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Start planning for a great 2022 packed full of entertainment as the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, announces its spring season



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Be it stand-up, drama, music, dance or family entertainment, there’s something for everyone in the Theatre Royal’s spring season that has just been announced.

As well as its own production, comedy Home I’m Darling, there’s a raft of special events helping to raise funds for the last remaining Regency theatre in the country, youth theatre productions and shows from local amatuer groups.

Top names in comedy – like Jenny Eclair and Reginald D Hunter – will be paying a visit, and there’s drama aplenty with Frankenstein and Ladykiller to name but two.

Jenny Eclair (53459146)
Jenny Eclair (53459146)

No season would be complete without the appearance of The Bard, and add to that music from a multitude of genres and school holiday fun to keep the children happy and your entertainment needs are fully catered for. Take a peak and make your selections.

Here’s the full rundown:

THEATRE ROYAL PRODUCTION

Home I’m Darling, written by Laura Wade and directed by Theatre Royal’s Artistic Director, Owen Calvert-Lyons. When Judy sets out to become the perfect 1950s housewife, the Martins are living the dream. Johnny has a beautiful wife, beautiful home and a promotion on the horizon. Judy is revelling in the joys of domesticity; making cakes, cocktails and homemade marmalade. But cracks are starting to appear. . .

Friday, March 18 - Saturday, April 2

SPECIAL EVENTS

An Evening with Kit & McConnell on Tuesday, January 25.

Formerly known as Kit & The Widow, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, veteran of Radio 4’s Just A Minute, returns to the theatre with James McConnel for an evening of comedy cabaret songs. This event is hosted in partnership with Ormiston Families with proceeds split between both causes.

Golf Day, Thursday, April 7 at Thetford Golf Club.

Entries are welcomed from teams of four for a relaxed day of golf, kicking off with a bacon roll and rounded off to a tee with fish and chips.

Bury St Edmunds Concert Band, Sunday, May 1.

The evening of musical entertainment will also be broadcast live on Radio 3 and premiere a new composition written for the band by composer Litha Efthymiou.

A Night at the Musicals with Irving Stage Company, Friday and Saturday, July 1-2. An evening of songs from the most popular West End and Broadway shows, including Chicago, Company, Me & My Girl and many more. Ticket price includes a pre-show drinks reception.

THEATRE ROYAL YOUTH THEATRE

Theatre Royal’s Education and Community Engagement projects attract a range of participants of all ages and abilities.

Tiny Plays Big Ideas (53459149)
Tiny Plays Big Ideas (53459149)

Tiny Play, Big Ideas was launched in 2021 and is supported by Arts Council England, Suffolk County Council, Festival Bridge and Periscope. The project sees professional playwrights teaching primary school children to write their first play through a series of workshops in schools. A few are chosen and performed on stage by professional actors. Tuesday, April 5.

Theatre Royal’s Youth Theatre groups with participants ranging in age from eight to 16 will be presenting two short plays in one evening. Stay Brave Brian Gravy performed by the eight to 11 year olds is about a boy who finds life hard without his collection of imaginary friends to guide and support him.

Bright. Young. Things. Performed by the 12 to 16 year olds sees a group of six young people battle through a series of challenges as they compete to be known as Britain’s Brainiest Child, exploring the power of young people when they truly use their mind for the power of good.

Tuesday, April 19, Wednesday, April 20, Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23.

STAND UP COMEDY

Theatre Royal’s own Comedy Club returns for two nights this season – Friday, January 28 and Wednesday, June 29.

These events offer a great line-up of comedians from across the UK touring circuit.

On Friday, January 21, Jenny Éclair, having hit 60, confronts a new decade of decrepitude. Should she celebrate or crawl into a hole?

Dylan Moran on Wednesday, April 5 with We Got This which promises to be a joyously furious romp through the frustration of modern-day life.

