New theatre set for resort

COMMUNITY leaders have been told of proposals to create a small theatre for Felixstowe and asked for their help with the project.

COMMUNITY leaders have been told of proposals to create a small theatre for Felixstowe and asked for their help with the project.

The resort has long needed a smaller venue for its many groups but over the years a number of schemes to provide one have failed.

Theatre companies feel the 900-seater Spa Pavilion is fabulous for musicals which attract big audiences, but for plays which have smaller numbers of show-goers it is far too large.

Now Deben High School has drawn up a plan to transform its hall into a 200-seater theatre which could be used by students for productions and as part of their courses, but also by the wider community at other times.

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The school in Garrison Lane is a specialist college for the visual and performing arts and it is as part of this status which it is launching the bid to create the theatre.

School governor Bobbie Coppen, one of the project leaders, said: “There is a real need in Felixstowe for a small theatre - village halls are often too small and the Spa Pavilion is too big.

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“There is no conflict with the Spa on this - ours will not be a commercial venture. We have had a meeting with the management at the Spa and they are perfectly happy.

“Our intention is to use the theatre for the school and then at weekends and other times when we are not using it, it will be available for the wider community.

“It's a great idea, quite ambitious but we believe it is do-able.”

The governors also believe it will fit well in plans currently being considered by the county council for secondary education in Felixstowe, which would see a new school for all 11 to 16s built on Orwell High's campus and Deben becoming a sixth form centre. A small theatre could form a vital part of its extra facilities.

The theatre campaign was launched at an arts and creative projects exhibition at the school attended by around 50 business and community leaders.

Those attending were able to see A level and GCSE art work and to buy limited edition prints of students' work.

It had been hoped to refurbish the Ranelagh Theatre as a small venue until it was destroyed by fire, suggestions were made to alter the Spa, and for a while the Herman de Stern was used successfully until the council closed it.

Is creating a small theatre at Deben High a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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