Creative Communities

A Creative Community is one where everyone is given the opportunity to participate in, engage with, and discover the arts. Our work seeks to blur the lines between professional and community practice, and we produce activities that nurture creativity, develop skills, broaden horizons, and explore diversity.



Youth Theatres

Our Youth Theatres are a great place to make friends, explore your creativity, and develop theatre-making skills with professional practitioners and artists. All our Youth Theatre groups are full for the summer term and we are currently operating a waiting list system.

To join our waiting list please fill in this form.

If you have any questions about our Youth Theatres please contact us at:



Week commencing Monday 25th April  – week ending Friday 15th July (no sessions on bank holiday Monday 2nd May or in half term,  Monday 30th May – Friday 3rd June).



Youth Theatre 1 (school years 3&4 / age 7-9yrs): Tuesdays, 5 – 6pm, venue: NW2

Youth Theatre 2 (school years 5&6 / age 9-11yrs): Tuesdays, 6.45 – 7.45pm, venue: NW2

Youth Theatre 3 (school years 7&8 / age 11-13yrs): Mondays, 5 – 6.30pm, venue: HEG

Youth Theatre 4 (school years 9&10 / age 13 – 15yrs): Mondays, 7.15 – 8.45pm, venue: HEG

Senior Youth Theatre 1 (school years 11 + (ages 15-20yrs)): Wednesdays, 6.30 – 9pm, venue: HEG   

Senior Youth Theatre 2 (school years 11 + (ages 15-20yrs)): Wednesdays, 7 – 9pm, venue: NW2  



Prices given on a full term basis.

Standard Plus: £75  (For those who can and wish to pay a little more per term, this rate will help us to provide bursary places for young people who would otherwise be unable to access a weekly group.)

Standard: £60 

Second child: £40 

Means-tested (Universal credit or a young person living independently): £30 

Bursary (free) places are also available. Please contact us if you would like to discuss a Bursary place or have any questions or queries about Youth Theatre:


Youth Theatre Squared (ages 11-15yrs and 16-25yrs)

If you’re a young person with additional needs who wants to explore theatre making and develop your creativity, come and join us at these weekly sessions. Sessions will allow participants to explore the world around them, build their confidence and develop their theatre making skills.

Monday evenings during term time

Group 1 (11-15yrs or higher level of need): 5.45pm – 7pm

Group 2 (16-25yrs or lower level of need): 7.45pm – 9.00pm

NW2, Civic Drive, Ipswich, IP1 2AS. This venue includes a changing places facility. 

Groups are allocated loosely by age, but also take into consideration the level of need. We will have a conversation with each family/carer and place each participant in the group we feel they will benefit from the most.

Fees (see above).

If you’d like to join or if you have any questions, please contact us:


Youth Theatre Plus (school years 7+ (ages 11-16))

We are excited to be launching our brand new group Youth Theatre Plus this Autumn 2022!

This group will be specifically for Autistic young people, and will provide fun and engaging opportunities to explore creativity, build confidence, aid communication and raise aspirations in a relaxed and supported environment. The group is led by professional theatre practitioners with experience in making inclusive theatre.

Each session looks at different ways to explore creative theatre making, and we aim to provide opportunities throughout the year to share work made with friends and family.

The group will meet on Monday evenings during term time from September 2022.

Fees (see above)

Register for our FREE taster sessions to find out more and give it a go!

Taster session dates: Mondays 13th or 27th June, 5.45pm-7pm

Please use the link below to register your details. You only need to attend one session. Both sessions will be held at NW2 (directly in front of New Wolsey Theatre), Civic Drive, Ipswich IP1 2AS.

If you’d like an informal chat to find out more, get in touch with Becks Laws, Creative Communities Administrator:

Email:      Or call: 01473 295930



Short Courses

Young Technicians


Level: Introductory – you don’t need any previous experience, just come along and get stuck in!
Ages 16-25 yrs
Cost: Places are free but limited.

This short course is suitable for 16-25 year olds who are curious about or want to develop their knowledge, skills and employability in technical or theatre-making roles. Learn about sound, lighting, set design, digital theatre, prop making, stage management and more. Sessions are delivered by our professional Production Team on-site at the New Wolsey Theatre.

We will be running this course again in the future – dates TBC, please regularly check this page for more information. Contact us at the email address below to get added to our waiting list.

