Gallery/Ipswich: New Wolsey Theatre’s Pulse Festival 2014 line-up revealed

Bryony Kimmings and her nine-year-old niece present CREDIBLE LIKEABLE SUPERSTAR ROLE MODEL, which pl

Bryony Kimmings and her nine-year-old niece present CREDIBLE LIKEABLE SUPERSTAR ROLE MODEL, which plays the tween popstar machine at its own game - Credit: Archant

See tween popstars reinvented, meet the world’s smallest pirate and the world’s tallest parrot or even take part in a life-drawing class with a difference. This year’s Pulse Festival has it all.

Sh!t Theatre presents GUINEA PIGS ON TRIAL, their ongoing efforts to sell themselves to medical scie

Sh!t Theatre presents GUINEA PIGS ON TRIAL, their ongoing efforts to sell themselves to medical science - Credit: Archant

Focusing on new and innovative contemporary theatre and performances from regional, British and international artists, the 10-day, part curated, part open application event runs from May 29-June 7.

“We had more than 200 applications to the open access part of the festival this year compared to about 90 the year before. That in itself is an indication of how much this festival is beginning to be on the map and how keen artists are to come to Ipswich, to the New Wolsey and share their work with audiences here,” says Paul Warwick, co-director of China Plate, returning as festival directors.

Co-director Ed Collier says the challenge has been finding the right mix of artists over a range of works.

“You’re thinking about a programme that makes sense in itself, it’s not necessarily the 44 best bits, it’s the 44 things we think really hold together and create a journey for the audience.”

Warwick adds a lot of work has gone into making sure there’s something for everybody, whether it’s readings of plays you’d expect from more traditional theatre productions to getting involved in the international clothing trade at Tower Ramparts. Also new this year is Dance Night, with sees Pulse team up with DanceEast for two shows.

“This year’s programme is absolutely knock-out and there’s some really exciting work there, including more international work than we’ve had before, certainly than we had last year. Even if it’s formally adventurous, we’re confident everything is narratively engaging and you should all be able to connect with the stuff we’re showing.”

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Now in its 14th year, Pulse began life as a mixed profile festival with a more regional identity; encompassing amateur and community work and everything in between. Within a short space of time, the New Wolsey split it into what’s become the theatre’s thriving open season and the modern day Pulse.

“Pulse is now in a position where it’s not just fulfilling a range of regional expectations, it’s become a significant part of the national (arts) calender,” says Rob Salmon, associate director at the New Wolsey.

It’s also become a great advertisement for Ipswich in terms of the work being produced at the theatre and exported to other venues, and work it imports into the town.

“Absolutely, we sit closely alongside the work at DanceEast, we support Spill and they support us. Collectively, a movement has happened within in the town - and you can see it under the We Are Ipswich banner - where a number of arts partners have come together and said let’s maximise what we have in terms of our resources, expertise and opportunites to do the best for the town and that’s about looking out as much as it is looking in.

“Look at Hay and the book festival, places where it’s not about having a captive audience of tens of thousands people who are arts attenders, it’s about creating the right artistic launchpad for this kind of work and stimulating that interest.”

Click on the web gallery above for the full rundown of this year’s shows. For booking details and ticket offers visit Be sure to follow @PulseIpswich on Twitter and @WhatsonWayne for interviews with some of the artists.

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