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Regal could be 21st Century star

PUBLISHED: 21:12 24 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 March 2010

STOWMARKET'S Regal Theatre could be set for a £1.5million facelift to propel it into the 21st century.

Major alterations are proposed for the 1930s theatre, including an extra cinema auditorium, an adjoining café and an extended foyer area.

STOWMARKET'S Regal Theatre could be set for a £1.5million facelift to propel it into the 21st century.

Major alterations are proposed for the 1930s theatre, including an extra cinema auditorium, an adjoining café and an extended foyer area.

Improvements to the seating, lighting, dressing rooms and toilets are also being mooted as part of a major study into how to fully utilise the facility, in Ipswich Street.

Town councillor Marilyn Finbow said: "It's a great asset to the town and we need to make the most of it.

"There's lots of ideas coming forward but we need to get some feedback from the general public about what they want."

The feasibility study into the use of the theatre, which was completed in February, was undertaken by the town council and Mid Suffolk district council.

Malcolm Baker, town council clerk, said: "It's become clear over the years that the Regal has not been reaching it's potential - nowhere near. That's why we decided on the feasibility study."

The extra auditorium at the theatre would allow performances and films to be shown simultaneously, providing an increase in income.

Mr Baker said: "We're having to manage the live performances and the films in the one auditorium at the moment so a second would help us."

The theatre has already been boosted by a "dramatic increase" in the number of people visiting the theatre to watch films and the improvements would hope to capitalise on this new trade.

Extensive alterations to the foyer are also proposed, with a glass frontage suggested to improve the appearance and an extension to provide added space inside the theatre.

Although the town council is anxious to push ahead with the development, the scheme is still in the early stages and the money needed to complete still needs to be identified.

Mr Baker said the council is currently in the process of formulating a business plan on how to raise the necessary funds and to attract grants.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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