About Us BG

About Us

The Regal is an independent multi-purpose venue consisting of 3 auditoriums and a spacious café bar. We are located in the heart of Stowmarket, in Suffolk. The venue is owned and run by Stowmarket Town Council and is a real cornerstone of the town, much loved by the local community. Alongside the latest blockbuster films, The Regal also screens live and recorded event cinema screenings from National Theatre Live, The Royal Opera House, The Royal Ballet and music concerts from the likes of André Rieu, Westlife, Coldplay and Littlemix. We also host live shows, from musical tributes to stand-up comedy and dance shows to the a Christmas pantomime - there is something for everyone!

Keep up to date with what's on at The Regal - click here to create an account and sign up to receive our weekly newsletter by selecting "yes" to "I Would Like to Receive Information by Email". We'll send you information on film times, upcoming event cinema and live shows direct to your inbox!

The venue also boasts an attractive café bar, named after the year The Regal was built - The 1936. Here you can get everything from a delicious breakfast with a hot cup of coffee to a refreshing summer salad and glass of wine or perhaps you're more of a stone baked pizza and a Coca-Cola fan. If you're looking for a bite to eat, The 1936 has something to tempt all taste buds! Click here to look at our menus. The box office also offers a tempting selection of drinks and snacks, including; cinema sweet or salted popcorn, gourmet flavoured popcorn by Popcorn Shed and Snow Shock slushies.

Opening Times

Box Office

Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 9:00pm

Sat - Sun: 10:00am - 9:00pm

Telephone Booking

Mon - Sun: 4:00pm - 5:00pm

The 1936 Café Bar

Mon - Wed: 10am - 8:30pm

Thu - Sun: 10am - 9:30pm

A Journey Through Time


The Regal was opened in 1936. It was built as a 566-seat cinema on the former Dukes Head Meadow which had previously been used for travelling fairs and circuses. Coincidentally, the meadow had also been used for mobile silent movie screenings in large tents during the early Edwardian period. Therefore, it is safe to say, that the site of the Regal has over a century of film history!

1940s, 1950s, 1960s

The cinema flourished for the next 30 years. Generations of people from Stowmarket and the surrounding area, spent their evenings and weekends at the Regal attending afternoon matinees and evening performances.


However by 1972, the once popular venue faced closure. It had been for sale for almost a year and it is said that the Regal was just two hours away from becoming a carpet warehouse. At the 11th hour, the former Stowmarket Urban District Council stepped in to save the day and ownership was transferred to Stowmarket Town Council. It received a much-needed refurbishment in 1974 and a larger stage and dressing rooms were added in 1976.


The Regal experienced some ups and downs in popularity as did the film industry as a whole during the 1980s. The Regal was chosen for the world premiere of ‘House of the Long Shadows’, the film’s stars Peter Cushing, Vincent Price & Christopher Lee all attended the Stowmarket performance. The film’s writer Michael Armstrong is reported to have said that the film producer Cannon Films were far from convinced by director Pete Walker’s work on the film, so they organised several audience test screenings away from London. The Regal’s ‘premiere’ was the first of them. Following these screenings, the film was cut by 6 minutes and Pete Walker never directed a film again! In 1985, the Regal Bar was built, reducing the seating capacity but adding much needed comfort and refreshments for patrons.


Hazel Mann, was the manager of the Regal from 1985 to 1999 and she recalls “We did have some great times; I remember people queuing all the way down to the Dukes Head every evening for two weeks when we showed Titanic in 1998. We sometimes had to fight tooth and nail to keep the Regal going, but I strongly believe the Regal was bought for the people of Stowmarket and should be treasured.”


The cinema was experiencing fierce competition from local multiplex cinemas and admissions fell to less than 7000 per year. In 2007, the venue received a refurbishment, including new seats, new curtains and a new colour scheme and in April 2008, the theatre enjoyed its highest admissions and best financial result for a generation. However, on the evening of 16th September 2009 disaster struck. At around 10pm, a fire quickly spread through the building. Due to the vigilance of neighbours and the professionalism and bravery of the fire service, the building was saved, but it had sustained serious damage.


Six months of hard work was rewarded when the Regal Theatre re-opened on 3rd March 2010. The re-opening was celebrated with a week of screenings at just 5p per ticket… a price equivalent to that charged when the theatre first opened in 1936. Things quickly got back on track, and financially, 2010/11 was the Regal’s most financially successful year since the 1950s and 1960s with over 42,000 customers. In 2012, the cinema showed its first digital film and a new generation of 3D films began. Live satellite screening of content from around the world was introduced in 2015, starting with a sell-out screening of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ starring Judi Dench, live from the Garrick Theatre, London.

The Regal celebrated its 80th Birthday in 2016, with the venue continuing to break records, enjoying the busiest August on record, with over 7000 admissions. This was more customers in one month than had visited the venue in a whole year, a decade before. In 2018, admissions grew to their highest on record, with almost 70,000 people watching a film, live stream or stage show. The variety of entertainment ranging from opera to pantomime meant that the Regal continued to play an important part in the cultural offer available within the town alongside venues such as The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts and the Museum of East Anglian Life. This year also marked the formation of a partnership between Mid Suffolk District Council and Stowmarket Town Council, the aim of which, was to redevelop the Regal Theatre and adjacent Ipswich Street Car Park.


February 2020 saw The Regal close for its long awaited redevelopment, details of which can be found on our The Regal Project webpage. 15 months later, the venue reopened it's doors to the public on the 28th May 2021 showing Cruella, Nomadland, Godzilla V Kong and Peter Rabbit 2, films which were due to be released much earlier but had been postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. With 2 additional screens and a new café bar, The Regal is on course for its busiest decade yet!