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Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre Ramps on the Moon project gets £2.1million boost

PUBLISHED: 15:27 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:40 24 January 2018

Rehearsals for Tommy, the New Wolsey Theatre's co-production with Ramps on the Moon. Picture: PATRICK BALDWIN

Rehearsals for Tommy, the New Wolsey Theatre's co-production with Ramps on the Moon. Picture: PATRICK BALDWIN

© Patrick Baldwin 2017

The New Wolsey Theatre’s Ramps on the Moon has been given £2.1million to continue its work to overcome the barriers deaf and disabled people face when engaging with theatre.

Sarah Holmes, chief executive at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, with the theatre's team. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK Sarah Holmes, chief executive at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, with the theatre's team. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

The Ipswich venue – the lead organisation behind the project – was one of nine arts organisations given money as part of the Arts Council’s National Lottery-funded Strategic Touring Programme.

It will support years four, five and six of the initiative; enabling the seven partners to transform mid-large scale mainstream touring shows and break down barriers to participation.

Hedley Swain, south east area director for Arts Council England, praised Ramps on the Moon’s achievements in just three years.

“The project has produced fantastic, high-quality mid-scale theatre and, because the project champions integrated casts, it resonates with audiences and gives people the chance to see a ‘reflection’ of themselves on stage.

Our Country's Good workshop. Picture: MICHELE TAYLOR Our Country's Good workshop. Picture: MICHELE TAYLOR

“But it’s about more than that, it’s about wholesale change. It’s about attracting and inspiring new audiences. It’s also about creating new career pathways for Deaf and disabled actors, directors and backstage staff – making sure opportunities are there for them to realise their ambitions and to break down barriers.”

Sarah Holmes, chief executive at the New Wolsey Theatre, and Michele Taylor, director for change at Ramps on the Moon, were delighted Arts Council England was continuing to invest in the project.

They added: “This funding will allow us to consolidate and take further our mission to embody the creative case for diversity and achieve a sea change in our industry.”

The New Wolsey welcomes Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, a Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company co-production with Ramps on the Moon, from March 28-April 7

Based on The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally, it’s the true story of a group of convicts and a young officer who rehearse and perform a play – Australia’s first theatrical production. With opposition from the officers and a leading lady who may be hanged, the odds are stacked against them.

Previous Ramps on the Moon collaborations include The Government Inspector, The Who’s Tommy and The Threepenny Opera.

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