£395,000 Arts Council England grant to re-fresh the interior of New Wolsey Theatre

4 Nov 2019 News

We are thrilled to reveal we have been awarded £395,000 to re-shape and re-energise the theatre’s public areas and auditorium spaces to significantly improve our audience’s experiences, while increasing the theatre’s resilience, relevance and sustainability. It forms the third part of a wider three-phase multifaceted programme of infrastructure and development that is transforming the scale and scope of our community and young people’s engagement. It includes a brand new, purpose built space dedicated to our participation work.

The new building forms phase one of the project, and building work is already underway. This phase also includes a reimagining of the public spaces that surround the theatre and over £2m has been wholly and generously financed by the owner of the site, Peter de Savary.

Funding received from Arts Council England will allow us to progress with the next two phases of the project; fitting out the new building which includes a tech hub and an accessible ‘changing places’ facility, along with transformative refurbishments to the theatre’s public spaces and auditorium. Renovations plan to include improved toilet facilities, a reimagined foyer, refurbishing 13-year-old auditorium seating and plans for an outside terrace accessed from the bar on the second floor. We are working with Waind Gohil + Potter Architects, the team working on the new building, to gather customer feedback on how we can improve their enjoyment when engaging with the theatre to ensure lasting memories of their time with us.

Our Chief Executive Sarah Holmes said: “As building work on our new purpose-built space for participation work is well underway, (thank you Peter De Savary!) we are thrilled that we can now progress plans for the next two phrases of this ambitious project, which will see our public spaces and auditorium more comfortable and fit for purpose . This is so much more than just bringing ageing facilities up to standard but about significantly contributing to our shared Ipswich vision to make our town a great place to live in, grow up in and celebrate the  communities surrounding us, and for us at NWT to continue to  create first class theatre experience with fully accessible and welcoming facilities.”

In order to see these plans come to fruition we must raise a further £150,000. They will be looking to Trust and Foundations, corporate partners and will soon be launching a variety of exciting opportunities for individuals to contribute to the regeneration of this much loved building.

We are also thrilled that fellow Ipswich arts organisation Gecko have also been successful in their bid, meaning the two Ipswich based arts organisations have been awarded a total of nearly £900,000 from Arts Council England to contribute to their ambitious Capital Projects. This investment is set to transform the town’s cultural offer and is a testament to the fact that Arts and Culture is attracting visitors, improving quality of life and creating a sense of place within our region as well as boosting the economy and driving social change.

Arts Council’s capital funding gives organisations the right buildings and equipment to be able to produce and present great work. These new and improved buildings are bringing benefits to artists, audiences and to the communities where they are located. The Arts Council’s capital programme supports organisations to develop resilience and to become more sustainable businesses.


(Photo Carl Lamb)