A Year of Birdsong and Birdsongs

BBC wildlife presenter and London singer bring birdsong show to Suffolk theatre

What happens when a wildlife ranger meets a stage performer birdwatching on the east coast? Well, they create a theatre show inspired by their feathered friends.

Ajay Tegala – the BBC nature presenter, author and ranger – and London singer Anthony Harris, bring their show A Year of Birdsong and Bird Songs to Lowesotft.

With costumes, choreography and a cacophony of calls, birds are nature’s performers, leading dramatic and theatrical lives. The UK is blessed with a changing cast of winged visitors throughout the four seasons.

From our smallest to our tallest, loudest caller to most complicated singer, Ajay passionately shares fascinating facts, anecdotes and admiration for Britain’s birds. From pigeons in the park to seabirds soaring thousands of miles around the globe, the show looks at the lives and songs of our avian actors through the cold winter months and the sunny summer days as they battle to fly, feed and fledge young.

Between the stories, sounds and footage, Anthony warbles his way from classical to opera, folk to pop, choral to show tunes, in celebration of skylarks, nightingales, woodpeckers, owls, geese and even an ugly duckling.

“The show puts the audiences to the test in a fun way, giving knowing nods when they hear the sounds of the familiar birdsong, and a sense of ‘Oh that’s what it is!’ when they discover some of the lesser known calls,” said Ajay who works as a National Trust ranger.

Stepping through the seasons, A Year of Birdsong and Bird Songs navigates the wintry cold landscapes in to the bustling dawn chorus of spring, with Ajay sharing his unique footage.

From his time conserving rare British wildlife, and working on BBC Springwatch and Winterwatch, Ajay has had many weird and wonderful encounters of the feathered kind. Paired with Anthony’s singing – and love for encouraging audience participation – their show will have audiences tapping their feet, listening, learning and larking around!

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, Suffolk on Friday 9th June at 7.30pm. Book now


New Play Commissioned for 70th Anniversary of Historic Flood

2023 marks 70 years since the well-documented flood of 1953 which saw devastation across many parts of Lowestoft and the East Coast. To mark this event and look ahead to the town’s future relationship with the sea in the face of climate change, we are leading a community project that will see the commission of a new live drama written by Lowestoft based playwright, John Hales.

Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director, Historic England, said: “It’s important that these powerful events are recognised and remembered, sharing community memories and experiences. I’m looking forward to seeing how these creative activities and dramatic performances can bring a shared understanding of the impact of this devastating flood and the lessons we learn as we look to protect the historic places we love in the face of climate change.”

Flooding Back to a Resilient Future has seen a series of free workshops and community activities take place over the last few months to collect stories and reminiscences from people who remember the major flooding events of 1953 and 2013. Working with local schools the project has also provoked children and young people in the town to consider the impacts of climate change and imagine a future flood and how that may impact them.

Personal stories, photographs, archive material and creative responses to flooding and climate change are being drawn together to inspire a brand-new play written and developed by John Hales. Nominated for a BAFTA ‘Breakthrough Brit’ in 2014 for his feature film  Freak of Nature John’s stage plays include the The Response (Seagull Theatre, SOHO Theatre) and a varied career of writing, directing, acting, and community theatre work both locally and nationally.

The Production – professionally produced and performed in collaboration with Spinning Wheel Theatre company on the Marina Stage – will dramatize a future flooding event in Lowestoft focusing on community reliance and drawing on past experiences in the town.

Alongside performances of this new work scheduled for July 2023, there will be an exhibition of archive materiel relating to the 1953 flood and creative works from the community generated throughout the project.

Emma Butler Smith, Marina Theatre Chef Executive: ‘This project will enable us to engage with a broad cross-section of Lowestoft’s community both commemorating historical events and looking forward to a future by the sea in face the potential impacts of Climate change. John Hales is a fantastic writer who we have worked with on projects in the past, notably when he directed our community co-production of Oliver! in 2018 so it will be wonderful to premier a new play by him on our stage.’

