What Is Creative Learning?

Creative Learning uses the arts to develop creativity, unlock potential, explore diversity and celebrate identity.


No Ball Games, 2010


If you’ve taken part, bought or commissioned work, or seen what we do that statement probably makes sense, but if you haven’t it might take some explaining. So here goes…

We use the productions, artists, skills and resources of the New Wolsey Theatre to increase your understanding of how theatre works, to develop your own creativity, to broaden your knowledge about a subject or the world around you, or to give you a better understanding about yourself. We even apply the techniques we use in a rehearsal room to give people the opportunity to see what motivates their own behaviour.

We deliver a service to schools and colleges, a programme of projects and events for children, young people and the community, and a platform for students, arts educators and teachers to gain new skills and share good practice.

AND we provide over 20,000 opportunities to participate every year.

For more information, get in touch, get involved: creativelearning@wolseytheatre.co.uk
01473 295 930

Find out more about what we do below…

“Working alongside Rob & Laura from The New Wolsey has brought fresh and invigorating insights into the world of performance arts for the Westbridge community! This is undoubtedly due to their unreserved commitment combined with a very skilful dedication clearly seen whilst working with our students. This combination has allowed us all to enjoy the successes that these relevant and interesting collaborations have brought. We cannot thank them enough for their work. In fact, so significant is their impact at Westbridge, it is hard to remember a time before our partnership.”

Carey Fish, Deputy Head, Westbridge PRU



Our Auditions for 2019 are now closed. Information about 2020 Audition Registration will appear later in the year.

Relaxed Auditions (7-18 yrs)
For anyone wishing to attend Youth Theatres 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 who may benefit from a calmer audition environment.
When: Fri 4 Jan 2019, 6 – 7pm (7-13yrs),  7.30 – 8.30pm (14-22yrs)
Youth Theatre Cost: £150 a year, £120 for a second child, £90 if you are in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are available

Youth Theatre 1 (7-9 yrs)
For ages 7 – 9, Group meets weekly on Saturday mornings during term time.
When: Sat 5 Jan 2019, registration from 10am, audition 10.30-11.30am.
Youth Theatre Cost: £150 a year, £120 for a second child, £90 if you are in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are available

Youth Theatre 2 (9-11 yrs)
For ages 9 – 11, Group meets weekly on Saturday mornings during term time.
When: Sat 5 Jan 2019, registration from 12pm, audition 12.30-1.30pm.
Youth Theatre Cost: £150 a year, £120 for a second child, £90 if you are in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are available

Youth Theatre 3 (11-13 yrs)
For ages 11 – 13 who want to develop their abilities as performers. Group meets weekly on Tuesday evenings during term time.
When: Sat 5 2019, registration from 3pm, audition 3.30-4.30pm.
Youth Theatre Cost: £150 a year, £120 for a second child, £90 if you are in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are available

Youth Theatre 4 (13-15 yrs)
For ages 13 – 15 who want to develop their abilities as performers. Group meets weekly on Tuesday evenings during term time.
When: Sat 5 2019, registration from 4.45pm, audition 5.15-6.15pm.
Youth Theatre Cost: £150 a year, £120 for a second child, £90 if you are in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are available

Youth Theatre 5 (15-18 yrs)
For ages 15 – 18 who want to develop their abilities as performers. Group meets weekly on Wednesday evenings during term time.
When: Sun 6 Jan 2019, registration from 11am, audition 11.30am-1.30pm.
Youth Theatre Cost: £150 a year, £120 for a second child, £90 if you are in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are available

Youth Theatre Squared
For young people with a disability or additional needs aged 11-15 yrs and 16-20 yrs who want to explore theatre making and develop their creativity. Groups meet weekly on Mondays during term time.
Meet the Practitioner: An informal chat with our practitioners who will share information about what to expect from the sessions:
When: Fri 4 Jan 2019, meet the practitioner 5-6pm.
Youth Theatre Cost: £150 a year, £120 for a second child, £90 if you are in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are available

