Work on the £3.6m project to enhance and develop Stowmarket’s Regal theatre, with three modern cinema screens, a new café and bar as well as improved audio visual experience, is set to begin this Spring.
Led by Stowmarket Town Council and Mid Suffolk District Council, contributing £1.04m and £2.56m respectively, the project is part of a wider vision for Stowmarket, with the aim of improving and increasing leisure provision for the community, and attracting more visitors into the heart of the town and local area.
By providing a modern entertainment centre at the eastern gateway of the town, near key eateries, it is hoped the theatre will support the development of local day and night-time economies, and the town’s vision towards becoming a growing cultural, creative and tech centre in the east of England.
Works will include:
The works follow public consultation held last year, which saw the plans shared with the local community, with over 99% in favour of the project.
Once complete The Regal also hopes to increase its visitors as well as tourism in the Stowmarket area, with admissions to the current theatre having already grown from 10,000 to 70,000 over the past ten years.
The Regal will be running ‘Regal on the Road’ while work is ongoing in partnership with the John Peel Centre, meaning customers can catch the big screen, with more details available on The Regal website in coming months.
David Marsh, Theatre Manager at The Regal said:
“This is an exciting step for us at The Regal and for the town. We recognise that we need to modernise our leisure facilities to match customers’ expectations and growing visitor numbers, over the coming years and work towards making Stowmarket a cultural and creative hub in Suffolk in the long term.
“We’ll still be running films while the building is closed during construction – taking the “Regal on the road” from the beginning of April, with showings every week at the John Peel Centre, with potential for further partnerships. We hope this will enable our customers to enjoy cinema, while we work to achieve the new modern facilities as efficiently as possible.”
Stowmarket Town Mayor, Councillor Paul Ekpenyong, said:
“The £3.6 million refurbishment of The Regal is a flagship project for our town, with work due to commence at the start of March with completion anticipated by the end of the year.
“It’s great the project is backed by our local community, and I know we are all eagerly looking forward to seeing the new-look Regal open its doors later this year.
“In the meantime, to ensure residents don’t miss out on the big screen, the Regal will be heading out on the road, working in partnership to transform the John Peel Centre into a cinema, so residents can continue to enjoy films whilst also taking in some more of what Stowmarket has to offer.”
Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for economy, Councillor Gerard Brewster, said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting this project and believe that the redevelopment of The Regal Theatre will help to support the regeneration of one of our key town’s in the District, working alongside our partners and key stakeholders as part of the Stowmarket 5 year Vision for Prosperity action plan.
This work also forms an important step as part of our Leisure, Sport and Physical Activities and Communities Strategies, by increasing leisure provision in the town and our district; encouraging more local people and those visiting from a wider area to come and enjoy our growing cultural and creative offer in Stowmarket.
Working collaboratively is at the heart of our vision for Stowmarket and our Regal on the Road initiative provides a wonderful opportunity to do just that by showcasing our other fantastic venues in the town. Whilst we work with the Town Council to deliver the Regal Theatre redevelopment project, I would encourage everyone to come along and enjoy a new cinema experience through Regal on the Road.”
Jane Cox, Strategic Manager at The John Peel Centre said:
“The JPC is delighted to be working with Stowmarket Town Council to enable The Regal to continue its service to the local community during its renovation. We are very excited to be hosting a number of The Regal film screenings at the JPC whilst continuing to deliver the JPC programme of events and activity.”
This work builds on some of the town’s other key projects; including a multi-million pound Vision for Prosperity plan and the launch of the new Innovation Labs Stowmarket.