This project is funded by Historic England through the Lowestoft Heritage Action Zones, in partnership with East Suffolk Council.

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council’s Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Economic Development, said: “The tidal surge of 1953 took a devastating toll on much of the east coast. Lives were lost, properties destroyed, and its impact was felt acutely in our coastal towns.

“It’s important that we commemorate and learn from these momentous events of our past in order to look forward.

“It will be fascinating to see those memories interpreted for the stage with the creative input of people living locally 70 years on.”

Do you remember the major flooding events of 1953 or 2013? If you have photos, videos, news cuttings or an interesting story to share, the Marina Theatre would like to hear from you. Send any submissions to



image: Flooding in St Johns Road, Lowestoft 1953. Newsquest Archive

Seeking new Chief Executive

Chief Executive, Marina Theatre Trust, Lowestoft

The Marina Theatre Trust is seeking a dynamic and highly motivated Chief Executive to lead the organisation at an exciting and important time for the theatre and the town of Lowestoft as it embarks on the development of a new Cultural Quarter with a newly redeveloped Marina Theatre at its heart.

Our ideal candidate will have the skills and experience to lead one of the East of England’s most significant receiving venues, presenting a rich and diverse programme of live events, film screenings and community activities. You will need excellent interpersonal and communication skills, entrepreneurial and financial acumen, and a genuine commitment to creating and sustaining a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity across all our activities.

This is a demanding and exciting role, so we want to appoint someone who will relish the challenges of not only leading a busy organisation but in continuing to build its position across our hometown and wider region and the national theatre community.

To receive a copy of our Application Pack, please contact John Nicholls via

Deadline for receipt of applications: 5:00 pm Tuesday 11th April


Marina agrees feasibility contractor as redevelopment moves to next stage

The Marina Theatre Trust has signed an agreement with Foster Wilson Size as lead consultants to undertake a feasibility study and draw up plans for their future redevelopment as part of the Towns Fund.


Foster Wilson Size is a leading architectural practice with an international reputation for the design of cultural buildings and creative spaces. Their previous clients include theatres from across the country and at a range of sizes, including well-known establishments like Polka, Trafalgar Theatre and Hammersmith Apollo in London; as well as the Everyman in Cheltenham and Norwich Theatre Royal.


Ed Wilson, Foster Wilson size said, “We are delighted to have been appointed to work on improvements to the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft. The Marina is a wonderful historic theatre, and a great space to see live performance. We look forward to helping the team at the Marina upgrade the theatre, improve spaces for the audience and achieve their vision for the future.”


Accessibility will be at the heart of improvement plans with audience experience being key to the Marina’s goal.


Marina Chef Executive Emma Butler Smith said: “all of us that work at the Marina have spent many hours in conversation about what we’d like to achieve in this redevelopment and having such experienced architects taking our dreams and turning them into reality is a great boost for our staff. There’s still many stages of planning and consultation ahead before the builders arrive, but this is a really encouraging step in the right direction. We look forward to sharing prospective plans with our customers in the coming months.”


The projects is part of the £24.9M Towns Deal developed by East Suffolk Council & the Lowestoft Place Board and announced earlier this year. The Marina Theatre has been allocated £3.5M of this fund for planned redevelopments. As the building owner & principal stakeholder of the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft Town Council are looking forward to working with the Marina Theatre Trust in assessing and agreeing any plans for the future redevelopment of the Theatre.


Speaking about the project, Cllr Alan Green, Mayor of Lowestoft said, “I am delighted that this important step towards drawing up plans to redevelop the Marina Theatre has been taken.  This appointment will help to make sure that everyone in Lowestoft will have access to a 21st-century theatre experience into the foreseeable future. I look forward to seeing how the plans develop.”


With projects under the Towns Fund expected to be completed by March 2026, the Marina intends to submit plans for consultation and agreement in the next 12 months.