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New Wolsey Theatre and China Plate’s PULSE Festival Ipswich 2018 line-up

PUBLISHED: 12:13 24 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 29 March 2018

Me and Robin Hood, one of the shows at this year's PULSE Festival Ipswich. Picture: JAMIE GRAMSTON

Me and Robin Hood, one of the shows at this year's PULSE Festival Ipswich. Picture: JAMIE GRAMSTON

Jaimie Gramston

Tickets are now on sale for this year’s PULSE Festival Ipswich, bringing together some of the best contemporary performances and works in progress from established and emerging artists.

Poet Luke Wright, one of several artists performing at this year's PULSE Festival Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWNPoet Luke Wright, one of several artists performing at this year's PULSE Festival Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Celebrating its 18th anniversary, the 10-day event, sponsored by the Harrison C White group, is presented by the New Wolsey Theatre and China Plate and runs from May 31-June 9.

Highlights include Hoipolloi’s latest show Me and Robin Hood, performed by Shôn Dale-Jones. Exploring the true value of art and money, it’ll raise funds for the charity Street Child United World Cup 2018 which uses sport to connect, protect and enable children who live on the world’s streets to build better lives.

The Suitcase Prize Day sees artists presenting shows that can be toured on public transport. Last year’s winner, James McDermott, returns with his latest work. Rubber Ring is a coming of age comedy about a teenage Morrissey fan’s struggle with his sexual identity and rural Norfolk heritage.

Dante or Die’s User Not Found is an interactive digital experience. Armed with a smartphone and headphones, the immersive fly-on-wall drama focuses on what happens to your digital legacy when you die.

East Anglian poet and performer Luke Wright’s Edinburgh hit verse play Frankie Vah deals with love, loss and belief against a backdrop of grubby indie venues and 1980s politics. Millions have enjoyed his verse documentaries on Channel 4 and his work is often heard on radio. He also curates spoken work line-ups at several festivals, including Latitude.

The Wardrobe Ensemble’s Education, Education, Education takes us back to May 1997. Tony Blair has won the election. Katrina and the Waves have won Eurovision. Channel 5 is just one month old. No one knows who Harry Potter is and Cool Britannia rules. It asks big questions about an entire country in special measures, explorings the stories that have shaped our recent political history and what the future might look like.

Topping off the festival is Paul O’Donnell’s almost entirely imagined Bon Jovi musical We’ve Got Each Other. The modern jukebox musical usually comes with a multi-talented cast, a live band, opulent sets and decadent costumes. This has none of these things, which cost a lot of money so he needs you to use the power of your imaginations.

Paul Warwick, director of China Plate, said: “What we try to do with Pulse is programme a great big chocolate box of a festival. Lots of flavours. Something for everyone. Audiences in Suffolk are great.

“They come for things they think they’ll like, but increasingly they also come out for a surprise. That’s the best bit for me, people seeing something that they would only take a punt on as part of Pulse and loving it.”

Other shows include the return of critically acclaimed magician and sleight-of-hand artist Vincent Gambini with a pre-Edinburgh preview of new show The Chore of Enchantment during the scratch day. La Pelles Factory’s reimagine Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat. Proto-Type Theater’s The Audit - aka Iceland, a modern myth - uses original text, performance, film, music and animation to tell the story of how a nation raised their voices in protest against the global economic crash.

Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Ian Waite reminisces trips to Pakefield Pontins and reveals who he wants to lift the glitterball trophy.

This was the first ballet my friend and I had gone to watch and it was nothing but a magical experience.

Alice in Wonderland is not an obvious choice for Christmas but, as Wayne Savage found out, it provides fun-filled alternative to pantomime

Eastern Angles is celebrating 30 years of their irreverent Christmas show with the gloriously surreal tale of The Fenland Screamers. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke gets enjoyably lost in this ripping yarn set in the roaring twenties

DanceEast are staging the world premiere of a new festive dance work The Little Prince next week. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to choreographer Luca Silvestrini and soprano Donna Lennard about this innovative production

The Co-op Juniors are reinventing a piece of Christmas tradition this year when they bring their version of The Nutcracker to the Snape Maltings. We take a look backstage at one of company’s most ambitious productions

What did our arts editor make of the New Wolsey’s 2018/19 panto Cinderella?

The packed audience had battled through persistent rain and gridlocked traffic to see Jason Manford at the Regent last night and, my goodness, it was worth every hard-fought mile.

Geordie Shore star Scotty T will soon swap getting mortal for magic beans as he performs in an adult version of Jack and the Beanstalk in Suffolk.

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