If you have any queries about the course you can contact us at: or call 01473 295930



Schools Tour 2022

The Lies You Tell by Yolanda Mercy


T has just moved from the City and he’s making a fresh start. He’s not ashamed of his mum, but he’s not sure the other kids will understand. It’s ok not to tell everyone the truth about everything, isn’t it?

This brand new, joyful, music-filled play encourages young people to speak up, and speak out, around their mental health and well-being following the disruptions of the pandemic.


Produced by three leading theatre companies – Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and HighTide – this play has been commissioned by Suffolk County Council and is aimed at young people in years 6 and 7.

The Lies You Tell will focus on the anxieties and mental health challenges that young people currently face and is designed to assist schools in supporting their student’s wellbeing.

A free CPD package created by Suffolk Mind is available with each performance.


Touring dates and further information

TOURING WEST AND MID-SUFFOLK : 13th June – 8th July 2022

To book for West or mid-Suffolk, or for further information contact Hayley at Theatre Royal Bury St / 01284 829 935

TOURING EAST SUFFOLK* : 12th September – 7th October 2022 – click here for more information for East Suffolk *Thanks to additional funding from East Suffolk Council, we are able to offer these shows to schools in East Suffolk free of charge.

TOURING MID-SUFFOLK AND IPSWICH: 10th October – 21st October 2022click here for more information for mid-Suffolk and Ipswich

To book for East Suffolk or mid-Suffolk & Ipswich, contact Natalie at the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich 01473 295 930

If you’re not sure which region your school falls into, feel free to contact either theatre and we will point you in the right direction!



Spotlight on Skills is a program of activity in which the New Wolsey Theatre, its staff, resources, auditorium, rehearsal room and participation space will all be available for schools to take part in a new and exciting active learning project with specific curriculum based content.

Working with professionals from the theatre, young people will explore elements of the National Curriculum; discover career pathways in the creative industries; develop essential life skills, and use their creativity to reflect upon their experiences, all in a safe, fun, supportive environment.

As one of the arts organisations that has worked with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation on their Teacher Development programme, we have been a part of a wide-ranging project that has successfully evidenced that young people’s learning can be dramatically enhanced by a practical, art-based approach to animating elements of the National Curriculum.

An ‘active learning’ approach has been shown to be especially effective at eroding disadvantage and supporting young people who might not have thrived in a conventional school environment to reach their potential.

Regardless of where your school is in its delivery plan for Science, Computing or Mental Wellbeing, our programme could recap, introduce or support the teaching of these elements of the National Curriculum.


For more information on our Schools offer please contact Sian Thomas, Creative Communities Producer:


Wolsey Writers


Do you have a story to tell? A touch of the poet? Are plays your scene?

Or are you struggling to find your voice…?

Wolsey Writers is a creative writing group that offers space to let your imagination wander; tips on how to improve; and encouragement to achieve your goals.

Wolsey Writers WORKSHOPS are facilitated creative writing classes led by Katie Ward, an award-winning Suffolk author, published in the UK and US.

We are also offering Wolsey Writers CAFÉ, a free, informal drop-in opportunity led by Katie Ward to meet other writers, share drafts and get feedback.


Wolsey Writers Workshops and Café are suitable for adults & young people age 16+ with a commitment to creative writing.

Places for all Wolsey Writers events are limited to 20 participants per event and booking is necessary.

For further information please visit:

Wolsey Writers Workshops

Wolsey Writers Café

‘It was brilliant – I can’t remember a better writing class.’



Arts Award and Artsmark

Arts Award Support

Arts Award is a range of unique nationally recognised qualifications for anyone up to the age of 25. It encourages the growth of artists and arts leaders, and inspires participants to connect with the wider arts world.

We are an Arts Award Supporter – meaning that we don’t run the Arts Award ourselves, but support schools and other organisations who are registered as centres, taking young people through their Arts Award.

Many of the workshops we offer could be part of building your students’ Arts Award portfolios. Get in touch to find out more: Sian Thomas, Creative Communities Producer, or call 01473 295930





The New Wolsey Theatre is proud to be working in partnership with schools and settings on their Artsmark Award journey. By supporting Artsmark settings, we’re helping put the arts at the heart of education, inspiring young people to create, experience and participate in high quality arts and culture.