Young Company
For young adults aged 16 – 25 who want to increase their skills and experience as theatre makers. Young Company is about finding your voice as an artist and making choices. We offer a programme of skills and training sessions combined with three annual productions, access to entry level employment and ongoing engagement with the industry to make a high quality platform for young artists. Groups meet weekly on Wednesdays and rehearse for specific projects on Sundays.
When: Sun 6 Jan 2019, registration from 3.30pm, audition 4-6pm followed by optional casting audition for The 39 Steps. 
Young Company Cost: £50 a year (concession £25). Bursaries are available

Children & Families


Storymaker is an engaging storytelling experience for children aged 3 – 6. It runs on selected Saturday mornings during our Spring and Autumn seasons, upstairs in the New Wolsey Theatre Bar. There are two sessions, Little Story for 3 and 4 year olds which lasts for 20 minutes and is followed by imaginative play based on the story that has been told. Big Story is for 5 and 6 year olds, lasts for 30 minutes and is followed by a participatory experience for the children to make their own version of the story that has been told. Both sessions are facilitated by one of our expert practitioners and children are encouraged to join in throughout. Brilliant fun for a Saturday morning!

Storymaker is also available for schools, libraries, and community venues to buy – please see our School section for more information.

Children’s Shows

Children’s Shows at the New Wolsey Studio are presented once a month, excluding the summer break, and run for an extended period up to and over Christmas. The work is made up of a variety of touring productions from established and emerging Children’s Theatre companies. The programme is designed to meet the needs of younger children aged 2 – 7. Tickets start at £10 per head for adults, with tickets for Under 26’s starting at £5. Productions perform between either 2 or sometimes 3 times through the day. This successful provision is complemented by the Storymaker offer, and is succeeded by some events in the main programme and the Drama Club offer.

Youth Theatre

If you’re under 25 and you want to work in the Performing Arts Industry, there are all sorts of ways to develop as an actor, director, writer, communicator or technician at the New Wolsey Theatre. Every January we hold workshop auditions for children and young people to select up to 200 participants to take part in weekly skills and development sessions as well as presenting a number of productions at the New Wolsey Studio and beyond all year round.

Junior Youth Theatre (groups 1 and 2)

Ages 7-11
Saturday morning workshops
1 annual production plus end of term sharings
Yearly cost: £150 / £120 for a second child, £90 if you’re in receipt of means tested benefits

If you want to make new friends and learn about theatre by playing games and telling stories these weekly groups are a great place to start. Throughout the year, participants develop theatre making skills through imaginative play, and begin to find their own creative language.

Every year the groups take part in Youth Perform!, a 4 day festival at the New Wolsey Theatre for which they will create a 10-15 minute piece of theatre to be performed on the main stage alongside other groups.

The group is led by actor and theatre practitioner Joe Leat, with two youth theatre assistants.

Senior Youth Theatre (groups 3, 4 and 5)

Ages 11-18
Tuesday (groups 3 and 4) & Wednesday (group 5) evening workshops
1 annual production plus end of term sharings
Yearly cost: £150 / £120 for a second child, £90 if you’re in receipt of means tested benefits

If you’re exploring your creativity and want to develop your abilities as a performer, these weekly groups give you the chance to work with industry professionals to develop your skills and understanding as young theatre makers.

Every year groups 3 and 4 take part in Youth Perform!, a 4 day festival at the New Wolsey Theatre for which they will create a 10-15 minute piece of theatre to be performed on the main stage alongside other groups.

There is an annual youth theatre production in the autumn term, for which participants are selected to take part from these three groups.

Previous productions include; 70% Myself, Haroun & the Sea of Stories, Wonderland & Sons, Jack Sheppard, Millions, Grimm Tales, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass.

‘…(the) company perform the piece with total conviction.’ The Reviews Hub **** ‘Millions’

‘…the New Wolsey Youth Theatre doesn’t disappoint!’ Ipswich Waterfront ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘…believable performances that would rival any professional production.’ Ipswich24 ‘The Grimm Tales’

Groups 3 and 4 are led by Sian Thomas, Creative Learning Producer and group 5 are led by Helen Baggett, Associate Director for Gecko.