Reginald D Hunter takes to the stage on Thursday, April 7 with Bombe Shuffleur – climate change, mass unemployment, economic pandemics and the rise of global fascism. What could this man possibly say to upset you?

Bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, Patrick Kielty’s Borderline on Sunday, May 15 is a comedic letter to the future of our islands as this Northern Ireland native returns to his satirical roots.

DRAMA

Blackeyed Theatre return with a thrilling adaptation of Mary Shelley’s gothic horror masterpiece, Frankenstein, Tuesday-Saturday, February 1-5.

Frankenstein (53459155)
Frankenstein (53459155)

Geneva 1816, Victor Frankenstein obsesses in the pursuit of nature’s secret, the elixir of life itself. But nothing can prepare him for what he creates.

The popular Vamos Theatre return on Thursday, February 10 with Dead Good, a funny, poignant show celebrating friendship and the importance of living every precious day to the full.

A hotel room, a maid and a dead woman. . . award-winning smash-hit Ladykiller on Saturday, February 12 is a blood-soaked morality tale about victimhood, power and flipping the gender rule book on psychopathy.

Classic Theatre present Same Time Next Year, Tuesday-Saturday, February 15-19.

Bittersweet, nostalgic and funny portrait of Doris and George who meet in 1951 in a chance encounter in a Californian hotel that leads to a passionate one-night stand. Both are married to other people but aware this might be the start of something, begin a romantic love affair that lasts 25 years!

When The Long Trick’s Over from High Tide on Wednesday, March 2 is from Olivier award-winning writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and tells the story of two sisters with a dream of swimming the channel – the hardest open water swim in the world. With grief and joy, 90s pop songs, oil tankers and jelly babies, love persists whatever the distance and however perilous the journey to the other side.

Pilot Theatre’s The Bone Sparrow Tuesday-Saturday, March 8-12, is a co-production with York Theatre Royal, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Mercury Theatre Colchester and Derby Theatre. This powerful play follows Subhi, a refugee born in an Australian permanent detention centre who has only known life behind the fences. As he grows, his imagination grows with it until it is bursting at the limits of his world.

Another co-production in May, this time between Theatre Royal, New Wolsey Theatre, Norwich Theatre Royal and John Stalker Productions – The Birds and the Bees, Tuesday-Saturday, May 3-7, is a hilarious comedy romp set on Sarah’s East Anglian farm. The honeybees, like Sarah’s love life, are dropping like flies! She hasn’t slept with anyone since her husband bolted years ago, her daughter’s marriage (and turkey farm) is going bust and her neighbour is fighting a losing battle with his sugar beet yield and his ‘no strings’ relationships. This play has a heart as big as the laughs it brings.

Rescheduled from ‘that time’ in 2020, The Glee Club is a raucous comedy featuring live music. Five hard-working, hard-drinking miners and a church organist are rehearsing frantically for the local gala. This is the Glee Club in the Summer of ’62. Britain and music are about to change forever – and so are the lives of these men! Tuesday-Saturday, June 7-11.

Glee Club (53459153)
Glee Club (53459153)

London Classic Theatre’s second visit to the theatre is with Boeing Boeing from Tuesday-Saturday, June 14-18. It’s Paris, 1962. Bernard is a successful architect with a very complicated love life. His ‘three’ fiancées are all blissfully unaware of each other in this Marc Camoletti farce.

SHAKESPEARE

Northern Broadsides bring As You Like It to the stage from Tuesday-Saturday, May 31-June 4 with their bold, refreshing style to Shakespeare’s most musical and much-loved comedy.

From Wednesday-Friday, June 22-24, Oddsocks visit with Hamlet – The Comedy, Shakespeare’s famous tragedy performed as you’ve never seen it before.

MUSIC

Whatever your taste in music, there’s something for you, kicking off with The Nick Ross Orchestra and the Glen Miller and Rat Pack Era on Saturday, January 29. Recapture the sounds of the bygone era with the classic Big Band sound of the 1940s and 50s.

