Gallery: Former Regent Theatre manager David Lowe takes a journey back in time

Mark Whiting (Assistant Operations Manager, Venues and Customer Experience) giving former Regent man

Mark Whiting (Assistant Operations Manager, Venues and Customer Experience) giving former Regent manager David Lowe a VIP tour of the restored theatre. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Former Regent manager David Lowe received a 90th birthday treat yesterday when he received a personal tour of the newly refurbished Ipswich theatre.

David Lowe with his Beatles tablemat in 1995

David Lowe with his Beatles tablemat in 1995

David is the theatre’s longest serving manager. He arrived in 1958 having been transferred from the Colchester Hippodrome. He retired in 1990. For 30 years David was synonymous with entertainment in Ipswich.

Smartly turned out in evening dress, he greeted audiences and played host to the great pop acts of the day including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones as well as country stars like Don Williams and Tammy Wynette.

David was also instrumental in placing the theatre at the heart of the community making it available for performances by the Ipswich Operatic Society, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society and the Co-op Juniors.

“This is beautiful. It’s so open and light,” was David’s first reaction as he was taken through the remodelled foyer by Mark Whiting, the Regent’s assistant operations manager. Mark said that the art-deco light fittings were copied from originals found in the building.

David Lowe

David Lowe

“Did you find the fireplaces?” was David’s rather surprising inquiry,”In the early days the foyer was heated by two fireplaces. One was behind the bar and the other behind the box office.”

Mark confirmed the existance of the twin fireplaces but said it would be impractical to uncover them.

David said that he had never seen much of the molding and extensive carving work exposed and reinstated by the £150,000 restoration scheme. “When I arrived at the theatre the suspended ceilings had all ready been installed, so I was only really aware of this marvellous decoration from the old photographs taken when the theatre first opened in 1929.

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“Looking at the bar area (by the boxes at the back of the auditoirium) it looks exactly as it did in those old photographs. the only thing that is missing are the palm trees they had dotted about. It really is a thrill to see it looking so good. There has always been a lot of love for this theatre.”

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