Planning permission submitted for woodland theatre

A theatre in the forest is being built in Thorington Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

A planning application for the theatre has gone in to East Suffolk Council - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A project to create a woodland theatre in north Suffolk is now set to be considered by planners. 

A theatre has been constructed inside a Second World War bomb crater in Thorington, near Halesworth. 

Work on the project began in August 2020 and is now about 80% complete. 

Thorington Theatre

Thorington Theatre is now 80% complete - Credit: Silas Rayner

According to the application submitted to planners, the theatre was thought to be "a temporary use and therefore not something requiring planning permission". 

However, after concerns were raised by a third party about the structure, East Suffolk Council's enforcement officer decided that the theatre was a permanent structure and needed planning permission. 

Silas Rayner, the theatre's creator, said it was important for the theatre that all the planning rules were followed. 

"We wanted everything to be done right," said Mr Rayner. 

Construction on the theatre has continued in recent months, with the stage and seating now fully boarded out.

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Work is now focusing on areas like electrics and sorting the general area around the theatre. 

Mr Rayner said the project had received amazing support from the community. 

"We have been overwhelmed with the letters of support," said Mr Rayner. 

"To have a good news story has resonated with people."

Silas Raynor the builder of the theatre. A theatre in the forest is being built in Thorington Pictu

Silas Rayner the creator of the new theatre - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

The application has already attracted 20 comments, with just one objection recorded. 

One commenter said: "A wonderful project that will benefit the local area. A cultural hub for locals to enjoy, this will offer job opportunities and improve the local economy, especially tourism."

Others praised the Covid-secure nature of the plans and the boost to the cultural life of the area. 

The theatre already has a number of productions scheduled for this summer including A Midsummer's Night Dream and The Tempest, as well as comedy and music events too. 

Mr Rayner said there had already been a great deal of interest for next year too. 

"It's been fantastic," said Mr Rayner. 

"The interest has been really high. A lot of people wanted to book productions.

"It's going to be a good start to the year and we are already getting interest for 2022."

East Suffolk Council will make the final decision on the theatre in due course.