Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre unveils Open Season

New Art Club's Hercules, part of the New Wolsey's Open Season. Photo Chris Nash

New Art Club's Hercules, part of the New Wolsey's Open Season. Photo Chris Nash - Credit: Archant

Musicals, new comedy, dramas and the chance to celebrate the creativity of children and young people from across Suffolk - The New Wolsey Theatre’s Open Season has it all. Entertainment writer Wayne Savage looks at some of the highlights.

New Art Club's Hercules, part of the New Wolsey's Open Season. Photo Chris Nash

New Art Club's Hercules, part of the New Wolsey's Open Season. Photo Chris Nash - Credit: Archant

Embodying the collaborative spirit sweeping Ipswich’s art community, Through The Magnifying Glass aims to make sure the voices, stories and talents of those often ignored or marginalised are placed centre-stage.

Running July 17-18, this Unscene Suffolk and New Wolsey presentation is part of the Moving Stories project which examines notions of belonging as a deaf or disabled person within the wider community.

It will include a range of collaborative performances from DanceEast, Gecko and Pacitti Company inspired by Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece, with a community company of adults with visual impairments embracing the serious, surreal and downright silly.

Youngsters are also front and centre during this year’s open season.

The New Wolsey will stage the second JAM night on July 24, giving performers the chance to share their work, theatre, dance, music, poetry and more.

On August 1 the seventh Big Ideas project will put professional theatre makers in a room with 15 participants from the New Wolsey Young Company and Youth Theatre to share their practices and explore new ideas. This year participants get to work with acclaimed playwright Danusia Iwaszko to develop their own ideas as playwrights, ending with a performance of staged and script in-hand readings on the New Wolsey stage.

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Following their award-winning production of Cats and last year’s Oliver! the Co-op Juniors Theatre Company take on the youth group production of The Phantom of The Opera from July 15-18. The score includes Music of the Night, Think of Me, Angel of Music, All I Ask of You, Masquerade and of course the title song.

The Children’s Theatre Company, whose version of Les Miserables was one of the best shows, amateur or professional, I’ve ever seen stage West Side Story from July 22-25. Following the sell-out successes of Les Mis and Grease, they present one of the greatest love stories ever told including songs likes Maria, I Feel Pretty and America.

Other highlights include New Art Club, back after a sell-out performance at last year’s Pulse Festival. They return on June 17 with Hercules. Best known for his strength, who knew the guy could dance? The story of the Roman demi-god is told through the medium of dance in this comic take on history and a party all rolled into one.

From June 24-27, Appeal Theatre Group stage musical within a comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. As the houselights dim, a man sits on his chair and plays his favourite record; the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical which springs to life around him.

The Gallery Players head to 1960s Baltimore from July 8-11 with feel-good musical Hairspray.

Dance-crazy teen Tracy Turnblad auditions for a spot on The Corny Collins Show and wins. An overnight celebrity and dancefloor trendsetter, she sets out to use her new-found status to topple Corny’s reigning dance queen and bring racial integration to the show.

Drama fans should check out Suzanne Hawkes’ entry to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages Shakespeare In Suffolk.

A new drama based in 1596, it explores the trials and tribulations of the bard’s own company of performers, The Chamberlains Men. It takes place at St Peter’s By The Waterfront June 10-12 and Christchurch Mansion June 14, 20-21.

Musical highlights include Fleece Jazz’s welcoming of Clare Teal and her band on June 19.

Performing as part of the Ipswich Jazz Festival she will sing jazz standards including music by her heroes, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day and Peggy Lee as well as more contemporary covers and original material.

Tickets for Open Season shows are on sale now. Visit www.wolseytheatre.co.uk for the full line-up.