'A new lease of life' - Architects on how Theatre Square has transformed part of Ipswich

The new performance space is helping to rejuvenate the cultural life of Ipswich

The new performance space has helped to rejuvenate the cultural life of Ipswich - Credit: Anthony Coleman

The addition of the New Wolsey’s Theatre Square and the pavilion building ‘NW2’ have helped to rejuvenate that part of the town, architects have said.

This area of Ipswich, which was previously somewhat neglected, has now been restored to its full potential, offering ample opportunities for activities within the community.  

The designers say the new NW2 building complements the existing striking architecture of Ipswich, topped with a golden canopy roof and with the square encircled by “gold eyelashes".

Phil Waind, director with WPG architects, is thrilled with the result. He said “An entire wedge of central Ipswich has been given a new lease of life. Theatre Square has evolved into an inspiring and inclusive hub for the community. We hope that it can express the magic and excitement of NW2 arts and activities, which have been sorely missed over the last few years.” 

NW2 is now being used to house the New Wolsey Theatre’s youth and participation activities. 

WPG have already won a Planning Award for their efforts, and are now vying for a prestigious Civic Trust Award.

The stunning new space provides an accessible gateway to the centre of town

The stunning new space provides an accessible gateway to the centre of town - Credit: Anthony Coleman

This project marks the first phase in a wider 60,000 square metre program to redevelop the area, which will extend to shops, flats and leisure facilities.   

Most Read

This is a joint venture from WPG, developer Charterhouse and the New Wolsey Theatre, who have been determined for some time to make themselves more accessible to the people of Ipswich.   

The building was designed under the guidance of an accessibility consultant, and the square now offers a barrier-free gateway.

Sarah Holmes, chief executive for the New Wolsey Theatre, is delighted with how the space has opened up new potential for the theatre. 

“The transformation of Theatre Square not only lifts the profile of the theatre but also opens up extraordinary opportunities and potential for us to diversify our programming including outdoor performances. This is especially fortunate with the everchanging landscape of theatre as it provides us with a much larger degree of flexibility.

“Having NW2 as a dedicated community space on site has been life-changing for our work with the community,” she said. “Now, our community work is no longer being tucked away in spaces around the town but now right in the heart of our campus in a brand-new fit-for-purpose space.”