Category: Articles

11 May 2022

The Theatre Challenge is in Ipswich at the Regent Theatre

As someone who was born in Ipswich, lived there, went to school in the town and worked there I have many memories of the Regent Theatre in Ipswich, which I knew as The Gaumont. As a child it was here that I had my first experience of the cinema, attended Victor Sylvester ballroom dance classes in what had been the restaurant, and had a major […]

4 May 2022

The Theatre Challenge 2022 arrives in Bungay – at the Fisher Theatre

There used to be, in the early 19th century, a family-owned touring theatre company, The Norfolk and Suffolk Company of Comedians’. Led by David Fisher, it would tour around an East Anglian circuit of theatres that he built, for two months each before moving on, to return very two years. He had thirteen theatres in places such as Halesworth, Woodbridge, Eye, Thetford, Beccles, Swaffham, and […]

19 April 2022

Rachel’s Theatre Challenge reaches Sudbury – The Quay Theatre

A fascinating Grade 2 Listed building, by the River Stour, the Quay Theatre in Sudbury was, according to its website “ Once a run-down building by a rubble-filled section of water next to the derelict gasworks….…it  began life in 1791 as the principal warehouse for The River Stour Navigation Company. The company went into liquidation in 1913, and the building was used as a store for […]

31 March 2022

Review: The Birds and the Bees, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

When you see an ‘intimacy coordinator’ (Jenefer Odell) listed in the programme, you know that the play is going to be… well, a little bit saucy! All I can say is that she did a good job. (The split-second timing with the lighting saved some blushes too).  This attention to detail probably helped the actors in this hilarious comedy, as they were completely relaxed about […]

25 March 2022

Review: ‘Home, I’m Darling’ at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

Review – Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds Home, I’m Darling opens with an intriguing set… a kitchen, sitting room and hall and stairs… all decorated in 1950’s colours and styles (where did they find that oven and fridge?). Happily married Judy (Rosanna Miles) and Johnny (Toby Manley) are living the 1950’s dream, her with her stiff petticoats and frilly apron, and him […]

10 March 2022

Rachel’s Theatre Challenge 2022 reaches the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

THE NEW WOLSEY THEATRE, Ipswich Built in 1979, this is a modern 400 seater theatre with excellent viewpoints, wherever you sit. It both ‘receives’ plays that are touring, does a lot of co-productions with other theatres and produces its own work. In recent years it has very successfully become known for the quality of its plays and Rock and Roll pantomimes, using actor-musicians. The theatre […]

16 February 2022

The Theatre Challenge 2022 reaches the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds.

THEATRE ROYAL, BURY ST EDMUNDS A real jewel in the crown of Suffolk’s many wonderful theatres is the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, the third oldest in the country. The National Trust has it on a 999 year lease but it is run as an independent working theatre. Built in 1819 by William Wilkins when it had productions a couple of times a year, […]

13 February 2022

The Theatre Challenge 2022 reaches Felixstowe

The Spa Pavilion Theatre, Felixstowe: With its landmark location on the promenade overlooking the sea, surrounded by cliffside gardens with winding well-lit pathways, my tour of every theatre in Suffolk in twelve months is in Felixstowe at the Spa Pavilion.  The theatre is five minutes’ walk from where I live, but I probably don’t go to it as often as I should. More on that […]

25 January 2022

Rachel’s Theatre Challenge 2022 – I’m off!

  Theatre number one: Gallery Studio, Ipswich 22.1.22 After the disappointment of the postponed Queen Extravaganza tour at The Regent, Ipswich, the first theatre I’ve been to in 2022 is the Gallery Studio in Ipswich to see the Common Ground Theatre Company, on the closing night of their Christmas tour of ‘Sherlock Holmes meets Count Dracula’.  A mad two hour romp of music and laughter, […]

17 January 2022

Rachel’s Theatre Challenge Tour 2022

I have counted twenty-six theatres in Suffolk and this year I plan to visit them all, at least once.  In 1998 I visited every theatre in Suffolk over 12 months, reporting on its history, enjoying a different type of production, and making features about each one for BBC Radio Suffolk where I was a presenter at the time.  Some no longer exist – for example, the […]