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Regal Theatre in Stowmarket officially opens after £3.6 million renovation and expansion project




There was palpable excitement in the air at the official opening of the Regal Theatre in Stowmarket this morning.

A red carpet was laid out as town leaders, schoolchildren and cinema staff gathered outside the historic building which has undergone a £3.6million renovation and expansion.

The cinema, once reopen to the public, will employ 20 full-time and part-time staff.

Stowmarket town mayor Keith Scarff said it was ‘wonderful’ to be opening the building today.

“It’s something the town council have been waiting for for ages, or seemingly like ages," he said.

“And the fact that we're at where we’re at today is fantastic.”

Stowmarket town mayor Keith Scarff, BBC film critic James King and Cllr Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council deputy leader and cabinet member for economic growth.
Stowmarket town mayor Keith Scarff, BBC film critic James King and Cllr Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council deputy leader and cabinet member for economic growth.

As part of the renovation, there is a new café and bar area, three new auditoria fitted with plush seating, state-of-the-art audio-visual technology and new toilet facilities and car park with EV charging points.

Emphasis was put on ensuring many of the original features of the existing building built back in 1936 were restored and preserved.

The project has been in the pipeline for almost a decade and mayor Scarff said residents had been noticeably excited about the opening.

“There’s a real buzz around the town," he said. “Social media is alive.

One of the newly-refurbished auditoriums.
One of the newly-refurbished auditoriums.

“There’s a lot of interest, a lot of pre-booking for the cinema.

“When I go around town people are always going ‘how’s it going at the Regal?’

“There’s a real buzz and an expectation and I don’t think people will be disappointed when they come.”

BBC film critic James King was on hand to officially cut the ribbon and pronounce the Regal open earlier today. (47582453)
BBC film critic James King was on hand to officially cut the ribbon and pronounce the Regal open earlier today. (47582453)

The theatre doors will formally open to the public this Friday.

Some of the first films on offer include Peter Rabbit 2, Kong Vs. Godzilla, Nomadland and Cruella.

The new café and bar area.
The new café and bar area.

The newly-renovated space will also be used for community groups including the Stowmarket Operatic and Dramatic Society and the Stowmarket Local History Group.

Businesses will also look to use the space for conferences and events.

Cllr Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council deputy leader and cabinet member for economic growth, said the council saw the Regal as a 'flagship' and 'gateway' for Stowmarket.

"The whole town is feeling quite excited," he said.

"But it's taken time but I think that the contractors have done an amazing job in bringing it forward, especially given the Covid situation that we've been, still are in."

David Marsh, theatre manager, said he was absolutely thrilled to welcome their first official guests today.

"I hope all our visitors will be impressed with the new look theatre, the beautifully renovated features and the introduction of the latest technology that will enhance the cinema experience," he said.

For more information on the Regal, go to: www.regalstowmarket.co.uk

Read more: All the latest news from Stowmarket