Red Rose Chain theatre company throw open doors to The Avenue Theatre, at Gippeswyk Hall

Open day at The Avenue in Ipswich, which is the new home of The Red Rose Chain Theatre Company.
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Open day at The Avenue in Ipswich, which is the new home of The Red Rose Chain Theatre Company. Ella Dodge in the story corner with Ted Newborn. - Credit: Archant

A fascinating look behind the scenes at Ipswich’s latest theatre was on the menu at Red Rose Chain’s tea party.

Open day at The Avenue in Ipswich, which is the new home of The Red Rose Chain Theatre Company.

Open day at The Avenue in Ipswich, which is the new home of The Red Rose Chain Theatre Company. - Credit: Archant

The company threw open the doors to The Avenue Theatre, at Gippeswyk Hall, over the weekend.

Youngsters enjoyed drama workshops with community director Kirsty Thorpe and listened to stories from members of the youth theatre and artistic director Joanna Carrick while adults watched the film Understanding Edward, about Edward Sulyard who lived at the hall in the 16th Century.

“It’s a way of announcing ourselves to the community again. We didn’t know how many people to expect but we had an amazing response,” said Red Rose Chain producer David Newborn.

“We’ve got a lot of fans who have been following our work for the last few years and lots of them turned up; lots of children and lots of our community theatre people are here with their families showing them the amazing new, beautiful, building we’ve got.


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“Placed near the centre of Ipswich we’re making a big effort to engage with the Chantry com-munity; we really want people in that area to know they’ve got a great cultural asset now on their doorstep.”

Red Rose Chain has been working with the Springboard Project, based in Chantry, about bringing reading with your children to life.The idea is to set-up a community library and storytelling space in one of the hall’s rooms. Future plans also include a coffee shop.

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“We also opened up all the backstage and had old photographs of the hall, most of which came from a lady in Australia who had inherited a photo album with pictures of the hall.”

Red Rose is now focusing on Progress, based on Queen Elizabeth I’s visit to Ipswich.

“It opens in February. It’s all coming together really well. It’s a really exciting project,” added Newborn.

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