Ipswich: Red Rose Chain receive keys to new studio theatre The Avenue
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Red Rose Chain has officially received the keys to its new studio theatre The Avenue.
Designed by Nicholas Jacob Architects in collaboration with Charles Curry Hyde LLP and built by Elliston, Steady and Hawes, Monday’s ceremony marked the end of four years of planning and construction at the award-winning theatre company’s base at Gippeswyk Hall, Ipswich.
Combining professional theatre productions with its community programme; the opening season kicks off in February with artistic director Joanna Carrick’s new historical piece Progress.
Set in 1561, it is based on Queen Elizabeth I’s real visit to Ipswich when she was 27 and features court intrigue, scandal and passion set against the backdrop of the story of the Ipswich martyrs.
Other productions making up the opening season include the Arts Council England and East of England Co-op funded project based on the myth of The Green Children of Woolpit, created for young audiences with disabilities and additional needs. Different Buttons delves into the life of Ipswich’s former Victorian asylum St Clement’s Hospital, interweaving the stories of former residents over the course of its 140-year history.
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“This is a really significant milestone for Red Rose Chain. With the help of Heritage Lottery Fund and our other funding partners, we are today taking possession of the most beautiful new space,” said producer David Newborn.
“It gives us enormous potential for creating exciting new work benefitting the community.
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“We’re jumping around with joy and can’t wait to open our doors for the welcome events in November and then our first production, Progress, in February.
“This is something for Ipswich to really get a hold of and celebrate.”
Made possible by a £1million grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund and additional funds from Viridor, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council, Red Rose Chain is holding an open weekend tea party on November 22-23.
People will have the chance to take a look around and find out more about the company’s ongoing fundraising campaign which benefits its community and education projects.
“It’s been a difficult process but then the labour of all beautiful things is painful. Some important, magical and special moments are going to happen here which are going to change individuals’ lives, both those who take part and those who watch,” said Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who was present at the ceremony.
For more information visit www.redrosechain.com