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See what revamped theatre could look like in multi-million pound plans

PUBLISHED: 16:32 08 May 2019

A CGI image of how the new Regal Theatre in Stowmarket could look, as part of seven-figure sum plans to extend it. Picture: PURCELL

A CGI image of how the new Regal Theatre in Stowmarket could look, as part of seven-figure sum plans to extend it. Picture: PURCELL

Purcell

The first designs for a multi-million pound revamp of the popular Stowmarket Regal Theatre have been revealed - and work could begin later this year.

The Regal Theatre as it looks today. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Regal Theatre as it looks today. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The project secured a grant of £1.56m from Mid Suffolk District Council last year, which will go towards a major upgrade of the popular facility.

Among the upgrades will be an extension to create two new cinema screens - one with 84 seats and one with 57 - as well as a refurbished main auditorium, improved toilet facilities, disabled access and expanded foyer and cafe.

Stowmarket Town Council, which operates the theatre, also secured a £1m loan from Mid Suffolk District Council and plans to put £650,000 from reserves into the project.

A full planning application has now been submitted, with the first images of the new look space.

The Stowmarket Operatic and Dramatic Society is among the groups to have given backing to the upgrades. PICTURE ANDY ABBOTTThe Stowmarket Operatic and Dramatic Society is among the groups to have given backing to the upgrades. PICTURE ANDY ABBOTT

David Blackburn, town council clerk, said: "Admissions to the Regal continue to rise and have been close to 70,000 over the past year.

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"Therefore, redevelopment of the theatre cannot come too soon.

"Both the town and district councils are working closely to deliver this project and the submission of the planning application marks another important step in the life of the project.

A CGI image of how the new Regal Theatre in Stowmarket could look, as part of seven-figure sum plans to extend it. Picture: PURCELLA CGI image of how the new Regal Theatre in Stowmarket could look, as part of seven-figure sum plans to extend it. Picture: PURCELL

"We will continue to discuss our proposals with the local community who have been very supportive of the project so far.

"A public information event will be held in the town in July 2019 about the project and further details about the event will be released shortly."

If the plans are approved at planning committee, it is anticipated work will start later this year with an estimated construction timeframe of 52 to 65 weeks.

The plans have attracted widespread support, including from the Stowmarket Operatic and Dramatic Society, Stowmarket and District Chamber of Commerce and the Mid Suffolk Disability Forum.

The Regal Theatre is having a million-pound revamp to get two new screens. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Regal Theatre is having a million-pound revamp to get two new screens. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Stowmarket Society, which also backed the proposals, urged the developers to "be bold in their architectural aspirations for the building rather than seeking to implement a fake replication of buildings around the theatre".

The theatre, built in 1936, attracts around 70,000 visitors per year, with the upgrades expected to create 10 to 20 new jobs.

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