Find out more about Artsmark here

To find out how the New Wolsey Theatre can support your Artsmark journey, contact Sian Thomas, Creative Communities Producer, by emailing or call 01473 295930


Looking Back: Get Happy 21

In Summer 2021, we worked in partnership with internationally renowned theatre company Told By An Idiot to host a week of workshops for young people with SEND which explored themes of their show, Get Happy. Matthew Wiles joined the team for the week as a Young Creative, a paid opportunity for early career skills development and work experience.

Matthew kept a blog throughout the week, reflecting on the activity and his experience in working as part of the creative team. Here are some highlights of his journey:

Day 1: Art

Today was the first day of my mentorship week at the New Wolsey Theatre, part of a seven-day learning experience for me. Today, the group’s theme was Wish You Were Here, which was an art workshop where the participants made post cards by painting over A3 pieces of paper with stencils and paint, and writing their own messages on them. I first assisted the group workshop leaders in setting up the spaces that they would be using, before helping with the register by checking the temperature of the participants before they entered. I helped the participants by showing them how to roll out white paint onto the papers using the rollers, and then how to cut out one of the stencils that they would be using for their postcards. After lunch, I made myself an asset to the group by using a hairdryer to dry out all of the paint on the participants A3 pieces of paper. The end result was a wonderful display of A3 postcards.

I enjoyed today quite a bit, and found myself almost always having something to do during the workshops that we had, whether it was helping out the participants or someone else instead, so that was good.


Day 2: Music

Today’s workshop was much more relaxed, as we focused on playing instruments and learning how to make rhythms rather than creating new pieces of arts and crafts. I helped to sign in and register arriving participants much like I did yesterday, only this time I was given much more independence to do so. Once the group had finished their warmups, we began to use various instruments to build a rhythm and tune. After that, we created a song with them, before practicing with vocal warmups for the second part of the session, and moving to create a vocal and instrumental song at the end of the day.

The last part of the session was focused on compiling ideas to make lyrics for a song, which I helped  to write down, that the participants then sung into a recorder. This session was much calmer than the previous workshop, with more emphasis on playing than with creating. All in all, while I did enjoy the workshop today, I hope that tomorrow’s will allow me to be more practical, and have a bigger hand in what’s going on.


Day 3: Hip Hop

This workshop was much more energetic and focused on physical movement when compared to yesterday, as we focused ourselves on dancing.  First, we warmed up our bodies with games, and then began to develop a shared dancing technique with the practitioner Martell, by copying his movements and building onto them, developing a routine that we all could perform in unison.

After a quick lunch, we created a second routine and recorded our final rehearsal of the dance piece, which we then drew out in stick figures, which I personally called the Wibbly-Wobbly Movey-Wovey.

I found this workshop to be a lot more fun and rewarding than the previous day’s workshop, as I found it to be physical and inventive, even if I grew tired from it and had to step outside for a few minutes in order to regain myself!


Day 4:  Slapstick Comedy

Today’s workshop was mostly focused on activities, with the first activities of the day being a warm up involving passing a clap around the circle that we were in, as well as introducing ourselves to the group along with our favourite foods, and then performing activities such as copying the movements of the others in the group before changing it, as well as getting into pairs, changing three things about our physical appearances, and then guessing what those changes were.

There were not a lot of actual tasks for me to do this in this session, so I joined in with and encouraged the participants in their activities. We used one of my favourite warmup exercises, Wink Murder, which I had a lot of fun in.  I found the session to be too energetic at times, especially in the morning. However, I was able to participate more in the afternoon activities and found myself enjoying them more, especially with how they were focused more on collective work instead of individual participants.

Day 5: Installation and Technical Rehearsal

Today was the final day of my week-long work experience with the New Wolsey Theatre and Told By An Idiot.

The first part of the day was focused on creating the installation for the postcards and other pieces of work that the participants had made over the week, as well as snippets of my blog. With the other helpers, we stuck two pairs of the stands together before cutting slices into the sides and pushing string into them, making them look like clotheslines, to which we then hung the postcards and other pieces on, and then carried them over to the foyer and finished the installation. Afterwards, I watched the performers for the TBAI staff, and saw what they intended to do for tomorrow’s performances.

Overall, this week has been very informative for me, as I was able to learn a lot about what I might get from a future possibly working at the Wolsey, and I look forward to seeing and hearing as to what happens with the TBAI crew and the Wolsey in the future.


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