Ipswich: Regent repair work - pictures

ipswich: Work to repair the ceiling at East Anglia’s largest theatre should soon start after experts completed a survey.

Bosses at the theatre are confident it should not take too long to complete – and the sell-out show by X Factor-winning diva Alexandra Burke has been rescheduled for February 24.

Regent manager David Mansfield said the problems at the theatre – small pieces of plaster from one section of the ceiling were found on seats on Monday morning – had given him serious headaches.

But the early indications were that the actual work required was not that major, even though it is a major operation to install and dismantle the scaffolding needed to access the ceiling.

He said: “Of course there are quite rightly health and safety considerations and we have to make sure everything is safe.

“We have had experts look at the ceiling and we are now waiting for their written report – they know it is very urgent.

“But the initial verbal suggestions they gave us were that the work required is not that major. We should be fine by the middle of February.”

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This is a reasonably quiet time for the theatre. The only other concert to be postponed is the visit by Thin Lizzy. A new date has still to be agreed for that.

Mr Mansfield hoped the problems would not affect shows planned for the second half of February – including visits by Elaine Paige and ballet performances.

He was also confident there would be no threat to the visit by the Monty Python musical Spamalot, planned for early March.

He said: “That has been selling really well. It has really captured the imagination of the public.”

A spokesman for the council said it was not possible to say what had caused the plaster to fall – although it was only a very small area.

He said: “Although it seems very small, we obviously have to take all possible precautions because of the safety of the audiences.

“When the theatre reopens it will be because everyone is confident the problem has been solved.”

The only other show in any doubt is the tribute act Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, which is due to play the Regent in early February – although there is also the possibility that it could be moved to the Corn Exchange if the repairs take longer than anticipated.

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