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Half-term fun for families in Ipswich, Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft and Debenham

09:06 13 February 2016

Fun at Sutton Hoo this half-term

Fun at Sutton Hoo this half-term


For more days out suggestions, see our packed Event guide in the paper every Friday or check out @WhatsonWayne on Twitter.

Landseer Players are staging Aladdin. Photo: Wayne TurtillLandseer Players are staging Aladdin. Photo: Wayne Turtill

Wishing for a way to entertain the kids? The Landseer Players are here to serve with their pantomime Aladdin, at DanceEast’s Jerwood DanceHouse in Ipswich.

Fifth time director Siobhan Baker has teamed up with her sister Shannon Bedford, this year’s choreographer; and their mum Karen is producing this all-singing, all-dancing show written by the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star’s very own Lynne Mortimer, and James Hayward.

Son of a washer woman, Aladdin longs for adventure and love, will he find the princess of his dreams?

The Landseer Players have performed in Ipswich since 1979 at various venues. Each year they do a collection in aid of charities and this year are raising funds for Elyza Willcox who was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was just eight months old.

There are two great shows at DanceEast's Jerwood DanceHouse this weekend. Photo: Racel CherryThere are two great shows at DanceEast's Jerwood DanceHouse this weekend. Photo: Racel Cherry

The show’s on from February 18-20.

Young dancers from across the region take over Jerwood DanceHouse on February 13-14.

On Saturday there are two performances of the annual Spring Showcase, featuring DanceEast’s resident Performance Groups and Centre for Advanced Training.

Handa's HenHanda's Hen

They include Boyz United, Suffolk Junior Dance Company, Suffolk Youth Dance Company and the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training students as well as The Elderberries and Dance Unlimited.

U.Dance East on Sunday celebrates excellence in youth dance from across the east of England. Lucky applicants include Suffolk Academy of Dance and Performing Arts, UNIT, Dance2, Lantern, JNR Sinstars, Revolution and St Ivo School.

“DanceEast is immensely proud of the young dance talent across the region. We’re delighted to be hosting the regional U.Dance performance and Spring Showcase in the same weekend. It gives us a brilliant opportunity to shine the spotlight on the fresh energy and creativity of young people,” says Jeanette Siddall, head of the creative team at DanceEast.

The town’s New Wolsey Studio is hosting two children’s shows.

Shh BangShh Bang

Little Angel Theatre’s Handa’s Hen, February 15-16, is based on Eileen Browne’s book. Interactive, it suits ages two plus. Peut-être Theatre’s dance cum theatre show Shh...Bang! invites ages three plus to exploring sounds and silence.

Replica Sutton Hoo ship the Sae Wylfing visits the National Trust site February 13-14.

Cbeebies' star Sid SloaneCbeebies' star Sid Sloane

You’ll be able to learn more about the Anglo-Saxon ship burial before climbing aboard and feeling what it might be like to be a Dark Age king. The Woodbridge Riverside Trust will also be on hand to talk about the ship and how it was made. Some days throughout half-term week there will be visits from King Raedwald, displaying and talking about his extraordinary treasures.

New exhibition Weaving Words opens the same weekend. Celebrating Old English, the lost language of the Saxons, and the stories told around the feasting hall with readings of poems like Beowulf in the original language.

Weather permitting there will be an archaeological team on site on some days, with visitors encouraged to take part.

“We’re interested in developing a deeper archaeological understanding of this unique site,” says National Trust archaeologist Angus Wainwright. “We’re also interested in finding out if our visitors are interested in getting more actively involved in archaeology here – who knows what secrets still lie beneath our feet?”

Blunderbus Theatre Company's The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark. Photo: David TettBlunderbus Theatre Company's The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark. Photo: David Tett

Sutton Hoo is open every day from 10.30am-5pm until October 30.

Notcutts Garden Centre in Woodbridge is gearing up for a fun-packed half-term, with a free wildlife hunt for youngsters.

Staff have hidden some of their favourite animal friends around the centre and it’s up to you to return all six. Running all day from February 13-21, ask a member of staff in store for more details.

Debenham Players are staging Alice in WonderlandDebenham Players are staging Alice in Wonderland

Cbeebies’ Sid Sloane is setting out on a heroic quest to find out where his favourite socks and shoes have gone at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds.

Are they at the bottom of the sea? Deep in the jungle? Floating in outer space? Find out in this interactive show packed with games, songs, poems and magic on February 18.

