We won the Lifetime Achievement Award!

Left to Right: Julie Cole (Head of Marketing and Sales), Emma Suckling (Head of Development), Owen Calvert-Lyons (Artistic Director & CEO) and Dave Thwaites (Technical Manager).

We were so pleased to win and to have been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award sponsored by Jaynic at the Bury Free Press Business Awards! A huge congratulations to everyone who was nominated for all of the awards, we have some truly wonderful businesses in Bury St Edmunds! Also a huge congratulations to our dedicated team of staff and volunteers who work so hard all year round – you make our theatre great!
Thank you so much to all of you who decided that we were worthy winners and read below to find out more about what happens in Theatre Royal aside from on our 203-year-old stage:
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds works to transform the lives of people in the local community through the power of the performing arts. We believe that everyone, at all stages of their lives, regardless of background or personal circumstance should have equal opportunity to engage in extraordinary cultural experiences. Over the last 5 years Theatre Royal has reached over 300,000 people through our performing arts and creative learning offers.
We aim to inspire young people, to give local people a voice, to serve our community and to reach out to marginalised groups for whom theatre and the arts may otherwise be inaccessible. In order to help us to deliver all of this we support and nurture a brilliant ecology of freelance artists: writers, producers, set designers, technicians, and actors to name but a few.
We offer a year-round programme of theatre productions made in Bury St Edmunds, including our own produced pantomime alongside a wide range of drama, music, comedy, dance and community productions (which support our community through hire to local amateur companies) from visiting companies. Our most recent in-house production was The Secret Garden this summer, proceeded by Home, I’m Darling which both received rave reviews from our audiences! Our in-house pantomime, The Legend of Robin Hood starting on Fri 25 Nov.
Our Creative Learning team has established relationships with 91 schools, PRUs and Further Education Colleges across the region. Our Doorstep Festival tours high-quality theatre to rural primary schools, reaching over 3500 children each year. We play a key role in the education of children and young people and work with Primary, Middle, Secondary, SEN schools, PRU’s and Further Education institutes throughout the year. Our Tiny Plays, BIG IDEAS project (funded by Arts Council England and Periscope LCEP) sends a team of playwrights into Suffolk primary schools to teach them how to write their first play. 900 children have taken part in this project over the last 13 months, each submitting a play, from which 24 plays were chosen to be performed by a cast of professional actors on the Theatre Royal stage.
Our year-round Youth Theatre (supported by Anglia Suspended Ceilings) provides a creative education programme for young people aged 6-22 from all backgrounds. This year we presented two shows with our Youth Theatre: Stay Brave Brian Gravy and Bright Young Things, supported by Anglia Suspended Ceilings and West Suffolk Council Locality Funding. In September 2021 we launched two new participation groups for learning-disabled and neurodivergent children. This programme’s pilot year was funded by St Edmunds Trust and now GeeWizz Charity has committed to a multi-year funding agreement to ensure that this work can expand and develop in the coming years.
We pride ourselves on putting our community at the heart of everything we do. Our performing arts programme is augmented by a wide-reaching & diverse Creative Learning offer which engages targeted community groups through bespoke partnerships. Our community engagement programme focuses on working with vulnerable people including domestic abuse survivors, homeless people, people going through recovery from addiction, older people, adults with learning disabilities and BAME communities. We work with partner venues and organisations including The Women’s Refuge, Suffolk Mind, Bury Drop In, Art Heads, The Mix (Stowmarket), and The Benjamin Foundation (Thetford) to deliver these programmes. Our work focuses on reaching marginalised groups and ensuring their voices are heard through a programme of outreach workshops and dedicated sharing and performance.
Our principal sponsor, Jaynic, and main sponsors Greene King Brewery, Chassis Cab-DAF, Churchgates and Ellisons Solicitors, all help to enable our work, both on and off stage. We are so fortunate to have the loyal and ongoing support of individuals who also support our work and safeguard the theatre’s future, ensuring that Theatre Royal continues to thrive and offer all that it does for the community of West Suffolk.
A big thanks again and we hope to see you very soon at Theatre Royal!

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