Young Company

Ages 16-22
Wednesday evening workshops
3 annual productions
Yearly cost: £50 or £25 if you’re living independently

If you’re serious about a career as a professional theatre maker the acclaimed New Wolsey Young Company is an ideal stepping stone onto University, Drama School or even as a direct route into employment in the performing arts.

Every year there’s 30 places for young theatre makers to work together as a performance company to present 3 major productions, to develop their skills and understanding of theatre practice through weekly workshops, and to use theatre to change the world for the better!

We make a mixture of existing and original work that’s presented at both New Wolsey Studio, New Wolsey Theatre, and beyond.

Previous productions include; Yellow Moon, The Dice House, The Dumb Waiter, Woyzeck, Our Town, Spring Awakening, Passion, Vernon God Little, Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Punk Rock, The Elephant Man, Four Nights in Knaresborough, The Crucible, The Turn of the Screw.

Previous collaborations include; Doug Rintoul/Transport, Punchdrunk, Daniel Bye, Gecko, Rich Rusk, Analogue, Nigel & Louise/Shunt, Emma Frankland, Laura Mugridge, Danusia Iwaszko, Company of Angels, and Slung Low.

‘Each performance is astonishing in its detail…’ ***** Whatsonstage.com ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

‘The next generation has arrived and are determined to make their mark immediately.’ The Reviews Hub ****½ ‘The Elephant Man’

‘Performances are pitched perfectly…’ ***** Whatsonstage.com on ‘Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!’

The Young Company is led by Rob Salmon, Associate Director, as well as other visiting practitioners such as Mark Curtis, an actor, director and practitioner.

Youth Theatre Squared

Ages 11-20
Monday evening workshops
1 annual presentation
Yearly cost: £150/ £120 for a second child, £90 if you’re in receipt of means tested benefits

If you’re a young person with a disability or additional need who wants to explore theatre making and develop your creativity, come and join us at these weekly sessions. There will be the opportunity to take part in games and techniques, which allow participants to explore the world around them, build their confidence and develop their theatre making skills. The group works towards a presentation to friends and family in the Autumn term.

The group is led by Liam Gregory and Rachael Morrison, and assisted by Lorna Garside and Debbie Grant.

There is no audition for this group, instead we hold a meet the practitioner session in January, please contact us for more information.

Short Courses

Ages 16-25
Cost: Places are free but limited
Every year we run a free course each term for young people age 16-25, who want to develop their knowledge, skills and employability as young directors, writers or technicians. No audition – just register your interest by emailing creativelearning@wolseytheatre.co.uk

Young Technicians
Introductory – you don’t need any previous experience, just come along and have a go!
Learn about sound, lighting, set design, prop making and stage management and technical theatre roles.
Weekly sessions: Thursday 6.30pm-8.30pm
DATES 24 / 31 Jan / 7, 14, 28 Feb /  7, 14 March 2019


Taster Sessions


There are open access sessions every season for anyone who wants to see what we do and try it out.

Dates for 2018:

Junior Youth Theatre taster sessions: 2pm – 3.30pm on Saturday 8 September

Senior Youth Theatre taster sessions 4pm – 6pm on Saturday 8 September

To register your place at any of these sessions, get in touch here

Schools & Colleges

Ongoing School Activities

Our schools engagement programme has bags of opportunities for both students and teachers. We can offer you a wide range of ongoing workshops, Creative Learning Lounges for teachers, production specific events, Arts Award support, the chance to perform on the New Wolsey stage for Youth Perform!, and every year we tour two productions across Suffolk schools – one for primaries and one for secondaries.

We are constantly developing links between our productions, the people who make them and schools, and as such are always updating our offer. So keep an eye on what’s on, and get involved!

Creative Learning workshops

Schools Touring

Schools Touring Productions

Each year we produce two schools touring productions, one for primary and one for secondary. This year’s secondary tour is partly funded by Suffolk County Council and the Drugs and Alcohol recovery grants scheme. It includes engagement opportunities such as post show discussions and workshops. We use professional actors, designers, writers and directors to develop original theatre both with and for schools. Last year’s production visited 47 schools in the region and reached over 3000 students.

