Grants awarded to Players Theatre
The Players Theatre, situated on Battery Green Road, Lowestoft has been awarded a series of small grants which have been used to fund much needed developments.
The first was a grant of £4,920 from the Theatres Trust, an organisation which champions the future of live performance, by protecting and supporting theatre buildings. This together with a grant of £2,500 from The Suffolk Community Restart Fund has been used for a ‘knock through’ from the Theatre Bar to the main Auditorium through a previous archway and the installation of a specially made set of sound proof bi fold doors.
“The idea of carrying out the knock through has been around for some time” said Graham Jermyn from the Players Theatre who applied to the Theatres Trust for the Grant.
“Thanks to the Theatres Trust and the Suffolk Community Restart Fund we have finally been able to implement our plans which will allow our patrons to enter and leave the Auditorium with more space around them. The original entrance often created a bit of a bottleneck, this was of particular concern following the pandemic.”
Ryan Takman who manages scheduling at the Theatre said “The new doors are fantastic as they create more flexibility. Last weekend for our Comedy Night theatre goers were able to enter through the new doors which were then closed for the performance. On Saturday (13 November) the doors will be kept open all evening for our guest performers Let There Be Rock – an AC/DC tribute act. This will allow everyone to enjoy the music throughout the evening, even when they pop to the bar to refill their glass.”
The knock through and installation of the doors didn’t come without problems as the work had to be scheduled between the Lowestoft Players’ rehearsals for their production of Joseph and live shows with audiences.
The Players Theatre, formally known as The Bethel was built in 1899 with the archway bricked up at a later date using very strong but notoriously messy Fletton Bricks.
“Although our builders were very tidy” added Graham Jermyn “Dust from the bricks managed to get just about everywhere within the building.”
As soon as the builders finished work for the day industrial vacuum cleaners were used by a small army of Theatre Volunteers to keep the dust under control so that that the Theatre could still be used for evening rehearsals. The doors could not be ordered until the knock through was complete and tidy so a temporary sound proof partition was erected whilst the doors were being manufactured. This was in place throughout the show run of Joseph but was taken down immediately after the final performance on Sunday 10 October. The doors were installed the following day.
The Players Theatre has also received a generous grant of £1,900 from the Adams Community Fund which has been used to purchase a glass washer for the bar.
Annie Richards-Croft, a Players Theatre volunteer who manages the bar said “The new glass washer is just fantastic. Previously we had to hand wash all glasses, now they are all hygienically clean and shiny within just a few minutes - I just love it!”
The Players Theatre is owned and operated by The Lowestoft Players, a registered charity. The Lowestoft Players have been entertaining the people of Lowestoft since 1967 with their pantomimes, musical theatre, plays, reviews and Christmas Spectaculars. They acquired the Theatre in 2008. It was used initially as a rehearsal space. In 2009 with much hard work from volunteers and the receipt of several small grants it was transformed into a performance venue. The Players Theatre is also the most Easterly Theatre in Britain!