The New Wolsey Theatre
The New Wolsey Theatre is a 400 seat Theatre in the heart of Ipswich, Suffolk. We're a registered not-for-profit charity, which means every penny of our income goes straight back into our work in the community.
With a range of productions to suit every taste, young and old and every pocket...we're certain you'll find something great on our stage that you'll come to see soon.
We offer a pre-performance menu, please follow the link. Any customer with dietary requirements can inform us in advance and we will accommodate needs where possible.
'Games and theatre making for ages 5+ – tell stories and create characters all through imaginative play!' Group games which are all about having fun and getting to know each other while developing team work, confidence, negotiation, and theatre making activities to get kids using their bodies and voices to make characters and tell stories – and using their own ideas to make theatre!” For more information about parties please click here
Let us know when booking or enquire with the Box Office, and we can get planning!
Children & Families
Storymaker is a traditional piece of storytelling for children aged 3 - 6. Storymaker runs once a month on a Saturday Morning during the professional seasons upstairs in the New Wolsey Theatre Bar. Storymaker is also available for schools, libraries, and community venues to buy. The Storymaker has two outcomes, Little Story for 3 and 4 year olds lasts for 20 minutes and is followed by a structured playtime and Big Story for 5 and 6 year olds lasts for 25 minutes and is followed by the opportunity for the participants to make their own version of the story that has been told.
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.
Staff Training: All our staff have received Disability Equality Training as a minimum, and we offer more specific training also - for example Deaf awareness training, Sighted Guiding Training, and basic British Sign Language
Alternative viewing: If an audience member is making involuntary noise we would not ask them to leave the auditorium, however if a companion decides to come out of the auditorium we have a quiet bar area where you watch the performance on a TV screen.
Infra- red system: Our Infra-red hearing system reaches all seats in the main auditorium. It is free, however we ask for a fully refundable deposit on collection. We have 3 wheelchairs available to borrow, comfort cushions, and junior ear defenders which can be requested from the box office.
Disabled Concessions:: We offer a flat rate companion ticket of £10.00.
Wheelchair Users: The New Wolsey Theatre can host up to 6 wheelchairs users. The New Wolsey Studio, which is situated on St Georges Street, is a smaller space and can host 2 wheelchairs users.
- Staff receive disability awareness / equality training.
- Documents are available in Braille _ Available On request
- Documents are available in large print.
- A member of staff trained in BSL skills is normally on duty.
- Staff are trained to BSL level 2.
For more access information please visit DisableGo
Babies & toddlers
- Buggy access – in the foyers but not in the auditoriums
- Baby changing facilities - Yes
- Breastfeeding friendly- Yes
- Activities & crèche - No
- Toys, Boxes & crayons - we have some colouring books!
- Lockers & storage – yes, lockers are in the front of house cloakroom and there is no fee
- Credit card facilities Yes
- Debit card accepted Yes
- Group rates available Yes
- Membership cards No
- Cash only No
- Cash machine on site No, closest cash machine in the Tesco across the road
Parking Yes, we are surrounded by 3 car parks
- Friendly dogs on the lead allowed Not in the buildings, but yes on our terrace
- Assistant dogs allowed , inside the theatre and auditorium
The best way to find out what's on is by visiting our website at www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/whatson - you can also have a chat with our friendly Ticket Sales team by calling 01473 295900. If you're nearby, come in and see us, our Cafe is open every day and you can soak up the atmosphere of a working Theatre while having a freshly brewed coffee!
We can't wait to welcome you here soon. Call the Ticket Desk on 01473 295900 to talk to one of our friendly people from Monday to Saturday 10.00am to 8.00pm. We’ll stop taking calls at 6.00pm when there’s no evening shows but you’ll be able to leave a message for us to call you back. If there’s a show on a Bank Holiday or Sunday we’ll be able to take calls from 2 hours before the performance.
BUT! Before you do, it would be really handy if you could have the following info ready:
• The performance date and time, number of tickets you require
• Your preferred price band
• Any requirements
• The credit or debit card with which you’ll be paying
• We are also happy to receive TextRelay calls.
