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Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds announces it will open its doors in May

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The Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, is to re-open in May, it was announced today.

The theatre will celebrate the milestone with a new version of one of the world’s great adventure stories, Around the World in Eighty Days, directed by Owen Calvert-Lyons, the theatre’s artistic director, which opens on May 21.

Owen, who took up his post in June, said: "When I was fortunate enough to join Theatre Royal last summer I never anticipated it would be almost a year before I would be putting productions on to the stage. Yet here we are, after the most unbelievable year, preparing for reopening.

Owen Calvert-Lyons (45424080)
Owen Calvert-Lyons (45424080)

"Theatre Royal has at its heart a loyal and supportive audience who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us during the darkest of recent months. I cannot wait to throw open the doors and invite them in."

The opening celebrations will continue with two special events. On May 23 actors Robert and Philip Glenister will be on stage for an entertaining evening in conversation about life, love, filming and theatre.

Then, on May 30, award-winning coloratura soprano Christina Johnston will present an intimate evening of uplifting and iconic operatic and classical pieces accompanied by pianist Geoff Lavery.

Around the World in Eighty Days (45424084)
Around the World in Eighty Days (45424084)

Three further fund-raising events will follow in the summer: on June 20 journalist John Sergeant will be joined by Terry Waite for an evening of conversation. On July 1, Christopher Biggins will be on stage with Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph. Finally, the Daily Telegraph’s cartoonist Matt Pritchett MBE will treat audience members to an insight into his world.

Owen said: "Now, more than ever, it is important we support the talent that Suffolk has to offer, which is why we are proud to have so many productions which feature local people performing on our stage: Irving Stage Company and their musical production of Company; Bury St Edmunds Operatic and Dramatic Society and their production of Sherlock Holmes’ most spine-chilling mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles; CTC Foundation College and their Class of 20/21 Graduate Showcase and Suffolk Young People’s Theatre, who will transport us to the fantastical world of D. Seuss in the musical extravaganza – Seussical The Musical."

The first few weeks of opening will be with socially distanced seating and a range of Covid-safe measures designed to give customers confidence in returning: Bubble seating in the auditorium; one-way systems; dedicated entrances; an upgraded air-handling system, deep cleans and effective sanitisation.

Owen added: "All being well, we hope to return to a full auditorium from June 22, if restrictions allow."

The programme also features some shows rescheduled from last year: comedian Greg Byron; Oddsocks Production of Comedy of Errors; fast-paced improv with Austentatious and comedy drama in the form of Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular.

This year’s pantomime, Cinderella, will also go back on sale.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Bury St Edmunds