Lowestoft Foodbank

The community musical Oliver! currently in production by The Seagull and Marina Theatre for the show in August have teamed up with Lowestoft Foodbank to promote the show and raise some funds and supplies for the charity working to combat poverty and hunger across the area.

‘It felt like a really appropriate alliance’ said Karen Read, Manager of the Seagull and one of the producers. ‘The whole aim of working together is to show the strength of what we can achieve as a partnership but also to contribute to the community in the process’ she added. 

Emma Butler Smith, CEO at Marina Theatre, was equally enthusiastic, ‘Poverty and hunger are big themes in Oliver and, sadly, just as relevant today so we approached the Foodbank and were delighted when they felt it was a good match.’

Ben Parish, from Foodbank said, ‘We are very pleased to be supporting the collaborative production of Oliver! by The Seagull and Marina Theatre. The topic of food poverty is still as relevant in 2018 as it was when Dickens wrote Oliver Twist. We are working with churches and community organisations across Lowestoft and the surrounding areas to support people in need, signpost them to other services, and to play our part in reducing food poverty.’

On Sunday 24 June from 11 – 5 at The Seagull people can contribute or donate food and use the Pakefield carpark as a drop off point and to promote a new initiative from Foodbank – an option to donate via direct debit to help with the overheads involved in running the project and the buildings.

With an amazing cast and a production team from the area and the local drama and music groups, the show is going to be something special. Be transported back to the world of Dickens’ classic, bursting with energy and fun and with all the beloved songs, breath-taking dance and talented kids you could ask for. With Nancy, Dodger, Fagin and a wonderful company, come and join the gang for this epic show.

Tickets start from £11.75 – £13.75, 23 August – 1 September 2018

To book, call the box office on 01502 533200 or visit www.marinatheatre.co.uk

Oliver! by arrangement with MusicScope and Stage Musicals Ltd of New York


The original theatre started life in the 1870’s as a roller skating rink, where the owners erected a make-shift stage and renamed it The Rink Theatre. The ‘Rink’ was converted into the Marina in 1897 and, on April 26, the Haymarket Drama Society were the first to perform on the stage with Peter the Penman by Sir Charles Young.

The basis of our current theatre building was then erected, largely on the foundations of the original, and was designed by Ernest Runtz and Co. During its heyday, seven different pantomimes were presented, along with summer shows such as the musical comedies of McDonald and Young along with visits from legends including Gracie Fields and Ralph Richardson.

The Marina operated as a live venue until 1929.

Briefly used during the Second World War it was used as a temporary mortuary and a reception centre for evacuated children.

Marina Theatre closed on Christmas Eve, 1984.

Bought by Waveney District Council in 1985, 24 hours before a demolition deadline, set by EMI, the Marina underwent a huge renovation which included the reconstruction of the dressing room area and the construction of a new toilet block to serve the circle and bar areas. 

1988 the Marina re-opened as the new Civic Theatre and Cultural Centre with a concert given by 1970’s rock and roll star Rick Wakeman. 

Following the first visit of the Moscow City Ballet and Orchestra, the venue has hosted world-class opera and acts as diverse as Chinese Acrobats to Ken Dodd, online pokies and in 2005, a residence of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – one of only two venues outside London to be granted such a prestigious honour.

In 2011, the Theatre again faced an uncertain future but was saved by the formation of Marina Theatre Trust. Early in 2012 the Trust announced ambitious plans to extend the theatre’s public areas to include the creation of a ground floor Café Bar, new office facilities and improvements to the venues loading area. Following an enormous fundraising effort were officially opened in September. The Zenith Building which houses the café and box office is currently being purchased by Lowestoft Town Council. Since then, the Marina Theatre has staged a whole host of West End musicals, top class comedians, plays and other events, in addition to the continued residency of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.