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How this empty theatre came to life this weekend

PUBLISHED: 19:00 19 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:59 20 September 2020

New Wolsey technician Matt showed Klaudia how to fly in a bar. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

New Wolsey technician Matt showed Klaudia how to fly in a bar. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

www.mikekwasniak.co.uk

The New Wolsey Theatre has launched a series of workshops with young people to make use of the empty stage and resources while the theatre stays closed to performances during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group got to explore the tools and materials used by technicians at the New Wolsey. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAKThe group got to explore the tools and materials used by technicians at the New Wolsey. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

Head of creative learning at the Ipswich site, Tony Casement, said it was such a shame to see the sweeping auditorium and stage sitting idle while shows weren’t able to run, so he decided to offer a unique opportunity to young people in the meantime.

He said: “Because we can’t hold shows at the moment we have this amazing resource which is just going to waste with the stage, lighting and technology, so we thought we’d open it up to young people to give them a look behind the scenes.”

MORE: How the New Wolsey Theatre is changing the face of Ipswich – first look at £2.8m development

The three ‘Reconnect’ workshops, running over the course of three weekends, each focus on a different set of theatre skills with Get Technical, Get Digital and Get Creative themes.

The group at the New Wolsey Theatre got to use model boxes in the Get Technical workshop. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAKThe group at the New Wolsey Theatre got to use model boxes in the Get Technical workshop. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

“We want this to be a fantastic experience for them to get some insights into how a theatre is run and that it isn’t just the people acting on stage who take part in performances,” said Mr Casement.

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The Get Technical workshop ran this weekend with young people aged between nine and 11 years old learning from professional technicians about sound, lights and stage.

Mr Casement added: “This is first live event with young people since lockdown started so we’ve very excited.

Ettilie got to grips with how to use a podger. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAKEttilie got to grips with how to use a podger. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

“We’re showing them how we use coloured gels for the lights, how to amplify sound and make voice effects, build contraptions to lift huge weights – it is all very hands on.”

The New Wolsey works closely with local schools to provide science-based sessions that give a different dimension to their classroom learning.

Mr Casement added: “The workshops are going to provide us with a template of what we want to do with schools for the science curriculum, as we can show young people how a prism splits a light for example, in a unique way.”

There are a limited number of free bursary spaces for the next two workshops available to young people who would otherwise be unable to join in and if an activity is fully booked parents are encouraged to email in to be put on the waiting list.

MORE: New Wolsey co-produces world premiere murder-mystery online


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