More evening events planned for Ipswich museums after success of Cake & Revolution WI take-over
- Credit: Andy Hussey
Crowds of finely dressed guests with a glass of bubbly in hand gathered among historic artefacts and a life-sized woolly mammoth while belly dancers twirled and music blasted from a DJ overhead.
Ipswich Museum, a site for visiting schoolchildren and interested tourists by day, transformed into a thriving entertainment venue for the night thanks to Cake & Revolution Women’s Institute.
The group, which was formed in Ipswich six months ago, won a competition to take over the building for one evening to run an event of their choosing, beating dozens of hopeful community organisations.
The women opted for a black-tie affair with an array of talented female performers, lashings of cake made by WI members, a silent auction and guided tours of the museum.’
The event not only raised £4,000 for Lighthouse Women’s Aid, but also boosted the profile of this educational space.
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James Steward, Ipswich Museums manager, said: “It was a great success, with 300 plus paying guests in the museum in the evening.
“It’s great to see the museum used in this way and for a fantastic cause.”
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It’s a craze that’s sweeping across the UK right now - unlocking a cultural building after-hours for a social occasion.
Next month Christchurch Mansion will host its first gin festival, with music, merriment and a chance to drop into the latest art exhibition.
Mr Steward added: “We are open to ideas of how to use the sites in different ways and for people to engage with the museums outside of traditional opening hours. We will be putting invitations out to groups to submit ideas in the future.”
The events committee of Cake & Revolution - made up of Miranda Acres, Victoria Norfolk and Amanda Glasper - managed to organise the night and sell all 350 tickets in just three weeks.
Ms Acres said: “It was absolutely amazing.”
The women are already planning their next big public function - scheduled for a date in June - to be held in another iconic Ipswich building and collecting money for charity. Full details will be revealed in due course.
In the short time since its launch, Cake & Revolution has reached its capacity of 100 members, and now has a waiting list of 40 to 50 women.
Talks are underway about a new Ipswich WI group forming, proving there is still an appetite for the century-old organisation.
“What that says to me is Ipswich women are fabulous and they do want to make a difference,” Ms Acres said.
“It’s about empowering, educating and inspiring women and I think now seeing what we are capable of doing in just six months that has inspired other women to think ‘I could be part of that’.”
Prizes up for grabs in the silent auction were:
• ‘Dine out for a month experience’ - donated by Arbor House, Woolpack, Cult Cafe and Aqua Eight
• ‘Exclusive theatre experience’ - donated by New Wolsey Theatre
• ‘Boutique experience and styling session’ - donated by Deja Vu Boutique
• ‘£500 women’s clothes voucher’ - donated by Coes
• ‘Limited edition art’ - donated by Jonathan Boast, artist in residence at Ipswich Museum Art Gallery
• ‘Show and drinks experience’ - donated by Ipswich Regent and Spread Eagle pub
• ‘’Who do you think you are’ experience’ donated by Anglia Research Services