Woodbridge's Company of Four stage Little Red Riding HoodWoodbridge's Company of Four stage Little Red Riding Hood

Woodbridge’s Company of Four head into the woods with family pantomime Little Red Riding Hood at The Riverside Theatre February 12-20.

Oliver Fosker has not only written but is directing this new production, his first for the company.

“Putting on a panto of this scale is no small task. I started writing in March, auditions were in October and the whole cast started rehearsing at the beginning of November.”

This traditional production tells the story of Little Red Riding Hood who visits her sick grandma in her cottage in the forest and her aunt Ophelia Bapps, who runs the town bakery with her son Arthur “Brain” Bapps. It’s while collecting sticks that she meets the handsome Woodcutter and the wiley wolf.

Expect laughs, singing, dancing and lots of audience interaction.

Sticking with panto, the Debenham Players stage Alice in Wonderland from February 18-20 at Debenham High School. A modern twist on the childhood classic, find out what the Caterpillar think of kids today? Will Alice get it together with the Knave on The Jeremy Ky... I mean The King of Hearts Show? Should you consolidate your chocolate debts with a loan from

Enjoy some laughs, songs, hissing, booing and assorted hillocks.

Framlingham Castle invites kids big and small to don their armour, take up their favourite sword and prepare to experience the wonder of a medieval baronial fortress.

Once you’ve chosen your side you can start training and learn about the Magna Carta while discovering the castle’s bloody history.

Heroes and Villains runs from February 15-19.

Young citizens of England and surrounding global shires are cordially invited to learn to advance in the drill, hear astonishing tales of their favourite rogues, hone their sword skills and plot their ambush of the castle itself.

You can even join in the feudal court and decide whether King John was a hero or a villain?

“The events at Framlingham Castle have always been fantastic and really bring history alive with colourful historic characters, engaging events and with a good time had by children and big children,” says Debbie Houldsworth, English Heritage’s events manager.

Prof Kaos brings his Science Blast 2 show to Lowestoft’s Seagull theatre tomorrow.

Encompassing space, the Arctic and lots of explosions it’s fun the whole family will enjoy.

Staying at the Seagull, Foolhardy Circus Company stage a skills workshop on February 16.

Suitable for ages four plus, learn everything from diablo and unicycling to tightrope. Afterwards the Foolhardy Circus ask where have all the fleas gone? Much-loved clowns Cosmo, Tom Fool and Lucas Hardy try to find out with funny routines, circus skills, tumbling and magic.

Colchester and Ipswich Museums have a lot of exhibitions and events planned.

From tomorrow until May 29, Ipswich Museum hosts the Art/Science/Life exhibition including a specially-commissioned contemporary art installation. Dr Lucy Lyons will work in residence to create a new site-specific artwork inspired by the significant natural science collections which will be displayed in the Octagon gallery of the former art school.

Alongside the new work there will be creative responses from partner organisations Pacitti Company and New Wolsey Theatre, as well as Ipswich Museum’s artist ranger Lisa Temple-Cox.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of events and workshops for both adults and children.

There’s lots on across Colchester’s Hollytrees Museum, Natural History Museum and Colchester Castle from February 15-19.

These include Portraits in Shadow where you work as a group to turn your shadow into a silhouette portrait, Queen of the Iceni where you can meet Boudica, the brave warrior queen; storytelling, Mini Model Homes where you can be inspired by the Victorian doll’s house on display to make your own room in miniature, Monkey Business where you can celebrate the Chinese Year of the Monkey and make your own glove monkey and Go Live! Fantastic Fossils where you can discuss them with the experts.

Internationally acclaimed children’s theatre company Blunderbus bring their new production of The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark to Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre tomorrow and Sunday.

Based on Jill Tomlinson’s classic children’s book, baby barn owl Plop’s fear of the dark leads to a magical adventure.

More than 100,000 people have seen the show around the country, the story is brought to life with a blend of music, puppetry and storytelling and is suitable for ages three-seven.

Sticking with children’s shows, Cambridge Arts Theatre welcomes What The Ladybird Heard from February 17-21.

Based on the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, it’s the story of two crafty robbers, one tiny ladybird and a whole farmyard of fun.

Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len have a cunning plan to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow. But they’ve reckoned without the tiniest, quietest creature of all - the Ladybird who has a plan of her own.


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