It forms part of the emerging ‘Theatre Square’ development – a regeneration project to breathe new life into a formerly neglected part of Ipswich town centre. NW2 is a gift made to the New Wolsey Theatre from the developers that own the car parks on the site, including the landmark underground ‘Spiral’ car park. The building has been designed by Phil Waind of WGP architects and has a distinctive gold-coloured roof. Architecturally the building pushes the boundaries of standard design for community facilities.
NW2 will be the new home for the New Wolsey theatre’s learning and participation work. Working under the banner of a new ‘Creative Communities’ programme, the team responsible will have office and meeting space in NW2, as well as a large open space for participation work. This work includes curriculum-linked workshops in schools, as well as on-site opportunities for young people to learn a range of technical skills such as lighting, sound, design, theatrical make-up and more.
Inside the new building is a ‘Changing Places’ room – a facility for people that cannot use a standard accessible toilet. The Changing Places room enables people to use the toilet in safety and comfort because it is much larger than a standard accessible toilet. People that could benefit from the facility include people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people. Having this facility available during our opening hours could make all the difference for someone visiting the town centre, who may be unable to venture out otherwise.
The New Wolsey Theatre has always been a champion of making performing arts accessible to all. As a founder member of the ground-breaking Ramps On The Moon, the New Wolsey is part of a consortium of theatres striving to normalise the presence of deaf and disabled people on and off the stage. The Ipswich run of the extraordinary (ROTM) production of Oliver Twist was sadly cancelled due to Covid-19.