With a 400 seat main auditorium, and 100 seat studio, the New Wolsey Theatre is nationally renowned for the quality and diversity of its productions, both as a sole producer, and in collaboration with a diverse range of artists and companies. With a particular reputation for musical work, often employing actor-musicians, the New Wolsey is a leading player in the development of new musicals, staging the world premieres of It’s A Wonderful Life, 20th Century Boy, Mods & Rox, Miss Nightingale and Midsummer Songs. Recent musical revivals have included, a national tour of the Tim Firth and Madness musical Our House, Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, an actor-musician version of Sweet Charity, Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, and Made in Dagenham in co-production with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. They have joined forces with six other mid-scale theatres and Graeae Theatre Company to create Ramps on the Moon, an Arts Council funded strategic touring project, with the aim of increasing the engagement and participation of D/deaf and disabled actors, artists and audiences. The first production under this banner, The Government Inspector, was launched from Birmingham Rep in 2016, and 2017 saw their own production of The Who’s Tommy open in Ipswich before embarking on a national tour.
The New Wolsey Theatre is committed to developing new talent and new voices. Their annual PULSE Festival acts as a spring-board for new and emerging artists, as well as providing a home for risk-taking and innovative work from more established companies. The theatre run an extensive Creative Learning programme providing opportunities for young people to develop their creative, personal and social skills, as well as touring work to primary and secondary schools in and around Suffolk.
As part of its work to support D/deaf and disabled artists the New Wolsey began its ‘Agent for Change’ initiative in 2013, to extend its engagement with disability arts and artists in the eastern region and to provide a support network for artists and arts organisations.
The New Wolsey received the 2012 TMA award for Most Welcoming Theatre, and was nominated as The Stage Award’s Regional Theatre of the Year 2014. They have received the Trip Advisor Certificate for Excellence three years running for customer service, and have a Silver Award from Suffolk Carbon Charter for their environmentally friendly procedures and policies. As a not-for-profit organisation and a registered charity, they are funded by the Arts Council England, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council as well as through the invaluable donations, individual giving and corporate support of their many friends, patrons and sponsors.