Family fun, music, art, theatre and days out across Suffolk and Essex

The Colchester Town and Country Show. Photo: Contributed

The Colchester Town and Country Show. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Looking for things to do, with or without children, this weekend and beyond? Here is our weekly round up of days out ideas.

Tavaziva Dance perfrom Africarmen at DanceEast, Ipswich. Photo: Dillion Rose

Tavaziva Dance perfrom Africarmen at DanceEast, Ipswich. Photo: Dillion Rose - Credit: Archant

There’s so much happening across Suffolk and Essex we couldn’t fit it all into our weekly What’s On guide.

Africarmen, DanceEast, Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich, 7.30pm, March 31

Tavaziva Dance’s interpretation of Carmen which fuses ballet, contemporary and African dance. Performed by six dancers the classic tale of desire, deceit and corruption transfers to an African township where military corruption is rife. The performance will be accompanied by a specially commissioned original soundtrack composed and arranged by composer and trombonist Fayyaz Virji, founding member of The Jazz Warriors and a member of the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.

We're Stuck, at the New Wolsey, Ipswich. Photo Arnim Freiss

We're Stuck, at the New Wolsey, Ipswich. Photo Arnim Freiss - Credit: Archant

Music at Snape Maltings, March 31-April 1

English Touring Opera’s first production of a light opera by Gilbert and Sullivan is Patience – the duo’s extremely witty, infrequently performed masterpiece about the aesthetic movement of the 1890s with willowy poets, sighing maidens, hearty milkmaids and burly officers galore. It starts at 7.30pm tonight. They follow this at 3pm, April 1, with Silver Electra, the story of aviator Amelia Earhart’s disapperance during her pioneering round-the-world flight. It’s aimed at ages 7-14 and was created by the team behind Laika the Spacedog and Shackleton’s Cat. At 7.30pm the same day, the ETO perform Tosca, Puccini’s visceral depiction of love and power in the midst of political terror.

Metropolis, playing Bury St Edmunds. Photo: Paul Wright

Metropolis, playing Bury St Edmunds. Photo: Paul Wright - Credit: Archant

Broad Horizon - Drift Pop-Up Gallery, Mersea Island, March 31-April 30

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The group photography show explores a wide interpretation of the theme from the literal to the abstract and an investigation of what the term Horizon means to us. There will be diverse range of work on show.

We’re Stuck!, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, to April 1

The OK Chorale and women’s ensemble Heartbeat perform in Woodbridge. Photo: Contributed

The OK Chorale and womens ensemble Heartbeat perform in Woodbridge. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

An interactive, robot filled, code cracking adventure for eight-11 year olds. Go on a special tour deep into the heart of Volcano Industries where cutting edge scientists struggle with some unusual and extremely tricky problems in their top-secret research laboratory.

The Colchester Town and Country Show, Lower Castle Park, Colchester, 10am-5pm, April 1-2

Organised by Oakleigh Fairs, there’s even more family entertainment this year including a children’s farm and the Savage Skills Bike Display Team. Other attractions include prey flying displays, have a go terrier racing, the Tallest Magic Show in the World, historical re-enactments, arts, crafts and much more. On Sunday the event hosts The Companion Dog Show so bring along a canine friend and have a go, with all proceeds from entries going to Marie Curie care.

Move on up at Beccles Public Hall's soul night. Photo: Alan Lyall

Move on up at Beccles Public Hall's soul night. Photo: Alan Lyall - Credit: Archant

Bury Fringe Festival, The Hunter Club, Bury St Edmunds, 6pm, April 1

This year’s event, organised by Washing Machine, Toonteen Industries and The Hunter Club’s open mic promoter James Green, continues to showcase homegrown musical and spoken word talent. Kicking things off are retro-dystopian futurist post-punks Metropolis with support from country-blues rock ‘n’ rollers The Thinking Men, glam-infused hard rock titans Druids, rock-opera superstars Final Transmission and funk-punk threesome The Lobster Smack. Other acts over the coming weeks include Superglu, BurySOUND 2016 winners Suburban Minds, Gaffa Tape Sandy, Deep City, Dingus Khan and the last-ever performance by Horse Party.

The Alison Rayner Quintet, playing Colchester. Photo: Contributed

The Alison Rayner Quintet, playing Colchester. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

All or Nothing, Civic Theatre, Chelmsford, to April 1

The Mod musical which tells the bittersweet story of The Small Faces - Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriot. It’s one of passion and success, exploitation and tragedy, sharp clothes and killer songs.

Songs of peace and joy, St Mary’s Church, Woodbridge, April 1, 7.30pm

Sklamberg and The Shepherds, playing Bury St Edmunds. Photo: Contributed

Sklamberg and The Shepherds, playing Bury St Edmunds. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

The OK Chorale and women’s ensemble Heartbeat in concert, with all profits going to the charity WaterAid. Expect an English Easter carol, Scottish folk, African rhythms, African-American gospel, a Moravian lullaby and more.

Move on Up Soul Night, Beccles Public Hall, April 1, 8pm

DJs Garry Emms, Steve Kay and guest DJ Rob Gibb get you on the dancefloor with Northern Soul and Motown music. It’ll be followed by two more events on July 22 and September 16. The last includes an appearance by Heavy Sol, the much admired Mod band playing the sounds of The Small Faces, Who etc.