Touring Secondary Schools

Please find below details of our autumn 2017 touring production for secondary school year 9 students.

The New Wolsey Theatre Presents:

Who To Follow 

An interactive experience for students in year 9 to explore risk taking in connection to drug misuse.

Who to Follow will present four independent stories, each relating to a young person’s experience of risk, but from distinctly different perspectives. Students will choose their own journey between the four stories, which will either challenge or confirm their assumptions about what they believe.

The experience will culminate in an opportunity to decide on the fate of an unseen character at the centre of each story. This multi-agency project is a serious discourse with young people about their relationship to risk, and will give them the space to ask an adult questions and reflect on their own decisions.


As with all of our school productions, Who to Follow will challenge young people’s perceptions, make them ask questions and allow them space to reflect on their own lives. There will be a supporting workshop available for class sized groups to further explore the themes of the production.

Important Information:

We bring the show to you. We perform the show to an entire year group over the course of a full school day. We would need access to the school hall and possibly other classroom spaces to facilitate the experience

Cost: £440 plus VAT for secondary schools inside Suffolk

Curriculum Links: PSHE, GCSE Drama, SMSC Requirements & British Values

Tour dates: Monday 18th September 2017 until Friday 6th October 2017.

Do get in touch if you have any queries or if you would like to book a performance!

Make A Booking

Youth Perform

Youth Perform

The Youth Perform festival brings children and young people from all over Suffolk together to showcase their skills as young theatre makers. It is a unique opportunity for schools (KS2-4) to create a 10 – 15 minute piece of original theatre and perform it on the New Wolsey’s main stage.

This year the festival takes place between Monday 25 – Fri 29 June, and for 2018 we are celebrating 70 years of the NHS!

Read on for more info…



There’s a new patient on the ward with a mysterious illness. Spots before his eyes, hot and cold running nostrils, and long hair down his back. None on his head mind. Just on his back. There’s only one thing for it, Dr. Reckitt and Nurse Dimples must put their heads together to save Mr. Biggun from a fate worse than… stubbing your toe on the door frame or falling asleep on the bus.

Join children and young people from all over Ipswich and beyond to celebrate our amazing NHS in its 70th year, with some heart-warming stories of bravery and commitment, and some even older jokes!

Groups can use dance, drama, music or a mixture of any of these to present their 10-15 minute theatre piece. They will also have two workshops from one of our practitioners, the first to kick-start the project, and the second to give input later on in rehearsals.

If you’d like to get involved in Youth Perform!, get in touch with us to register your interest: creativelearning@wolseytheatre.co.uk

For Teachers

Creative Learning Lounges

These events are a chance to have a drink and some nibbles, chat to us and meet the creative teams and companies behind some of our productions. Oh, and see a show…all for free!

Each session includes meeting a theatre company or industry creative who will be bringing their work to us. These sessions may be chatty or practical, or both – but are always informal, and are designed to give insight into a variety of rehearsal processes and theatre techniques, and will give you invaluable tools for use in the classroom or rehearsal room.

Previous guests include Kate O’Donnel, China Plate, Susie McKenna, Original Theatre and our very own Peter Rowe – who have all shared creative practice as well as some fantastic resource material to accompany their productions. Here’s what teachers have thought so far…

“Incredibly interesting with a lovely atmosphere”

“The wealth of opportunities sounds wonderful for our pupils”

“Excellent resources…love it!”

“Very relevant and understanding to the needs of teachers”

“Very welcoming session, everyone was approachable”

On Thursday 20 September 2018 we will welcome Lucy Bird, Assistant Director on The Lovely Bones who will be chatting about the production, rehearsal process and background. You’ll also get to meet our newly appointed Head of Creative Learning Tony Casement, who will be able to tell you about opportunities for schools to get involved in the arts at strategic level, and who is keen to meet and talk to you about your creative and cultural needs!

You’ll also get to see Once that evening…all for free!

If you would like to come along just contact us.


