre Royal in Norwich.

The five options for the future of the Regent are:


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1) Stick with current investment plans - which would cost £1.7 million but does not include any renewal or further repairs to the building. It would be used to the same degree as currently - about 150 nights a year.

2) Update the current plans to spend more on improving disabled access and carrying out repairs on the building. It would have the same usage as option one

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3) Low level refurbishment including installing removable seats to give standing room at pop/rock concerts and improving dressing rooms and front of house areas. The cost would be £6.3 million. This would enable it to be used about 200 times a year.

4) Creating a flexible touring venue, with major improvements to the stage area to allow "second tier" musicals like Cats, Chicago, and Whistle Down the Wind to be performed alongside rock and pop concerts. The cost would be £19 million and would probably see use on 250 nights a year.

5) Creating a regional touring theatre with full stage facilities able to take on the most ambitious West End shows. This would probably be used more than 300 times a year.

Ipswich Council's ruling Labour group is recommending that the council goes ahead with option four - with option three as a fallback if that proves too ambitious.

If option three is ultimately decided on, it could probably be completed over a three to four year period without any lengthy closure of the theatre - the work could be carried out over summer months when the Regent is closed for routine maintenance anyway.

However if the council finds a development partner and the money to proceed with option four, this would force the closure of the Regent for between one and two years while the work takes place.

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