A Suffolk theatre company is looking ahead to its “biggest and best” ever year despite two years of Covid woes
“Theatre only survives when people come and get involved” – that is the casting call from Matthew Townshend of Matthew Townshend Productions (mtp) ahead of his biggest plans to date.
Projects for the year start in June with a week of Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Southwold, followed by an event at Southwold Arts Festival in July.
mtp’s annual theatre season Theatre on the Coast (TOTC) will also be branching out of Suffolk for the very first time to show the country the arts will not just survive – but thrive – post-Covid in a feel-good stage musical version of 1960s movie classic “Summer Holiday”.
Matthew said: “I am really excited about what we’re offering our audiences this summer.
“It is going to be bigger, better and longer than ever before. We have three separate events from June to September and there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
As part of the Jubilee celebration week at Southwold Arts Centre, mtp will be welcoming comedian Tim FitzHigham as well as award-winning author Stewart Ross with his new book “Queen Elizabeth II for Dummies”.
This summer’s TOTC musical, in collaboration with Sheringham Little Theatre, will see the professional cast travel together with a vintage London double decker bus, stopping in Reydon, Great Yarmouth and Sheringham.
The bumper plans come thanks to a significant Arts Council England grant to mtp, securing its future after the troubles of Covid.
More than £1.2billion has already been awarded by Arts Council England from the unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund, supporting around 5,000 individual organisations and sites across the country ranging from local museums to West End theatres.
It also supports grassroots music venues and festivals, and organisations in the cultural and heritage supply-chains.
The crucial funding for mtp came after a campaign which saw generous supporters raise more than £8,000 for TOTC.
Matthew added: “After the last two years, who can’t be excited? It has been a real challenge, but we are ready to go.
“Theatre only survives when the people who come to it, the locals and the holidaymakers, get involved.
“We wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t been offered the lifeline from the Cultural Recovery Fund from Arts Council England. We are incredibly grateful for their spectacular support.
“But we also wouldn’t have received that had we not been able to tell them that more than 140 people were generous enough to put their hands in their pockets in our Crowdfunder last year.
“That is very special, and it really is humbling to think people wanted to support us so much they would do that.”
Those wanting to learn more about this year’s shows and how to get involved can visit the What’s On page