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Rescued theatre reopens

PUBLISHED: 09:21 26 October 2007 | UPDATED: 13:44 22 October 2010

A year-long fight to save a community theatre in Lowestoft will finally come to fruition this weekend when it reopens.

The Seagull Theatre, in Pakefield, was under threat of remaining closed after attempts were made by Suffolk County Council to sell it.

A year-long fight to save a community theatre in Lowestoft will finally come to fruition this weekend when it reopens.

The Seagull Theatre, in Pakefield, was under threat of remaining closed after attempts were made by Suffolk County Council to sell it.

But thanks to a small team of dedicated volunteers supported by massive community spirit, including help from a generous benefactor,

a three-week programme of entertainment called First Flight begins on Sunday.

Festival director John Hales said: “It staggers me what we have achieved in 18 months - from a closed building to opening the doors again for three weeks. It's an achievement as a community and for the group of people who started by meeting in a pub.

“It's amazing being able to combine the talents and strengths of local people and we wouldn't have been able to do it without donations. There are so many artistic organisations who think they deserve the right to exist but we have to earn it.”

BBC jazz award winner Liane Carroll is a strong supporter of the theatre and will open the venue as part of the gala evening, which starts at 7.30pm on Sunday.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, a keen supporter of the campaign to save the Seagull, said: “Liane has been a great supporter of the Seagull Theatre. Everyone involved in the campaign to secure a future for the theatre is enormously grateful to her for the backing she has given. ”

During Sunday's interval, broadcaster Helen McDermott will hold a charity auction, including a private gig worth £150 from rock band Roxy and the Tinman, a signed and framed Kenneth Branagh photo of his Henry V speech and a month's membership at Bannatynegym.

First Flight will provide a showcase for local talent, stars from the London stage circuit and celebrities like original Darth Vader David Prowse. Tickets to spend the evening with him on Sunday, November 11, are just £10. In the intimate surroundings of the theatre he will entertain audience members with stories from his champion weightlifting days, working with Stanley Kubrick on a Clockwork Orange and his experiences on the original Star Wars trilogy and life beyond the Sith.

Tickets for Sunday's gala night and other events are available from the East Point Pavilion by the seafront in Lowestoft or by calling 01502 533600.

For full details of the events, visit www.visit-sunrisecoast.co.uk

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