The Regent Theatre opened in 1929 as a 'cine-variety hall' and was among the first UK theatres to play films with sound. Designed by WE Trent, it was extremely luxurious, with a restaurant, 14 boxes, a resident Wurlitzer organ and organist and an 18-piece orchestra. Unusually, a manager's cottage was incorporated into the theatre design.
During World War II the theatre was used to stage concerts and civic events, as well as ballet and opera. During the 1950s and 1960s it hosted many top acts, including Buddy Holly and the Crickets and The Beatles. Gene Pitney, The Hollies, The Small Faces, Roy Orbison, The Walker Brothers and Jimi Hendrix also played there.
In the 1970s and 1980s – when it was known as Ipswich Gaumont – it hosted many Punk and New Wave acts, including Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Elvis Costello, The Stranglers, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Boomtown Rats.