The show will go on at arson-hit theatre

Bosses at the Regal Theatre in Stowmarket today told of their hopes of re-opening the venue soon after it was hit by an arson attack last year.

STOWMARKET: Bosses at the Regal Theatre in Stowmarket today told of their hopes of re-opening the venue soon after it was hit by an arson attack last year.

Manager David Marsh is still waiting for the gas to be reconnected at the site and for the final repair work to be completed.

It is hoped that an opening date for the popular cinema, theatre and live music venue, which is run by Stowmarket Town Council, can be confirmed next week.

The Ipswich Street site was left badly damaged after an arson attack in September and has been closed ever since while repairs to the auditorium and back areas are carried out.

Town council spokesman Daniel Harvey said: “We are waiting to get some news from British Gas regarding when the gas supply can be connected.

“Next week we should know when it will be re-opening.”

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Mr Marsh had overseen a turnaround in the fortunes of the Regal since he took over two years ago when the town council took back the management of the site, but that progress was left hanging in the balance after the arson attack on September 16.

In 2008, the venue enjoyed one of its best years - and the good attendances and strong uptake of a membership scheme had continued into the first half of last year.

The fire was started at the rear of the building and left the screen and sound system damaged beyond repair while the seats, carpets and curtains all suffered smoke and water damage.

Many of the events scheduled at the 200-seat theatre had to be postponed or rearranged but loyal supporters of the Regal have been promised that any lost weeks from the closure will be added to the end of all valid Royalty Club cards.

nLast month 22-year-old Lewis Filby, of Jubilee Avenue, Stowmarket, admitted starting the blaze at Ipswich Crown Court.

He was released on conditional bail and is due to be sentenced on March 1.

Are you a fan of the Regal? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk