Outlook is positive for resilient town theatre

LOOKING GOOD: Theatre co-ordinator Nicki Murphy and film manger Simon Frampton.
LOOKING GOOD: Theatre co-ordinator Nicki Murphy and film manger Simon Frampton.
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Staff at The Quay Theatre say the venue’s financial difficulties are a thing of the past after one of the best years in its recent history.

Rumours had surfaced that the Sudbury venue was set to close after one its main users, the Quay School of Dance, announced it would be moving its classes to AFC Sudbury.

However, speaking to the Free Press this week, theatre co-ordinator Nicki Murphy dismissed these claims, saying the theatre’s dark days were firmly behind it.

“The reality is that we are still here and are moving forward,” said Mrs Murphy, who has volunteered at the theatre for 23 years.

“We have managed to keep to budget and have been very careful. We have a very diverse programme and we aim to never make a loss with anything we do.”

More than 50 volunteers play a part in the running of the venue, which was visited by comedian Jo Brand late last year.

“We are still getting the good names and people love coming here because it is such an intimate theatre,” said Mrs Murphy.

Film manager Simon Frampton said Hollywood blockbusters had also helped the Quay survive but certain genres were needed to fill the auditorium’s 125 seats.

“We have to find the right products to satisfy our core audience and play to our strengths,” he said.

“Films such as the Exotic Marigold Hotel have done very well and we will be showing Les Miserables.”

Mrs Murphy said although the theatre’s films struggled to attract younger audiences who prefer the “social experience” of larger cinemas, it still had lots to offer with summer schools, film-making, magic schools and history talks.

“It is much more than just a theatre and all the events keep the building alive,” she said.

“Sudbury is so lucky to have it and we have probably just had one of our best financial years for some time.”

The Sudbury Dramatic Society play Our Town will be staged at the theatre in March.