Four companies join forces to make Ipswich state of the arts

Critically acclaimed dance theatre company Gecko is performing their new show Institute at DanceEast

Critically acclaimed dance theatre company Gecko is performing their new show Institute at DanceEast. It is an intimate, funny and revealing exploration of care and will be staged as part of the We Are Ipswich collaboration - Credit: Archant

Four leading creative companies have banded together to work alongside one another and promote Suffolk’s county town as a cultural centre of excellence.

We Are Ipswich is an alliance between DanceEast, the New Wolsey Theatre, Gecko physical theatre company and the Robert Pacitti company. They are all Arts Council key National Portfolio companies.

DanceEast artistic director Brendan Keaney announced the collaboration as part of the spring season launch for DanceEast.

He said that two New Wolsey shows, Macbeth: Blood Will Have Blood and Gecko’s Institute will be staged at the Jerwood DanceHouse because the New Wolsey thought the DanceEast’s studio was a more intimate venue.

“There is a strong sense amongst us that if we share and plan together we can raise the profile of Ipswich and its cultural offer.


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“Amazing work is taking place here but not enough people outside the town know that.

“We have cultural organisations based here that have an international reputation. I was at a reception at the French embassy recently and made a connection because the person I was speaking to knew of Robert Pacitti and his work.

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“Likewise Gecko are leaders in their field and they tour the world. Both ourselves and the New Wolsey produce top-quality work and take Suffolk out to the world. We all believe that we will be stronger together.”

Sarah Holmes, chief executive of the New Wolsey, said that the collaboration was in everyone’s interest allowing audiences to become acquainted with other venues and other world-class work being created in Suffolk.

“We Are Ipswich is a chance to show the world what Ipswich has – and what it could have – in terms of arts and culture. It has no boundaries or constraints, and the possibilities of what we can come up are plentiful and all spectacularly innovative.”

Robert Pacitti, the Ipswich-born international performance artist and founder of the SPILL Festival said it was all about establishing Ipswich as a big presence on the cultural map.

“We Are Ipswich is about making the most of what Ipswich has to offer. We have some great resources in our town, not least a wealth of talent and enthusiasm within the creative industries to make great things happen for locals and visitors alike.

“We have something very special going on in Ipswich right now, and the exciting thing is that it’s getting better all the time.”

The products of this collaboration will appear during the spring 2014.

DanceEast’s collaboration with Protein dance, Border Tales, runs at the DanceHouse from February 12-15; the New Wolsey’s co-produced production of Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera runs from March 12-22; Gecko’s Institute runs at the DanceHouse from May 1-3; and the Pacitti company’s international SPILL Festival will be based in Ipswich in spring next year. Selected performances will be reprised at the DanceHouse in the autumn.

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