Orchestra to return for fifth season

Alasdair McGregor Lowestoft's Marina Theatre is set to announce the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is extending its residency to a fifth year after proving a big hit with audiences.

Alasdair McGregor

An East Anglian theatre is set to announce the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is extending its residency to a fifth year after proving a big hit with audiences.

The EDP understands the confirmation that Lowestoft's Marina Theatre has secured the services of the RPO could be made as soon as tonight during its sell-out summer concert.

It represents another major coup for the coastal theatre, which has consistently punched above its weight with the standard of shows it brings to the town.

Earlier this year, theatre bosses urged the public to ensure the RPO stayed in the region by flocking to its performances and this has resulted in more sell-out shows during this year.

While the RPO's main base is in London, it grants a handful of residencies outside the capital and its links with Lowestoft have been previously hailed as among its most successful.

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Speaking last year, theatre manager Martin Halliday said: “It was a huge gamble for both the venue and the orchestra to take and I am delighted it has proved such a big success.

“Since the residency began, we have gone on to secure a huge array of top artists, events and productions, and this is as a direct result of our link with the RPO,” he said.

Sir Thomas Beecham founded the RPO in 1946, with the aim of creating an ensemble with an emphasis on quality that would attract the world's best performers. In 1966, the Queen conferred the Royal title on the orchestra.

As well as its Marina Theatre residency, the RPO has also thrown itself into the cultural life of Lowestoft through its involvement with local schools and other community groups.

Waveney District Council, which runs the Marina Theatre, has previously spoken of the RPO's positive impact on the local economy, tourism and the “cultural wellbeing” of the area.