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While basically a steel frame construction with pre-cast concrete floors and brickwork, the entrance front is a trim neo-Georgian exercise two storeys high with a hipped roof over the front of house accommodation. The central section comprises three first floor windows set in brown brickwork all surmounted by a lead-dressed and enriched stone cornice: the entrance doors beneath are reached by the customary full-width flight of stone steps protected by a canopy. This section is flanked by rather narrow stone pavilions each topped by a pair of urns; each has a first floor window and a display recess in the ground floor rusticated work. To the left is a two-storey single bay extension of the same style and date, originally the entrance to the cheaper seats.

Acquired by the Borough Council as part of a wider redevelopment project, the theatre was reopened in 1991 for live entertainment. Attendant works included reversing a number of alterations made during Rank’s tenure, provision of a new get-in and four new dressing rooms, the general repair, redecoration and re-equipping of backstage areas. The grid is tight to the flytower roof. The public areas were also overhauled although, at the time of writing, Rank’s interior colour scheme remains. Apart from the loss many years ago of the Wurlitzer organ, its grilles set either side of the proscenium and the light fittings, the auditorium retains much of its original form and fabric.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1929 - 1987: (as ciné-variety, primarily cinema); 1991 continuing
Current state
Current use
Theatre (Theatre and Bar (Within the Regent Theatre))
3 St Helen’s Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1HE, England
Further details
Other names
Gaumont , Odeon , Ballroom , Evening Star Cirlce Lounge
  • 1929 Design/Construction:
    W E Trent
    - Architect
  • 1929 Owner/Management: Provincial Cinemas Ltd
  • 1929 - 1987 Use: (as ciné-variety, primarily cinema); 1991 continuing
  • 1952 Owner/Management: Rank
  • 1991 Alteration: improved and refurbished
    RHWL and Borough Council
    - Architect
  • 1991 Owner/Management: Ipswich Borough Council
  • Capacity
  • Capacity
    1964: 1666
    1981: 1812
    1991: 1781
  • Capacity
  • Listing
Stage type
Proscenium with very slight rake
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Stage width 6m Stage depth 2.6m
Proscenium width: 11.8m
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: 2.4m front to back; c.15m wide (originally larger)