Staff at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds have thanked people for their amazing generosity in helping the playhouse to function during the coronavirus pandemic.
It said that most of its employees have been furloughed leaving a handful working from home and has almost finished returning all tickets for cancelled shows.
But it said it has been “overwhelmed” by the generosity of those customers who have donated the value of their tickets back to the theatre or taken their refund in the form of theatre credit.
“These gestures will go some way to off-setting the losses we will incur while we are closed and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” it added.
Meanwhile, further tributes have been paid to Roy Hudd who died last month at the age of 83.
Still treading the boards, he was due to appear on stage at the Theatre Royal at the end of this month (April) in “Naturally Insane! The Life of Dan Leno”.
Roy’s “Own Musical” was the last show at theatre before it closed in 2005 for its restoration, the fundraising for which Roy played a major part in.
In 2018 he appeared twice. In a fundraising event “An Evening with Roy Hudd” and then in the summer production of “Goodnight Mister Tom”.
Roy’s most recent appearance was in October last year when he hosted “A Right Royal Revue”, a fundraising gala to celebrate the theatre’s 200th anniversary.
“We were all so fond of Roy and will cherish forever the memories of many special times, both on and off our stage. He was an inspiration and true role model to the young performers he worked with on ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ and we were so lucky at Theatre Royal to have his love and care. We send our love and thoughts to his wife Debbie and all of his family. Rest in peace Roy,” the theatre said.
And it has also been revealed that Bury St Edmunds couple, Michelle Parry and Joe Taylor, have launched an online community choir, Remote Jelly Choir, to help tackle the inevitable loneliness and feelings of isolation that many members of our community will be experiencing.
At the same time they are raising money for Theatre Royal.
Usually, Michelle and Joe perform at weddings, corporate events and as band members in the pit for musicals at the Theatre Royal, the Apex and other regional theatres. They were also due to marry in May.
Not to be beaten, Michelle and Joe created Remote Jelly Choir to help bring together the community to socialise and sing from the safety of their own homes.
You can join them on Mondays at 7.30pm to rehearse online, meet fellow members and sing along with live musicians, have access to recordings, backing tracks, resources and vocal tuition from experienced musicians, all whilst raising money for Theatre Royal.
Simply join their Facebook group and they will give you access to the online group chat and make a simple £1 donation to the Just Giving Page.
Their first recording, “Happy Ending”, was premiered on BBC Radio Suffolk on Monday, April 20.