Ipswich: Get your new Regent and Corn Exchange autumn-winter programme
PUBLISHED: 14:43 27 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:43 27 August 2014
Darren Bell Photography
With a new programme and a new look being unveiled soon, the Ipswich Regent and Corn Exchange can’t wait for the autumn-winter season to get under way.
“The audiences we attract here are incredibly diverse and we’ve got a very diverse range of really very very good shows - I know you’d expect me to say that but we have, laughs. I think there is geniunely something for everyone,” laughs general manager David Mansfield as work on the Regent refit continues around us.
Taking centre spot is this year’s pantomime, with Enchanted Entertainment inviting you to join Cinderella at the ball.
“Panto’s always important to theatres and tends to be the focus of our autumn programme. We’ve got Lee Latchford-Evans from Steps as Prince Charming, Maureen Nolan who was here recently in Blood Brothers as Fairy Godmother, Gabrielle Green from CBBC’s Wolfblood as Cinderella and Nick Wymer from CITV’s My Phone Genie as Baron Hardup.
“Everybody says the panto is a great way to introduce children to theatre but we want to get them to come back at some other time of the year. We always try to have something in for the little ones and a show like Milkshake Party Party Live, particularly for the younger ones, is enjoyable and a great way for them to be introduced to the theatre.”
The still extraordinarily popular Riverdance returns (read my interview with executive producer Julian Erksine online now) as does the Russian State Ballet and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with local support from Suffolk soprano star Laura Wright and Essex tenor James Edwards.
Agatha Christie’s record-breaking thriller The Mousetrap is one of many first-time visitors.
“Every now and again we have a show that captures people’s imagination and I think The Mousetrap is one of those everybody’s heard of it. Whenever you say to them ‘have you seen it’ they say ‘no’. It’s drama first and foremost and we only do dramas if we think they’re going to be very popular; it’s already selling very well and it’s something a bit different.
“Dreamboats and Miniskirts is another Bill Kenwright production and he produces great shows that people want to see. The Full Monty’s a big, brash, blockbuster of a musical. Not here till next March, it’s a very good show with a good cast. I think it will sell well.
“Ha Ha Hood is an interesting one. I don’t think it’s a name people have heard, at the same time fantastic cast,” says David of the show, which features Cannon and Ball and Su Pollard.
Comedy is still probably both theatres’ best genre in terms of ticket sales. That trend’s likely to continue with this season’s line-up.
“Dawn French has announced a second date, there’s quite good availability for that. Jimmy Carr and John Bishop have already sold out. We’ve Frank Skinner, Alan Davies and Dave Gorman’s shows aren’t the norm. Mr Davidson returns, he’s been here a lot over the years and will have local things to say... It’s nice to see new names coming through as well.”
Music also continues to be a big draw, with more new visitors.
“Clannard is an interesting one. When people think of the Regent they think of music first and foremost so I’m always quite pleased when we have different high profile music here. Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro are selling really well.
“We would love to have week after week of fantastic West End shows that sell-out but that’s not practically possible so what we do is offer a mix and say yes, there are the tribute shows in there and they all have very different audiences - Christmas with the Rat Pack is a really good show and Australian Pink Floyd are always incredibily popular.”
Bryony Rudkin, Ipswich Borough Council’s culture and leisure portfolio-holder, says there is so much to come to the Regent for.
“We’re all looking forward to the new season and some fantastic shows. When the refurbishment is done, our customers will enjoy shows in more comfort as we have improved the air conditioning and heating and also enhanced some of the features of this iconic theatre. I am pleased to say this major building project will be completed on time and on budget.
“We should also remember we have some great music and entertainment over at the Corn Exchange so I want to encourage people to go to www.ipswichregent.com for details of shows at both venues.”
Get your Ipswich Regent and Corn Exchange autumn-winter season programme in today’s East Anglian Daily Times and tomorrow’s Ipswich Star as well as this week’s Coastal Scene.