Robin Chesterman

Robin Chesterman (1930-2014)

At 7:30am on Wednesday 5 February 2014, there was a short but impressive thunder, lightning and hail storm in Ipswich.  ‘That’ll be right’ I thought. That day at 12 noon I was to attend Robin Chesterman’s funeral. And he was having a last shout!

Robin was the first Chairman of the New Wolsey Theatre Board. I have him to thank for bringing me and my family to Ipswich to re- open the Wolsey Theatre with my partner Pete Rowe. Robin was fearless in face of the sceptics; he knew that with the right people, drive and energy the theatre could open its doors again and become a significant force in the cultural life of Ipswich.

Whilst digging through a box file of early NWT Board papers Robin bequeathed to me a few months ago, I came across an article which had appeared in the Guardian on May 19 2000. This was a month or so before Pete and I were appointed, and Robin is quoted as saying…

“We are going to make sure we go back to an extremely high standard. We have to find a younger audience and we have to go out and seek new audiences.”

Thank you Robin from me, and the current and former members of staff who will forever remember you as kind, bombastic and forever cheering us on. I think I can also speak for the people of Ipswich and the UK theatre industry to say they too are really delighted that this theatre was revived and today plays an important role in their lives.

Sarah Holmes, Chief Executive.
February 2014.