Museum openings, food and crafts fairs, short ballets for short people, melodeons and more

Youngsters enjoy exploring The Museum of East Anglian Life

Youngsters enjoy exploring The Museum of East Anglian Life - Credit: Archant

For more ideas for what do across the region, check out our packed Event guide every Friday and our entertainment writer @WhatsonWayne on Twitter.

Chef Matt Tebbutt

Chef Matt Tebbutt - Credit: Archant

The Museum of East Anglian Life - Suffolk’s museum of the year - reopens on Sunday with Discovery Day 16.

With discounts on entry and memberships, there will be activities, face-painting, historic machinery in action, demonstrations of the blacksmiths’ forge and 19th Century printing.

Visitors to the Stowmarket site can enjoy a stroll down to the animal area, check out the nature trail or explore the walled garden, included in the National Garden Scheme for the second consecutive year. In Abbot’s Hall there’s one of your last chances to see temporary exhibition Edgelands featuring the photography of Tom Owens.

Discovery Day also sees the launch of a new trail, featuring the winning entries from the My Museum Photography competition.

New exhibits at Ipswich Transport Museum

New exhibits at Ipswich Transport Museum - Credit: Archant

There will be a traditional mini-fairground and steam traction engine driving experiences.


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Cressing Temple Barns, near Witham, hosts the Spring Food and Home Lifestyle and Crafts Fair from 10am-4pm, tomorrow and Sunday.

Celebrating all that’s good to eat and drink from across the region and far beyond, there will be everything from artisan cheeses and home cured and fresh meat to cookware and other home-related products.

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Now in its fourth year, there will also be a full programme of food and cookery demonstrations from Sophie Grigson on Saturday, TV chef Matt Tebbutt on Sunday and James Barber from The White Lion and The Brudenell in Aldeburgh as well as Masterchef contestant Ondine Hartgroves.

Northern Ballet's Tortoise and the Hare. Photo: Brian Slater

Northern Ballet's Tortoise and the Hare. Photo: Brian Slater - Credit: Archant

There will also be question and answer sessions with the Cressing Temple gardening team as well as guided garden walks. Visitors can also enjoy a range of stalls.

Ipswich Transport Museum also reopens from 11am-4pm this Sunday and will be open every Sunday and bank holiday until the end of November, as well as Monday to Friday afternoons in the school holidays and Wednesday afternoons in July and September.

There will be various special events throughout the year too.

Last year volunteers welcomed more than 10,000 visitors to the museum for the first time. Sunday’s opening coincides with the new Ipswich heritage bus day at Portman Road and the museum’s Cobham Road site will be linked via a special free bus service running every 15 minutes. A number of museum buses will be among those giving rides to the public.

You can see new displays including the Rapier Room, Railway Room and a two new exhibits - a 1972 Ransomes Combine Harvester and a 1999 Scania L94 Bus which is the museum’s first bus designed to carry wheelchairs. Its latest restoration, a horse-drawn Co-Op bakery van, in also very nearly complete.

“We’ve had a busy winter,” said museum chairman Mark Smith.

“We’ve converted the old paintshop at Priory Heath into our Rapier Room, which has full-size cranes, as well as models of various Rapier products. These were all designed and made in Ipswich and are a reminder of the town’s industrial heritage. The new combine is also a fantastic new exhibit and is displayed with the various agricultural sacks and scales so visitors can see the object in context.”

Northern Ballet visit Ipswich for the first time with Tortoise and the Hare, a reworking of Aesop’s fable.

Featuring live dance, music and theatre they will perform at DanceEast’s Jerwood DanceHouse at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm on March 23.

Once upon a time there was a speedy hare who never stopped talking about how fast he could run. Tired of being teased for his slowness, Tortoise challenged him to a race. No-one thought he could win, but life is full of surprises/

It’s the latest in the company’s award-winning series of Short Ballets for Small People, following on from the sell-out successes of Three Little Pigs, Elves and the Shoemaker and The Ugly Duckling which was later adapted into a BAFTA-winning programme for CBeebies.

“These ballets are classic tales beautifully retold through dance and are the perfect introduction to ballet for children and young families. I am thrilled at how extensively this latest production will be touring, bringing the magic of ballet to many audiences across the country,” said Daniel de Andrade, Northern Ballet’s artistic director of Short Ballets for Small People.

“It will provide a wonderful opportunity for children and their families to enjoy live performances designed especially for them and will hopefully inspire a new-found love for dance, music and theatre.”

Mendlesham Community Centre hosts the 17th annual Melodeons and More day, organised by the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust, from 10.30am-5.30pm tomorrow.

Musicians and teachers, including many of folk music’s top names, will give a range of classes for people to learn to play the melodeon and concertina.

There will also be a free music market from 10.45am-4.30pm.

From 8pm-11pm there will be a squeezebox special concert featuring ex-Bellowhead frontman John Spiers, Hazel Askew, part of the award-winning group Lady Maisery; Mellstock Band founder Dave Townsend, Boxtet and Steve Dumpleton.

Staging an event, gig, play or exhibition? Email event@archant.co.uk

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