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RPO agree to return to town next year

PUBLISHED: 17:01 11 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:51 05 July 2010

THE sounds of one of the world's most famous orchestras will echo out loud and clear in thrilling east coast audiences again next year.

Dubbed the "Jewel in the district's crown," the link between the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Lowestoft's Marina Theatre was due to come to the end of a successful four year association in December this year - however thrilled theatre bosses have announced an extension to an historic fifth year.

THE sounds of one of the world's most famous orchestras will echo out loud and clear in thrilling east coast audiences again next year.

Dubbed the “Jewel in the district's crown,” the link between the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Lowestoft's Marina Theatre was due to come to the end of a successful four year association in December this year - however thrilled theatre bosses have announced an extension to an historic fifth year.

The 750-seat Edwardian Theatre scored a major coup when it became home to the nation's top orchestra in 2004. Back then, the RPO granted the theatre one of only three residencies outside London, and since then the link has been hailed as one of the most successful of its kind in the UK.

Managing Director of the RPO, Ian Maclay said: “I wish to thank the theatre management, local authority and in particular the residents of Waveney who have shown a great interest in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's concert series. We are delighted to be able to extend our residency at the Marina Theatre for a further year.”

Manager of the Marina Theatre, Martin Halliday, who first secured the residency for the town added: “It is tremendous news that the RPO have agreed to extend their 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 great success.

“To have the World's top orchestra resident in our town has already seen capacity audiences and tickets for the current season are in great demand. Since the residency began we have gone on to secure a huge array of top artistes, events and productions and this is a direct result of our link with the RPO.”

The RPO has already brought a host of world-class conductors, musicians and soloists to the town, Julian Lloyd Webber who appeared at the first concert told recently of how he “was entranced by the theatre's intimacy and excellent acoustics.”

Since becoming the East Anglian home of the RPO, the Marina has seen a huge boost to its growing reputation with both the public and within the entertainment industry, as theatre bosses have attracted a host of major productions, star names and West End musicals -Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is set to return in September, other major events include West End musical Buddy, a spectacular Ice Show and in December the town's first professional pantomime in almost half a century.

Waveney councillor, Stephen Ardley, whose portfolio includes the Marina said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the association is to be extended even further beyond the initial three years, since the link began our Marina Theatre has become one of the leading civic venues in the UK with a programme of artistes and events that would not be out of place in any major city - I would go as far to say that the venue has a better mix of entertainment than any venue in the region and provides a much needed boost to not only to tourism and the local economy, but the entire cultural well being of the district.”

Past seasons with the RPO have seen the association labelled “the most important event in the cultural life of the district in decades” and has also provided a huge boost to tourism in the area.

As well as the Marina residency, the orchestra has been involved in music projects with schools, choral societies and the wider community.

It is anticipated that programmes for the 2009 series will be announced in September, tickets for the remaining two concerts in the current series, which take place on September 19 and December 14, are available from the venue box office by calling 01502 533200.

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