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NEWS: Autumn season – New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

The sun has only just barely begun to shine on summer but, in Theatreland, thoughts are alreadyturning to autumn and winter seasons.

Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre today announce their autumn season, a mixed programme of musicals, comedy, drama and one night performances.

While many venues are moving to more conservative seasons, Sarah Holmes, chief executive at thetheatre, believes Suffolk audiences are braver than that. “I think funnily enough, people are wantinga bit of challenge, where they can trust you,” she says.

Holmes says her approach to programme is finding work to extend, interest and excite the localcommunity and the new season provides a mix of drama, comedy, musicals and one nightperformances.

Following in the Wolsey’s tradition of premiering new musicals such as 20th Century Boy and It’s aWonderful Life, the season opens with the worldpremièreof Mods and Rox, a new take on Cyranode Bergerac featuring classic songs from the 1960s.

It’s work that artistic director Peter Rowe has been developing for a while: “We wanted to do a show on a Clash tribute band; we pursued that for a while and in the end we realised weweren’tever going to get the rights to those songs and then Paul [Sirett, writer] started talking how he’d always wanted to do an adaptation of Cyrano De Bergerac. We talked about setting it as Punks vs. Rockers but that’s not what it was – it was Mods vs. Rockers. We’re now on draft three which is just about there, I think.”

Alongside the in-house work, touring productions are strongly represented in the season withEnglish Touring Theatre’s Sacred Flame and Pilot Theatre’s new adaptation of The Loneliness of theLong Distance Runner, coming to the venue in October.

Fans of Me And My Girl are in for a treat, as the Watermill Theatre bring their acclaimed revival ofRadio Times to Ipswich, starring Gary Wilmot and Sarah Crowe in a musical packed full of Noel Gay’sclassic songs.

For Rowe, these partnerships are key to the future of arts organisations: “The future is going to bemore about cooperation and collaboration and co-production and we’ve always done that in variousways. It doesn’t make sense to make a show for three weeks then throw it in the skip, if it ever did.”

One thing Sarah Holmes won’t do, however, is name her highlight of the season. “I can’t do that,absolutely no way! I never have a serious doubt about something until it’s all over – then maybe I will,but right now I think it’s a really good season.”

The New Wolsey Theatre’s new season goes on sale at 10am on Friday 1 June. Full details can be found at www.wolseytheatre.co.uk


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