Open Season

Open Season

The Open Season provides access to our venues, facilities and resources for the amateur and community sector in the local area. It’s their chance to display their achievements in a professional environment, celebrate their identity and showcase their talents. The season includes performances of small scale drama in the New Wolsey Studio, runs of performances of major musicals in the New Wolsey Theatre with our schools festival, charity and community focused events, and performances from the New Wolsey Young Company in between. Places are offered on the basis of a successful application. Applications are required to express an understanding of the potential audience for the work to be presented, demonstrate artistic ambition, or good cause i.e. historical or contextual.

For further information and to apply to perform your show, please contact: creativelearning@wolseytheatre.co.uk or call 01473 295960.

Open Access

Open Access provides structured opportunities for advice, guidance and mentoring, as well as increased access to the New Wolsey Theatre to the local amateur and community sector as a part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the development and sustainability of the amateur sector. We will offer time limited packages specific to their needs, advice, guidance and some mentoring will be offered at no cost, however specific forms of support and training will include a charge to the participant or group. Packages are offered on the basis of a successful application. Applications are required to express an understanding of the need for support and a description of what is required, which can include artistic guidance, technical training or marketing support etc…

Open Platform

The Open Platform is a web based resource. The page provides ongoing access to free and paid resources. Scripts for devised projects such as No Ball Games, workshop plans, design specifications etc will be offered at no cost thereby extending the life of these resources. We will also offer some resources at a cost such as the sets from Young Company/Youth Theatre productions that cost too much to store and therefore can be offered with a small charge.

Team Building

Role Plays

Working with actors from the New Wolsey programme the Creative Learning Team will create short interactions, role plays and sketches designed to reflect the training or learning needs of a corporate client. We will build on our success in delivering short performances for Learning and Skills Council and the Suffolk Leadership Consortium by promoting our capacity to deliver this as a service to the wider business community.

Skills and Training

Establish a new programme that uses theatre to transform perception, increase personal confidence and illuminate decision making. We will provide local businesses and corporate clients with bespoke training designed to provide them with the means to develop their businesses for the future. This falls into 2 distinct strands – 1: Working with an identified corporate training provider under the umbrella of the New Wolsey Theatre to offer specific packages around customer service, negotiation, etc. 2: Using the skills and expertise of the Creative Learning Team to provide enrichment opportunities including Combat Training, Make-up Training, Team Building etc.

Corporate Entertainment

The New Wolsey Theatre is well placed to provide corporate and private business clients with high quality entertainment attached either to the repertoire or by designing performances for specific events. This will take the form of small scale events for small parties, dedicated performances within a longer production run, and full scale performances commissioned for notable events.

Arts Award

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, so do take a look at our ongoing workshop offer. Below are some examples of how we could help your students complete their Arts Award:

Arts Award Discover: Take part in and discover the arts

Industry Day: £80 plus VAT for a class sized group

Give your students an insightful and hands on half day visit to the theatre. They will see how a theatre operates on a backstage tour, take part in a workshop to find out about theatre making, and meet some of our staff to discover all the different roles that make up a theatre.

Arts Award Explore: Explore, create and present your own work

Drama Club: £350 plus VAT for 6 sessions

This is a 6 week project for students to explore theatre as an artform. The series will develop their theatrical awareness and skills, and give them the creative language to develop new stories, characters and ideas, and ultimately present a short piece of theatre to an audience.

Bronze Arts Award: Take part, review and share your skills

Choose from one of our many one off workshops to take part in – you might fancy:

Staging Shakespeare’s Stories (KS2-3): £60 plus VAT

A lively workshop exploring the story and characters from one of Shakespeare’s plays

Shakespeare: Breaking the Barriers (KS3-4) – £80 plus VAT

A two hour workshop designed to engage young people with Shakespeare’s text, unpicking meaning and presenting the text using their own interpretations.

Blood, Guts and Gore: £80/ £120 plus VAT for 15/ 30 participants

A workshop in the art of gory theatrical effects for any age!

See and review a production – our tickets for schools are £10 or less, and for every 10 students you bring you get one complimentary ticket.



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 


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