Royal Philarmonic coup for Lowestoft

An East Anglian theatre last night announced a major coup after the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra agreed to extend its residency to a fourth year.

An East Anglian theatre last night announced a major coup after the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra agreed to extend its residency to a fourth year.

Bosses at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre have credited the signing of the RPO, which has regularly played to full houses, as a catalyst for securing other top productions.

Now the alliance is to continue for at least another year through 2008, with the announcement made to a sell-out audience at last night's launch of the 2007 season.

Martin Halliday, service manager of venues at Waveney, said: "It is tremendous news that the RPO has agreed to extend its association with us. 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.


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"To have the world's top orchestra resident in our town has already seen capacity audiences so far and tickets for the 2007 season are already in great demand. Since the residency began, we have gone on to secure a huge array of top artists, events and productions and this is as a directly result of our link with the RPO."

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 players. In 1966, the Queen conferred the Royal title on the orchestra.

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While the RPO's main base is in London, it granted the 750-seat Marina one of only three residencies outside the capital - a link since hailed as one of the most successful of its kind in the UK.

RPO managing director Ian Maclay said: "We are thrilled that the RPO residency has been so successful in Lowestoft and are delighted to have agreed to extend the residency at the Marina Theatre for a further year in 2008."

The RPO began its 2007 season last night, with a gala performance featuring extracts from many classical favourites. Its three-year residency was due to come to an end in December, with a Christmas performance, but now the theatre's box office will be gearing up for another rush for the 2008 season.

As well as its Marina residency, the RPO has also been involved with local schools, choral societies and the wider community.

Waveney district councillor Stephen Ardley, whose portfolio includes the Marina, said: "In recent years, our Marina Theatre has become one of the leading civic venues in the UK with a programme of artists and events that would not be out of place in a major city.

"I would go as far to say that the venue has a better mix of entertainment that any venue in the region and provides a much needed boost to not only tourism and the local economy, but the entire cultural well-being of the district."

For details of concerts and tickets, contact the Marina box office on 01502 533200.

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