Gallery Players launch studio theatre programme

The Gallery Players steering group working on getting the former New Wolsey Studio ready for a September opening

The Gallery Players steering group working on getting the former New Wolsey Studio ready for a September opening - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

Ipswich is on its way to getting a new theatre space as The Gallery Players finally move into their new home – the former New Wolsey Theatre Studio in St Georges Street.

With the Covid lockdown putting plans back by a year, the amateur company have just taken possession of the keys to the building and are setting about turning it into a community performance space as well as a home for their own productions.

The Gallery Players steering group outside their new home

The Gallery Players steering group outside their new home, the former New Wolsey Studio, as they prepare for a September opening. Ltor: Helen Clarke, Steve Wooldridge, Will Dowe, Dave Borthwick, Wade Ablitt and Steve Taplin - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

As the company get to grips with installing the bar, kitting out the auditorium and finding a home for their extensive costume store, they have also announced their opening production and their programme for the first six months.

Co-director Wade Ablitt said that the Gallery Players Studio Theatre will open on September 8 with a production of the Charles Dickens’ musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Because Dickens died before he could finish the story, Wade said the audience will get to decide how the show ends each night. A number of different endings are possible and depending on how the audience feel at each performance will determine which ending is used.

Wade will be directing this production which he describes as “Dickens’ meets ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’  meets The Good Old Days” and will run from September 8-18.

Also in the programme is The Gallery Players first Shakespeare, Macbeth, directed by Wolsey Theatre regular Brian Ralph, will be staged at the Sir John Mills Theatre from October 25-30, 2021.

This production was due to go onstage with a largely different cast last year just as the first lockdown hit. It has now been re-rehearsed with new lead actors as the original Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were unavailable for the new dates.

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The new Macbeth is Thomas Haigh and Lady Macbeth is Charlotte Curtis. The production is being staged at the Sir John Mills Theatre because Gallery Players not only wanted to honour their booking with the Eastern Angles venue but wanted to acknowledge the support they had received from the SJM team over the years.

Brian Ralph said: “We have started rehearsals at the Gallery Studio and there is a tremendous buzz about the place. It’s good to be dusting down the scripts again.”

Wade said that they have a line-up of productions that will take the Gallery Players Studio into 2022 but dates have yet to be confirmed.

The line-up will include: Me as a Penguin/Bully Boy (Double Bill) by Tom Wells/Sandi Toksvig; Di and Viv and Rose by Amelia Bullmore; Come Back To The Five & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean by Ed Graczyk; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13-3/4: The Musical! and Piaf by Pam Gems.

Tickets will soon be going on sale at the Gallery Players website for The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Macbeth.

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