Celebrity guests give Theatre Royal Bury's 200th anniversary some added sparkle
PUBLISHED: 12:13 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:13 30 April 2019
This autumn, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is having a birthday celebration to outdo all other birthday bashes. Star names nestle alongside classic drama, comic-romance, brain-taxing whodunnits and edge of the seat thrillers in a season to celebrate the breadth of work staged at Bury's Regency theatre.
The autumn 2019 season has been designed to end the theatre's 200th anniversary year in style.
Headlining the new season is Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Summer School production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Following on from last year's hugely successful Goodnight Mister Tom, this Simon Reade adaptation features a line-up of professional actors who will star alongside a supporting cast of talented youngsters who will rehearse as part of the Theatre Royal's Summer School.
Directed by Marcus Romer, Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen's ultimate romantic comedy. The only thing in the world that matters to Mrs Bennet, is marrying all five of her daughters to rich, landed gentleman. As the Bennet sisters haplessly search for love in, it is Mr Darcy who unwittingly finds his match. (Fri 23 Aug – Sat 7 Sep)
As part of the 200th anniversary fundraising, Roy Hudd returns to the stage to host the birthday bash to end all birthday bashes, the 200th birthday of Theatre Royal itself. A Right Royal Revue will bring superstars from the world of film, stage, comedy, magic and circus together to perform for one incredible night (Sun 13 Oct).
The popular An Evening With… events continue with Sir Michael Parkinson reliving the best moments from a show that, for many, defined Saturday nights (Sun 1 Sep); and Sir Derek Jacobi, CBE will talk to Libby Purves, OBE about his life and career as one of Britain's greatest Shakespearian actors and a founding member of the National Theatre Company (Sun 17 Nov).
For a tipsy treat the theatre is staging Call My Festive Bluff: The Wine Quiz, a riotous evening of laughs, fun and fine wine, hosted by Nethergate Wines (Thu 12 Dec).
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There's drama in abundance this autumn, including The Classic Thriller Theatre Company's production of The Lady Vanishes, based on the film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, ranked as one of the best British films of all time, a quick-witted and devilishly fun thriller (Mon 16 – Sat 21 Sep) and the return of Blackeyed Theatre with another Regency classic, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre - captivating, brooding and intensely powerful (Thu 14 – Sat 16 Nov).
Proteus Theatre Company are bringing their highly physical re-imagining of Shakespeare's Macbeth, staged as a corporate thriller set in 1980s Britain (Mon 28 – Tue 29 Oct); Tilted Wig Productions will be presenting Murder, Margaret and Me, the story of two of our greatest and most celebrated national treasures – Agatha Christie and Margaret Rutherford (Mon 11 – Wed 13 Nov); and The Theatre Chipping Norton presents a production of the Olivier Award-winning Skylight, an intimate play of passionate ideas and complex love – delicate, hilarious and thought provoking (Tue 1 – Thu 3 Oct).
Comedy lovers will be well looked after, Matt Chorley brings his new show – This Is Not Normal presenting hilarious tales of parliamentary resignations, reshuffles and recriminations (Sat 28 Sep); and Theatre Royal Wakefield return with a production of John Godber's Gym & Tonic, a laugh out loud comedy about trying to find a moment of calm in challenging times (Mon 21 – Tue 22 Oct).
For unscripted fun, a pair of improvisational shows arrive this autumn, The Noise Next Door: Remix sees a cheeky and charming quartet weaving audience suggestions into fantastically funny scenes and songs in the blink of an eye (Fri 18 Oct); and Austentatious will see a cast of the country's quickest comic performers conjure up a brand new 'lost' Jane Austen novel based on nothing more than a title suggested by the audience (Thu 31 Oct – Fri 1 Nov).
There's a packed line up of music this autumn, Darren Day stars in Noël Coward's Me and the Girls, a touching and evocative musical comedy of the last days of vaudeville (Tue 10 – Sat 14 Sep); and pianist Lucy Parham presents another composer portrait – I, Clara, the life and music of Clara Schumann, featuring narration by Patricia Hodge (Thu 17 Oct).
Community theatre has always been a strong element of the Theatre Royal's programme. Suffolk Young People's Theatre are back with the tongue-in-cheek Legally Blonde – The Musical (Wed 7 – Sat 10 Aug); Bury St Edmunds Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society return with a classic musical adaptation of a beloved film – Evita (Tue 8 – Sat 12 Oct); and Irving Stage Company present their production of Lerner & Lowe's musical comedy My Fair Lady (Tue 5 – Sat 9 Nov).
There's plenty for families too, Ballet Theatre UK are back with a new production of L. Frank Baum's iconic tale The Wizard of Oz (Mon 18 – Wed 20 Nov); Freckle Productions return with their funky musical production of Tabby McTat (Wed 25 – Thu 26 Sep); timeless children's classic book Dear Zoo joins us again with a menagerie of mesmerising animal puppets (Wed 23 – Thu 24 Oct); and direct from the West End, Olivier Award nominee The Tiger Who Came to Tea celebrates over 10 years on stage (Fri 25 – Sun 27 Oct).
To round off the season in style, the return of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds' traditional family pantomime, invites everyone to join Peter Pan Wendy and the outrageous Tiger Lily as they face the most fearful pantomime villain of all: Captain Hook. (Fri 29 Nov '19 – Sun 19 Jan '20).
Tickets are now sale. Booking is simple, just visit www.theatreroyal.org and log in to book online, call the box office on 01284 769505.