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New Project: The Commissioning Circle!

Posted on: 5th May, 2021

Theatre Royal are launching an exciting new project, the Commissioning Circle. The project will support the theatre’s artistic programme by expanding its capacity to commission new plays.

A small number of Circle Members (around 5) will fund the cost of commissioning a playwright to write a new play for Theatre Royal’s stage. As the commissioners of the play, Circle Members will play a significant part in enabling the theatre to produce an artistically excellent and creatively ambitious production each year.

The first of these opportunities will be for Nicky Werenowska’s new adaptation of Francis Hodgson Burnett’s classic story The Secret Garden to be staged at the theatre in the summer of 2022. 

This new adaptation will follow the much-loved story of The Secret Garden, exploring themes of friendship, self-discovery and acceptance whilst challenging the approach to disability in the original story and changing it into a celebration of inclusivity. The cast will be a mixture of four professional actors and 24 young people from our Youth Theatre Inclusion Groups and local SEN schools.

With a contribution of £2,000, this is a unique and exciting opportunity for theatre lovers, literary enthusiasts or business owners & entrepreneurs to commission a play and accompany it on its journey from ‘page to stage’.

Owen Calvert-Lyons, the theatre’s Artistic Director is excited to bring new writing to Bury St Edmunds, ‘this is such a unique opportunity for a keen theatre supporter to be part of the process which results in a new play being presented on our stage. Commissioning new work allows us to create productions that are fresh and inspiring for our audiences.  I’m looking forward to working with the Circle members to see where this can go.’ 

As well as enabling the growth of the theatre’s artistic programme, Commissioning Circle Members will receive benefits:

  • In a reading-group style format, Commissioning Circle members will be the first to read the play at each stage of the drafting process and discuss its evolution. 
  • They will then receive a copy of the published play
  • Commissioning Circle Members will have backstage access, enabling them to witness how the production develops including exclusive insights from the director and invitations to a dress rehearsal.
  • Commissioning Circle Members’ names will be credited in all materials including the published playtext, production programme and on Theatre Royal website.
  • Commissioning Circle Members and their guest will receive tickets to opening night including the chance to meet the cast at a drinks reception after seeing the show and complimentary programmes for the production


Commissioning Circle Applications

Applications for membership should be direct to Emma Suckling development@theatreroyal.org

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