Do put your daughter (and son) on the stage, Mrs Worthington...
Is the Ipswich the most theatrical place in the country? Yes, says this Ipswich girl.
This week I am moved to propose that Ipswich, together with Felixstowe and Woodbridge and all points between we must have the most vigorous am-dram scene in, if not the world, then the country.
I use the term “am-dram” as a catch all to represent the amazing people who devote their talent and creative energies to the theatre but don’t get paid for it.
On Saturday night, the curtain came down on the final night of the delightful musical A Man of No Importance, presented by Gallery Players at the Sir John Mills Theatre, in Ipswich (yes, all right... I was in it). The next day, the production crew of Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society, affectionately known as IpsOp, were preparing to get into the Regent Theatre for the musical The Witches of Eastwick.
Once upon a time IpsOp audiences would dust off their glad rags for the first nights. The foyer would be awash with chiffon, sequins and bow ties... sometimes on the same person.
Dad’s Army, presented this week by Trimley Saints Players, is a sell out.
Gallery Players are already rehearsing for Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, at the Wolsey Theatre, this summer. Wit, from locally-based Megabrill Productions, comes into the Sir John Mills, in May.
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The Seckford Theatre, in Woodbridge, is host to the Deben Players Daughter of Venice in May and also welcomes Felixstowe Musical Theatre (which used to perform at the Spa) in November.
Appeal Theatre is putting on the musical of Little Women at the Wolsey in June.
Pair this feast of theatre with the professional productions coming to Ipswich and there are many, many good reasons not to sit in front of the telly of an evening. Too many to list here.
Back in ye olde days, I was a member of the Ipswich Arts Theatre youth group. Few of us were destined to make acting our career but we were wildly in love with the theatre. For the less dramatically obsessed, it was a good (fantastic) way to meet members of the opposite sex.
There is no stopping the amateur theatrical community which, though extensive, feels like family when you turn up for a first get-together and meet up with people with whom you were in this, that or the other.
My old school, Northgate, did an annual sixth form production. It was one of the rare occasions when the boys and girls came into contact... albeit strictly supervised contact.
The independent Ipswich School was well known for the quality of its school productions... it was all boys then. I think they got their female cast from the Ipswich High School for Girls.
Meanwhile, the Co-op Juniors (soon to put on the feline dance and song show at the New Wolsey) were and still are putting on shows and providing a generation of dancers to feed local theatre companies and the professional stage.
By the way, it’s okay to like theatre and football...