This Spring marks a ‘stand-out’ moment for the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. It is delivering five produced shows working in partnership with some of the most prestigious mid-scale theatres across the UK. The Suffolk venue also continues its progressive mission to open its doors to more audiences with an increasingly diverse programme as well as supporting local emerging artists and attracting younger audiences by creating two bespoke productions for schools. 

The New Wolsey Spring Season goes on general sale at 10am Saturday 11 November 2023 with opportunities for members, schools, season ticket holders and groups to take advantage of priority booking from Thursday 2 November.   

Musical theatre fans will be delighted as the New Wolsey Theatre, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Hull Truck Theatre and Theatre By The Lake present Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s smash-hit mean green monster musical Little Shop of Horrors from 1-23 March. This brand-new production of the Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical premieres at the New Wolsey Theatre prior to a national tour, promising a toe-tapping and deviously delicious night out.  

Realising the New Wolsey’s commitment to giving younger audiences access to theatre, the venue presents two own-produced professional productions. Firstly, Hare and Tortoise will tour primary schools across Suffolk in early Spring 2024 – for some young people it will be their first engagement with theatre. The adaptation of Aesop’s fable by the award-winning Brendan Murray focuses on themes of friendship and difference and looks at climate change and its impact on the natural world.

The show supports the teaching of elements of the Key Stage 1 and 2 science curriculum and PHSE (Personal, Social, and Health Education) and comes with a free teachers pack that contains practical drama exercises and suggestions on how the young people can engage with nature.  Secondly, Romeo & Juliet, the venue’s first show of the year running 1-9 February, will be a fast-paced 80-minute adaptation of Shakespeare’s immortal classicThis pacy and inventive production, directed by Douglas Rintoul, is specially created for students and teachers of English and Drama, and anyone new to the play and is performed by the best emerging talent from Ipswich and the wider region. 

The New Wolsey is also proud to announce the world premiere of Bindweed, by Ipswich award-winning playwright, and Associate Artist of the New Wolsey, Martha Loader. Running 28-29 June, this thrilling, shattering and darkly funny new play is a co-production between The New Wolsey Theatre, Colchester Mercury Theatre and High Tide, and in association with The Royal Exchange Theatre. The play delves into the lives of four men convicted of domestic abuse offences who gather each week for a perpetrator program. However, as Jen, the new group facilitator, begins to make headway within the group, the outside world starts to unravel. Martha Loader interviewed and worked with clients and communities from Ipswich to create Bindweed.

Building on the venue’s commitment to companies that make accessible work, Award-winning full-mask maestros Vamos Theatre, in a co-commission with London International Mime Festival and a co-production with the New Wolsey Theatre, presents Boy On The Roof from 13-14 February. The production tells the story of a cross-generational friendship which is performed without words, and created through Community Conversations across the UK, gathering people’s experiences of ADHD, loneliness, aging, hearing loss, connection and community.  

The Spring season’s vibrant selection of visiting shows from across the UK including comedy, music and thought-provoking drama such as Scratchwork Theatre’s Hags – A Musical Extravaganza, La Navet Bete’s King Arthur, Spies Like Us Speed Dial, Stan’s Cafe’s Community Service, Eastern Angles’ Stones In His Pockets, New Old Friends Houdini’s Greatest Escape, Simple 8’s Moby Dick and London Classic Theatre’s What The Butler Saw as well as family shows Dear Zoo and Gruffalo’s Child, and a host of one-night delights. 

Before Spring arrives the New Wolsey Theatre’s ever-popular Rock ’n’ Roll pantomime returns with Dick Whittington and His Cat (23 November – 20 January 2024) to brighten up the winter months. This new version of the family-favourite is written by award-winning comedian, writer and composer, Vikki Stone.  

Making the New Wolsey Theatre’s programme accessible to as wide an audience as possible, the season will include relaxed performances, touch tours, audio described, BSL interpreted and captioned performances as well as options to watch performances via livestream.  Book online for the New Wolsey Theatre’s Spring Season 2024 shows at wolseytheatre.co.uk, call the Box Office on 01473 295 900

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