This will be followed by a selection of music tributes:

Carpenters Gold, Tuesday, January 20

The Magic of the Beatles, Wednesday, January 26

Abba Reunion, Thursday, January 27

Rock for Heroes, Friday, February 11

Buddy Holly & the Cricketers, Thursday, February 24

Bowjangles, Friday, March 4

Come What May, featuring Strictly Come Dancing’s Robin Windsor, Thursday, May 3

The George Michael Story, Wednesday, May 18

Forever in Blue Jeans, the UK’s No 1 Rock n Country Show, Tuesday, June 28.

The music season is rounded off with Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra’s first visit to the theatre with The Lark’s Flight Over Suffolk on Thursday, June 30. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Suffolk Philharmonic will bring The Lark Ascending, one of the UK’s best-loved pieces of classical music, to the audience.

IMPROVISATION AND COMEDY SHOWS

Austentatious, Thursday-Saturday, May 19-21. The ingenious cast conjure up a ‘lost’ Jane Austen novel based on nothing more than a title suggested by the audience.

Then on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26, Murder She Didn’t Write welcomes the audience to become Agatha Christie as an original murder mystery play is created on audience suggestions. Back by popular demand Sunday, February 13 sees the return of Round The Horne. From the producers of the UK tours of The Goon Show and Hancock’s Half Hour comes this radio comedy classic.

On Tuesday, May 17 expect comic clichés from the Great British Detective genre and cunning detective work in Done To Death, By Jove! a genre-busting farcical comedy bringing a flurry of suspects and sleuths to discover whodunit.

FOR DANCE FANS

A Tale of Two Cities – part dance, part theatre, part fictionalised documentary on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 8-9 is a nearly unrecognisable retelling of a classic.

FAMILY FUN

Pop Princesses on Sunday, January 23 is a magical show where beautiful princesses become pop stars – a children’s pop concert featuring hits from artists such as Little Mix, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor and Miley Cyrus.

Two great family shows to enjoy in February half term – Jack & The Beanstalk featuring Patrick Lynch from CBeebies – a show for children (and their giants) with enormous shoes, tiny houses, showers of silver and gold and a big leafy explosion; and

Pinocchio from Stuff & Nonsense with hilarity, puppetry, music, and extraordinary physical tricks.

During the Easter Holidays Little Red Riding Hood will take young audiences down the path to the snowy wild wood where you’ll hear catchy songs on the wind and spot hilarious puppets between the trees. The Gruffalo returns with songs, laughs and monstrous fun as we join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood.

For the slightly older child (age 6+) and their grown ups, a great new show – How Does This Politics Thing Work Then? Jam-packed with games, it’s for anyone who thinks politics is boring, complicated or just for grown-ups.

In May half term, see Groove Into The Woods, a jazz and funk-fuelled family adventure into the deep, dark woods.

I Spy With My Little Eye is for children from two years old. Molly and Bingo the puppy invite you to Molly’s 6th birthday party with a treasure hunt, sing-along songs and lots of party games.

COMMUNITY PRODUCTIONS

Irving Stage Company present Me & My Girl, Tuesday-Saturday, April 26-30. A classic musical comedy set in the late 1930s, this nostalgic show includes toe-tapping numbers The Lambeth Walk and The Sun Has Got His Hat On.

Bury St Edmunds Operatic Dramatic Society presents Wind In The Willows, Tuesday-Saturday, May 10-14. A new musical take on Kenneth Grahame’s classic book in this up-tempo family show.

Bury Theatre Workshop presents A Bunch of Amateurs, Tuesday-Saturday, May 24-28. In Stratford St John the local am-dram group is desperate to raise funds to save their theatre and Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steel agrees to star as King Lear – thinking he will be playing the other Stratford! Enjoy the mayhem that ensues in this delightful comedy.

For more information or to book, visit theatreroyal.org