Stowmarket cinema The Regal kicks off new era with all-female management team
A cinema’s all-female management team is preparing for a busy year as the business expands into a multi-purpose venue.
The Regal in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket is one of the town’s most popular venues with daily showings of the latest films and the 1936 Café Bar serving regular customers.
This year has kicked off with a new era as previous manager David Marsh left and Bethany Couch filled the position.
She said: “When we were putting all the managers together, I honestly hadn’t really clocked it - but then someone realised ‘wow you’ve got a core female team’ - and we just thought that’s rather amazing.
“We get comments all the time about ‘girl power’ and everything - which is nice but really it’s just about choosing the best team for the job at the end of the day.
“We’re so excited to be growing our live shows this year and it’s all about looking at ways we can keep expanding and be that versatile venue for Stowmarket.”
Three other managerial roles were filled by Lucy King, customer service manager, Billie King, deputy general manager and Lauren Bunce, technical programme manager.
Lucy and Lauren both started in customer service roles and have progressed through the ranks to become managers at the cinema.
Lucy said: “I think what I enjoy most about the job is seeing our customers, we have so many regulars and I’ve really built up a good relationship with them which is so lovely.
“It’s nice to be able to feel like we are offering a friendly place to come to - almost like a second home for some people.”
The rapport between the team and customers has built up so much over the years that even Christmas cards were exchanged last month.
Lauren said that since the £3.7 million refurbishment in 2021, the addition of two more screens has allowed the business to expand.
She said: “Having more screens gives us so many more options to show a range of films and also host more live shows which is really exciting.
“We’re also really happy with how well the café has been going - even this morning we’ve seen 60 customers come in during the breakfast rush and that’s been really consistent.”
The Regal has hosted five National Theatre performances so far and has more performances lined up with a production Othello on Thursday, February 23.
Alongside screening the latest releases, the cinema also hosts regular comedy nights, pottery classes and upcoming opera and ballet performances.
Billie King, who was crucial to the success of the comedy shows, said: “If you scroll through our website you’ll see the huge variety of upcoming events we have on offer.
“A lot people think we’re just a cinema - but actually we’re not, we’re very much a multi-purpose venue who put on a lot of different things."