The Jesus and Mary Chain, playing Cambridge. Photo: Steve Gullick

The Jesus and Mary Chain, playing Cambridge. Photo: Steve Gullick - Credit: Archant

Alison Rayner Quintet, Colchester Arts Centre, April 2, 7pm

Rayner, Steve Lodder, Deirdre Cartwright, Diane McLoughlin and Buster Birch perform. Expect tracks from new album A Magic Life, with references from jazz, classical and folk music.

Monday's Child, Barnstorm's new play for children age four plus and their families, visiting Lowesto

Monday's Child, Barnstorm's new play for children age four plus and their families, visiting Lowestoft. Photo: Dylan Vaughan - Credit: Archant

World Autism Awareness Day, Chelmsford Museum, April 2, 1pm-4pm

The museum is hosting a range of free activities for everyone, but especially for those with a family member on the autism spectrum. There will be a mini-dig for archaeology, object handling, the chance to dress up in replica and period costumes, puzzles, a detective trail and you can explore the galleries using the museum’s sensory stimulation guide. A comfy chill-out area is available, as are ear defenders.

Sklamberg and The Shepherds, The Apex, April 2, 7.30pm

The Chinese State Circus. Photo: Contributed

The Chinese State Circus. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Three renowned performers of Eastern European Jewish music come together in the form of Lorin Sklamberg, co-founder of the legendary Klezmatics; clarinettist Merlin Shepherd and singer and pianist Polina Shepherd. This fresh collaboration blends traditional and contemporary Yiddish and Russian song with klezmer.

The Rhythm of Life, Civic Theatre, Chelmsford, April 2, 7.30pm

This mayor of Chelmsford concert will benefit The J’s Hospice. It features the award-winning West End Mamas and Papas, stars of hit musicals Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Starlight Express, Mamma Mia and Here Lies Love plus special guests from Dance 21, The Grosvenor School of

Gangsta Granny, playing Ipswich. Photo: Contributed

Gangsta Granny, playing Ipswich. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Performing Arts, The Boswells School Orchestra and Chelmsford Young Generation.

And later in the week there’s

A to Z - Alphabet by art group Freelance. Photo: Borin Van Loon

A to Z - Alphabet by art group Freelance. Photo: Borin Van Loon - Credit: Archant

The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Junction, Cambridge, April 3

Jim and William Reid perform. Expect tracks from their long-awaited new album Damage and Joy, released on March 24.

Monday’s Child, Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft, April 4, 2pm

Barnstorm Theatre Company explore how we make and store memories as we grow up and discover the world; how these shape who we are and how they help us to meet the challenges of growing old.

The Verdict, Civic Theatre, Chelmsford, April 4-8, 7.45pm nightly plus 2pm Wednesday and Saturday

Casualty’s Clive Mantle and Wycliffe’s Jack Shepherd star in the best-selling courtroom thriller that inspired a multi Academy Award-nominated film. Washed up veteran lawyer and alcoholic Frank Galvin gets one last chance to redeem himself with an open-and-shut medical malpractice case that no one thinks he can win.

Suffolk Youth Orchestra, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, April 4, 7.30pm; Snape Maltings, April 5, 7.30pm

As part of the international Somme100 FILM project, the orchestra will perform Laura Rossi’s original score as a soundtrack to the Imperial War Museums’ 1916 film The Battle of the Somme.

Dynasty, Chantry Park, Ipswich, April 4, 7pm; April 5-7, 4.45pm and 7pm; April 8, 2pm, 4.45pm and 7.30pm; April 9, noon and 3pm

The internationally acclaimed Chinese State Circus rolls into town with its new show. Audiences in the fully heated big top will see everyday objects transformed into hi-tech acrobatic equipment. Hurtling porcelain jars and spinning plates while balanced upon huge pyramids of tables and chairs, it stars world class acrobats, aerial artists, jugglers and martial arts masters the Shaolin Warriors.

Gangsta Granny, Regent Theatre, Ipswich, April 5-9; Cliff’s Pavillion, Southend, July 6-9

Watch out, David Walliams’ cabbage-crunching, criminal master-mind is about. Birmingham Stage Company, the acclaimed producers of Horrible Histories and George’s Marvellous Medicine, bring his acclaimed children’s book to life. It’s Friday night and Ben knows that means only one thing – a borning evening with Granny. What he doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret.

A to Z - Alphabet, The Frame Workshop Gallery, Ipswich, April 5-29, Monday 10am-5pm; Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-4.30pm

Nine members of the Ipswich-based creative support group Freelance have collaborated in a special exhibition of unique works of art. They have produced an individual visual work on the theme of each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. In addition, supporting artworks around the central theme combine to make a memorable and unusual art exhibition where there are few limits on size, medium, colour or form.

National Garden Scheme, Feeringbury Manor, Feering, Colchester, every Thursday and Friday, April 6-July 28, August 31-October 6, 9am-4pm

Ten-acre garden with two ponds and the river Blackwater as a backdrop. Sights include the jewelled lawn in April with tulips and blossom leading on to a huge number of different and colourful plants, many unusual. They culminate in a purple explosion of michaelmas daisies in September and there’s Ben Coode-Adams’ sculpture which featured in Country Life.

• For the latest entertainment and event news don’t miss our What’s on and arts and culture sections in the paper every Thursday.

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