Do you have a self-contained property or a spare room in Ipswich that you would like to rent to actors, creatives and technicians that work with us here at the New Wolsey Theatre?
We’re looking for people who are interested in joining our Short Term Accommodation List to offer accommodation to the brilliant actors and creatives working at the theatre throughout the year. This accommodation should be affordable, accessible, inclusive, LGBTQIA+ welcoming, and anti-racist.
We’re especially interested in hearing from homeowners and renters who are part of the global majority or LGBTQIA+ community and can provide artists with spaces where they can be physically, mentally, culturally, and environmentally safe.
Being a Host can be very rewarding. As well as earning money, Hosts will benefit from a connection to the flourishing and exciting arts scene in Ipswich, as well as supporting the NWT in being a really great place to work. Hosts will meet a variety of people, and will enjoy special ticket discounts on shows their Guests are working on or appearing in.
This is what one of our Hosts has said about their experience:
“I enjoy the variety of people I have come and stay. I also hope having some where nice to stay when away from their homes makes a difference to them. On a whole it is a pleasure and it’s mostly non-intrusive. Playing a small part in the Ipswich arts scene is a pleasure and I get to meet people from all over the UK with differing backgrounds doing different roles in the theatre. It’s eye-opening and very interesting, I would highly recommend to others to become a Host.”
So if you have a spare bedroom or self-contained space, or have an Airbnb you manage, or maybe you know someone who travels a lot or has more bedrooms than they need, please get in touch with us to start a conversation about joining our Short Term Accommodation List.
Contact Sam Bates, Theatre Administrator, at email@example.com or on 01473 295 914.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some frequently asked questions you might find useful when deciding whether to become a Host. You can also download our Code of Conduct here for more detailed information.
Offering short term accommodation for visiting or touring actors and creatives is an important part of the theatre and arts industry. Often individuals can be on tour for months, visiting a different venue each week. Rather than staying in a hotel, a lot of venues offer short-term accommodation (often referred to as ‘Digs’) to provide a ‘home from home’ experience for Guests.
The Short Term Accommodation List (also known as a ‘digs list’) is a list of places where visiting actors and freelance creative staff can stay during their time working at the New Wolsey Theatre.
It is usually a spare room within your house or a self-contained space that you rent out for the duration of the person’s time working at the theatre. The duration of stay varies, and an actor or creative freelancer may request to stay with you for anything from one or two nights up to four months. You can, of course, choose not to accept any bookings which aren’t convenient for you.
The price is also up to you, but as a guide, our current short term accommodation ranges from £25-£85 a night or £100- £150 a week. Due to current subsistence rates set by UK Theatre we recommend £25-£35 per night and £100-£140 per week as this is what the majority of Guests will be able to afford.
Guests may be working anti-social hours, working late into the evenings. It is important for Guests to feel comfortable and at home in a space they can relax in after a long day. It is important for Guests to be able to prepare meals, do laundry and get a good night’s sleep as they would at home. Each individual will of course be different- some Guests may want to talk and socialise with a Host, as it can be lonely working away from home, whereas others may prefer to have quiet space, to relax, read, watch television or even continue working. Sometimes Guests may come and go. For example on days off they might chose to travel home to see family and friends- this could be for a weekend or a couple of days- so it is important to agree rules and rates ahead of time.
Guests will be coming from a variety of different backgrounds from across the UK and the globe. Guests may be culturally diverse, from the LGBTQIA+ community, disabled and/ or from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. They could be new to working in theatre, or experienced. If there is any intolerance to any of these differences, or if you are not happy or comfortable inviting in Guests from a variety of diverse backgrounds then please do not apply to be a Host. NWT is committed to offering the people who work at the theatre a positive and comfortable experience no matter who they are. Discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.
The Basic Requirements
A spare room, apartment or house – At the very least, Guests need their own room. Some prefer self-contained properties, so we ask Hosts to state what type of accommodation they offer clearly.
Comfortable bed – 20-year-old mattresses may be fine for friends and family but not for paying Guests. Beds should be reasonably new and supportive – especially as most theatre jobs are quite physical. Bedding and towels should be provided by the Host.
Privacy – Most Guests expect the room they rent to be their private space for the duration of their stay. Hosts should not access or attempt to access any private spaces unless there is an objective emergency, or after a Guest has given explicit permission and the Guest has a clear understanding of what the interactions will be and when.
Storage – We ask Hosts to provide a drawer or two and somewhere to hang clothes in their bedroom. If the use of the kitchen is also provided, then we ask for the provision of space in the fridge and cupboards to store food.
Cleanliness –We require all Hosts to provide clean sheets and bedding, a freshly dusted and vacuumed room and clean bathroom and kitchen areas (where applicable).
Access – Since the nature of Theatre often involves working unsociable hours, we kindly ask Hosts to provide Guests with a set of keys (or equivalent) to let themselves in and out of the property at will. Some Hosts request a security deposit for this and this should be mentioned in the accommodation description if required.
Proof of payment – Hosts should provide a receipt to Guests on payment.
Code of Conduct – All Hosts and Guests are required to adhere to our Code of Conduct.
The Most Popular Accommodation Also Has:
Great value – We ask Hosts to look at similar accommodation in their area and price their rooms accordingly. Many rooms are listed for under £100 per week – giving Guests money left from their touring allowance buy food, etc.
Proximity to the Theatre – Accommodation within walking distance to the theatre tend to receive the most bookings.
Great WiFi – Fast, unlimited wireless broadband is invaluable to Guests.
Private bathrooms or en suites – Being able to offer Guests that little bit more private space can make the difference between a good and a great stay.
Access to Kitchen Facilities – Not all Guests will require this, but most will. People often like to cook properly – not just heat up ready-meals. Ideally they would need allocated shelves in a cupboard and fridge for food. Use of a washing machine is also often a must-have. Most short term accommodation would provide tea and coffee but expect Guests to bring their own food and toiletries
Blackout blinds/curtains – Working unsociable hours in the theatre is common, a little extra sleep in the morning is good preparation for the following night’s performance. Blackout blinds and curtains help, especially in the summer months.
Calm and quiet – Can you ensure peace and quiet for your Guests to get a good night’s sleep and allow them a lie in after a late night?
Winter Warmth – Guests who work in theatre maybe around a lot during the day and out most of the evenings, some flexibility with the heating especially during the winter months can make all the difference between a comfortable and uncomfortable experience.
Understanding Hosts (and Guests) – Some Guests love to stay up all night ‘chatting theatre’ and some prefer to keep themselves to themselves. Being sensitive to the needs of each other makes for the best Hosting experiences.
Good communication – Hosts who quickly respond to booking requests and communicate clearly with their Guests seem to achieve the best results.
Accurate listings – Hosts who have an up-to-date calendar, good quality photos and accurate descriptions are letting their Guests know what to expect.
Parking – Is a bonus if possible, but often not necessary.
Top tip, try out your accommodation – Spend a night sleeping in the accommodation you offer. Did you get a good night’s sleep? It’s a good way to ascertain whether or not your accommodation is Guest worthy.
What can I expect from my Guests and the theatre?
What you can expect from your Guests:
What you can expect from the New Wolsey Theatre: