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Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds' immersive walking stories audio trails 'capture the imagination'




A theatre closed due to coronavirus has launched a series of immersive audio trails to tell hidden stories of towns and villages which ‘capture the imagination’.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has recorded Walking Stories voiced by professional actors including Terry Molloy, who plays Mike Tucker on The Archers and was Davros on Doctor Who.

The venue, in Westgate Street, has been closed since March and appealed for hidden stories from across Suffolk for the project with eight selected.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has launched its Walking Stories trails with patrons, sponsors, writers and actors taking part in one of the trails in Lavenham. Picture by Mecha Morton (42491697)
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has launched its Walking Stories trails with patrons, sponsors, writers and actors taking part in one of the trails in Lavenham. Picture by Mecha Morton (42491697)

Owen Calvert-Lyons, CEO and artistic director, said: “Some are based on historical facts but use fictional characters to bring them to life, others take a slice of history and recount it from the voice of local residents at the time and one is entirely fictional but set in the Bury St Edmunds streets we know so well.

“One is a beautifully fanciful walk straight from the imagination of a mum and her children on their adventurous walk home from school.

“These are the stories which get better every time you hear them, the stories which capture the imagination and make you see the world afresh.”

The stories, which cover Bury, Newmarket , Thurston, Hessett and Lavenham , are accompanied by hand drawn maps with original music and sound design by composer David Lewington. They range in length from 10 to 20 minutes.

Owen added: “We have designed this project specifically for these extraordinary times. People can listen to these stories individually and outdoors, enabling them to safely come back out into the streets and celebrate the place where they live.”

To download the stories and maps, visit www.theatreroyal.org/walking-stories/

Meanwhile, the Theatre Royal was illuminated red on Wednesday night to highlight the financial crisis facing the performing arts industry due to the pandemic.

The Government’s furlough scheme has allowed the theatre to pay all contracted and casual staff for the seven months to the end of October and ‘retain the majority of contracted staff from November onwards’.

It has applied to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund which offers financial support for cultural organisations financially stable before Covid-19 but now at risk of failure. The venue expects to hear the outcome of its application within the next week. Its reopening appeal has also raised more than £72,000.

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