When The Regal in Stowmarket will close, when it will reopen and where films will be shown in the meantime
Work on delivering a £3.6million upgrade to Stowmarket Regal theatre is set to begin as proponents hope the project will be a draw for film fans across the county.
The work will see three cinema screens, a café and a bar added onto the hub in Ipswich Street, which last year attracted 70,000 visitors.
Stowmarket Town Council and Mid Suffolk District Council, are contributing £1.04m and £2.56m respectively and say work will begin at the start of March with completion estimated for the end of this year.
The building will be closed for construction during this time, but some films will be shown at the John Peel Centre in Church Walk from the beginning of April - a link they are calling 'Regal on the Road'.
A spokesman for the town council said: "By providing a modern entertainment centre at the eastern gateway of the town, near key eateries, it is hoped the theatre will support the development local day and night time economies. It is part of the vision towards becoming a growing cultural, creative and tech centre in the east of England."
The works will also see front of house improvements, improved audio visual and upgrades to the adjacent car park.
David Marsh, theatre manager, said the number of visitors had grown from 10,000 to 70,000 in the past ten years.
"We recognise we need to modernise our leisure facilities to match customers’ expectations and growing visitor numbers," he said. "This is an exciting time."
The Regal is primarily a cinema and shows a range of new release films, as well as event cinema screenings and shows.
It will completely close on February 23 for the duration. The Regal is the only cinema in mid Suffolk and typically shows 24-28 films per week. The John Peel Centre will show ten.
Stowmarket Mayor Paul Ekpenyong said a public consultation held last year saw 99 per cent of respondents vote in favour of the plans.
“It’s great the project is backed by our local community, and I know we are all eagerly looking forward to seeing the new-look Regal open its doors later this year.
"This work builds on some of the town’s other key projects, including a multi-million pound vision for prosperity plan and the launch of the new Innovation Labs Stowmarket."