New Wolsey Theatre

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New Wolsey Theatre
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich - - 290379.jpg
The New Wolsey Theatre on Civic Drive, Ipswich
Address Civic Drive
Coordinates 52°03′31″N 1°08′53″E / 52.058749°N 1.148107°E / 52.058749; 1.148107
Owner New Wolsey Theatre Company Ltd
Capacity 400
Current use Producing and Receiving house
Production Beauty And The Beast'
Opened 31 October 1979
Rebuilt Reopened 01 February 2001 after major refurbishment
Architect Roderick Ham
New Wolsey Theatre homepage

The New Wolsey Theatre is a Suffolk producing theatre, located in the Westgate area of Ipswich. It is a midsized regional theatre, having a seating capacity of 400. Designed by the architect Roderick Ham, construction was completed in 1979 and the theatre was opened on 31 October 1979 by HRH Princess Alexandra.


The theatre was designed by Roderick Ham for Ipswich & Suffolk New Theatre Trust. Construction was carried out between 1977 and 1979 by Haymills Contractors Ltd with Carr And Angier theatre consultants providing planning advice and design/installation of all technical systems and equipment.

From 1979 to 1999 the theatre was operated by The Wolsey Theatre Company, a regional repertory company. The theatre was known for showing performances of drama, comedy and musical plays and was used almost exclusively as a producing house. Due to financial problems dating back to the mid 1990s, the operating company closed the theatre in 1999 and was dissolved.

In 2001, the theatre reopened and is now owned and operated by the newly formed New Wolsey Theatre Company. The New Wolsey Theatre Company is a registered charity with a stated mission of presenting high quality, diverse and accessible work, and operated on a not-for-profit basis. Under its current ownership, the theatre has emerged as a national leader recognised for the diversity of its audiences; for engaging with a broad cross-section of theatre-going and non-theatre-going communities; for nurturing and developing black and minority ethnic artists; and for its style of actor/musician productions.


Since its reopening as a producing theatre, The New Wolsey has developed a recognisable house style of actor/musician productions - particularly through their Rock 'n' Roll Panto.

Recent notable productions have included:

  • Reasons To Be Cheerful, produced with Graeae Theatre Company featuring the music of Ian Dury and The Blockheads - by Paul Sirett, directed by Jenny Sealey (2010)
  • 20th Century Boy, a musical play based on the life of Marc Bolan and the music of T. Rex - by Peter Rowe, directed by Gary Lloyd (2012).
  • Mods and Rox - by Paul Sirett, directed by Peter Rowe (2012).
  • Our House, a musical play featuring the songs of English ska band Madness - by Tim Firth, directed by Peter Rowe (2013).

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