How you can support Suffolk’s arts communities

A message from the New Wolsey theatre

A message from the New Wolsey theatre - Credit: Carl Lamb

At this time, your local theatres and arts hubs need your support more than ever before

Marty O�Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra performing at St Peter's

Marty O�Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra performing at St Peter's - Credit: Allison Burke

The effects of the Coronavirus have been swift and devastating for everyone but particularly for the theatre and the arts industries. At the best of times, it’s either feast or famine and for many the feast is not always that bountiful.

Also, arts companies largely survive on people coming through the door and buying tickets. Even larger, regional institutions like the New Wolsey, Snape Maltings, and DanceEast rely on ticket sales to keep the wolf from the door.

Suffolk has a wealth of hugely influential and important arts companies based within its borders – eight Arts Council designated National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) regional companies deemed to be creating work of national importance. It would be all too easy to lose them if we were not careful.

But, it’s not just the big players, the smaller theatres and arts venues also have an important role to play. They are part of the glue that keeps communities together. They allow people to meet, mix and share a common experience.

Theatres and arts venues of all sizes need our support if they are to continue. There are several simple things we can all do to help ensure they continue to thrive after the Coronavirus lockdown is over. We can refuse the refund – donate the price of tickets all ready booked back to the theatre, we can volunteer to work at venues when they re-open to keep costs down and simplest of all we can buy tickets to events. We can support the local arts community in all its various forms and help continue Suffolk’s tradition of providing top quality arts and entertainment for all.

Details of how to donate to our arts companies are available on the web pages of the individual companies.

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A message from the New Wolsey, Ipswich

It’s certainly been an unusual time over the last few months abut we’ve been truly humbled by the incredible kindness we’ve seen from our audiences. Many people have either turned their tickets into donations or promised us that they’ll be back when we re-open. We can’t wait for the day when we can get back on to the stage and welcome everyone into the theatre again.

There are a couple of things that people can do to help the New Wolsey and to make sure we’re fighting fit when our doors open again. One is to become a member of the New Wolsey Theatre, there are several different levels to choose from with benefits including priority booking, bar discounts and behind-the-scenes access.

The second is to grab a ticket to Jack and the Beanstalk, our Rock’n’Roll panto, packed full of live music, popular songs and comedy. We also have two special 20th birthday shows planned to take place on January 31st and February 1st. These will be an event like no other, celebrating 20 years of the New Wolsey theatre. Head over to the New Wolsey website to find out more about memberships and the Rock’n’Roll panto.

A message from St Peter’s, Sudbury

As pubs, schools and post offices continue to close or be amalgamated with larger centres, it is often the arts centre which keeps a sense of community burning brightly in our towns and villages – this is certainly the case with St Peter’s Cultural Centre, on Market Hill, Sudbury, which continues to be the beating heart of this south Suffolk town.

Mid-way through an ambitious regeneration project, Allison Burke, of the Churches Conservation Trust, said that the people of Sudbury and Suffolk in general shouldn’t forget about the grade 1 listed venue as they had every intention of being open and entertaining the community when the current Coronavirus lockdown was over.

“The best way people can continue to support us is to come to our events, buy tickets, volunteer at the Centre, and help St Peter’s to remain an important part of Sudbury life because St Peter’s really is the heart of Sudbury.”

The regeneration project, which has received support from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Babergh District Council, will ensure the cultural venue will be even more accommodating when new toilets have been installed, a mezzanine gallery fitted and work on the roof completed.

She said the role of the venue was not only provide a broad programme of heritage and cultural activities, but also to ensure the preservation of the building, which dates back to the 14th century, and provide facilities for social welfare and community engagement.

“Heritage, and the Arts play an important role in modern life and St Peter’s is a vital part of the community providing a place where people can meet, talk and share wonderful experiences. We look forward to welcoming everyone back when we re-open our doors once the Coronavirus lockdown is over.” Viit the website for more information.