New arts centre set to open its doors for the first time

The founders of the Two Sisters Arts Centre, a community-focused venue based at the former Trimley S

The founders of the Two Sisters Arts Centre, a community-focused venue based at the former Trimley St Mary Church. (l to r) Suzanne Hawkes, Helen Clarke, Jayne Lindill. Photo: Andrew Clarke - Credit: Archant

A new community arts centre to serve as a cultural hub for Felixstowe, Trimley and Kirton is being launched this weekend.

Organisers are staging a special fundraising night of entertainment at the venue, which will be based at the former St Mary’s Church in Trimley St Mary.

The event at the Two Sisters Arts Centre on Saturday, April 27, will feature Suffolk history and dialect expert Charlie Haylock and performance poet Luke Wright, the enfant terrible of Bungay.

Throughout the evening, Stacks of Sax, who have been performing around the region for the past 20 years, will provide music – jazz, swing, light classical and show tunes alongside original pieces.

Work has been going on behind the scenes for several years to find a suitable home for a new arts centre for the area.

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The centre, dedicated to championing local talent and bringing high quality touring work to the area, is the brainchild of Suzanne Hawkes, Helen Clarke, Jayne Lindill, Alison Miller and Hattie Bennett.

The redundant church will be run by Felixstowe Creative Arts Trust (F-CAT) which has been formed by the five local creatives to manage a lively programme of plays, music, poetry, art and dance which will be staged at the venue.

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They want it to be a cultural hub for the entire community, reaching out to everyone on the Felixstowe Peninsula, breathing life into an empty building and reinstating it as part of Trimley’s historic High Road.

The Two Sisters venue will also be available for hire for arts-related functions such as workshops and as a rehearsal space.

Funding and work is required though to create the space the team envisages.

Playwright Suzanne Hawkes said: “The vision is to create a unique space for all forms of performing and visual arts – something that Felixstowe, Walton, and the Trimleys have been missing for far too long.”

Launch day will get under way in the afternoon from 2pm to 4pm when the arts centre will be open to the public – with coffee and cakes available to purchase and a chance to look round the new venue.

Then the ticketed Launch and Fundraising Event will start with doors and licensed bar open from 6pm.

From 6.30pm-7pm there will be music from Stacks of Sax, and then from 7pm-8pm award-winning performance poet Luke Wright will present his new touring show Poet Laureate, more music from 8pm to 8.30pm before Charlie Haylock – whose book Sloightly On Th’Huh outsold Dan Brown’s famous novel, The Da Vinci Code in Suffolk – takes centre stage. Stax of Sax will round off the evening with more music from 9.30pm to 10.15pm.

Luke Wright has been described as “flamboyant, political and riotously funny” and has played at literary festivals from Australia to Scotland via Hong Kong and Bruges.

Tickets are £20 and available from 01394 279613 or at Abbeygate Lighting in Felixstowe and online here.

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