Ipswich: Red Rose Chain reach major milestone in construction of new theatre

The topping out of the new Red Rose Chain's Avenue Theatre in Ipswich. L-R: David Newborn (Producer

The topping out of the new Red Rose Chain's Avenue Theatre in Ipswich. L-R: David Newborn (Producer at Red Rose), Charles Curry-Hyde (design architect), MP Ben Gummer and Joanna Carrick (Artistic director at Red Rose). - Credit: Archant

A theatre company working with vulnerable people in Suffolk has reached a major milestone towards the opening of a new venue for it to expand its work in the community.

The Red Rose Chain (RRC) yesterday held a topping out ceremony, celebrating the progress made on The Avenue Theatre, beside its base at Gippeswyk Hall, Ipswich,

Artistic director Joanna Carrick said it was “very exciting” to see the £1m Lottery-funded project begin to take shape after three years’ work.

“This will have a massive impact on what the Red Rose Chain can achieve” she said. “It’s a 100 – 120-seater venue, which means we can produce work in house at Gippeswyk Hall, so it’s very exciting for our professional theatre work, and it will also create a permanent home for the community we work we do.”

RRC states its objective as producing high quality performing arts theatre involving hard to reach groups such as recovering drug addicts, mental health service users and disabled young people.

Ms Carrick says the theatre, which is scheduled to host its first performance this autumn, will enable RRC to double the number of vulnerable people it works with, while expanding its exposure in the community.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who attended the ceremony, said: “It’s really exciting for me and the friends of Red Rose Chain to see the amazing progress that has been made with this wonderful new facility.”

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Charles Curry-Hyde, a partner at award-winning architects Feilden+Mawson, who designed the building in collaboration with Nicholas Jacob Architects, said: “It’s great to see the proportions of the spaces as they take shape. It’s going to be a very special venue for theatre in Ipswich.”

The county and borough councils have also supported the project.

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