Booking in person
The Ticket Desk is the first thing you’ll see when entering The New Wolsey Theatre.
- It’s open Monday – Saturday, 10.00am – 8.00pm (but closed Saturdays during August).
- When there is no performance, we close at 3.00pm – you can still telephone us until 6.00pm on those days.
- On Sundays and Bank Holidays, we open two hours before the scheduled show start time.
- We have a low level service counter and a hearing loop at the Box Office.
Booking by email
Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org of the show and performance you’re thinking of seeing, and we’ll go from there.
Booking by fax
If this is really your thing, you can pipe it through to 01473 295901. :-)
A few more things you should know:
- Our ticket prices are subject to change as the theatre fills. We always recommend booking early to secure the best seats at the best price.
- To ensure the best experience for our audiences and actors some seats are not offered for sale until seats towards the front of the theatre are sold. If you have any specific access requirements please do contact a Ticket Sales Assistant.
- We don’t charge booking fees but we are a registered charity so if you do fancy leaving us a small donation instead we would be very grateful.
- If you would like us to post your tickets we’ll ask for £1.00 to cover costs of an envelope, stamp, and stroll to the postbox.
- Tickets booked five days or fewer before the performance will be held for you to collect on the door. If you need to exchange or reprint tickets, you will be asked to collect them in person from the Ticket Desk.
- Reserved tickets (those awaiting payment) will be held for up to five days.
- If calling outside office hours or during peak times, you can leave your booking order on the answering machine or just ask us to call you back – don’t forget to leave us your details!
For information on bus routes to the theatre within town please contact:
Ipswich Buses/Suffolkbus Rural services:
9am - 5pm 01473 250500
After 5pm 01473 232600
or visit www.ipswichbuses.co.uk
Or if travelling from outside of Ipswich contact:
First Eastern Counties
- For train information please visit Greater Anglia.
- For timetable information and general ticket enquiries, contact the National Rail Enquiry Service on 08457 48 49 50.
- To purchase any rail ticket, ring National Rail Customer Service Centre on 0845 600 7245.
- Our Café Bar is a lovely place to eat or to have a drink at any time – no ticket required!
- The Café Bar is open from 10am to the end of the last interval of the day Monday to Saturday. We close at 3pm when there is no evening performance and on Sunday's and Bank Holiday's we'll be open 2 hours before the performance.
- So whether you're popping in to book a ticket or heading into to town to shop, the theatre is a pleasant place to enjoy morning coffee and lunch – and, of course, it’s ideal when you are seeing a show, especially if you're taking advantage of our new pre-show menu.
You can choose from:
An excellent range of freshly prepared rolls, sandwiches & panini's, which change daily and seasonally
- Homemade soups
- Jacket Potatoes with a variety of fillings
- Fair-trade, Rainforest Alliance & Organic Coffee
- A wide range of hot and cold drinks including syrups for the adventurous
- All New Wolsey Café Bar produce is sourced from local suppliers and businesses and we're fully WiFi enabled too.
Audio Described performances give you a live commentary about the action happening on the stage through a pair of small headphones. It’s a great way for anyone who finds it difficult to see the details of a performance to still enjoy coming to the theatre.
If you use television audio description, a magnifier or large print books at home then live audio description means you can enjoy a theatre outing with your friends and family.To help you immerse yourselves in the show as much as possible we offer touch tours before each audio-described performance enabling you to explore the stage and get a feel of the set and costumes before the play starts.
We recommend Audio Description headsets are pre-booked at the Box Office for a returnable deposit of £10.00.
British Sign Language
During a British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreted performance an interpreter stands on or at the side of the stage, clearly visible to the audience, and interprets the spoken word and sound effects for Deaf patrons who use BSL.
Ensure you tell the box office you are booking to use the interpreter and they will seat you appropriately.
Captioning converts the spoken word into text that provides people with hearing loss access to live performance. In captioning, the words appear on a screen at the same time as they are sung or spoken.
Captioning is a great way for anyone who finds it difficult to hear the actors speaking to still enjoy coming to the theatre. You may hear most things but if you need to see people’s faces to follow a conversation or struggle with certain voices, accents or styles of speaking. You will see the words spoken by the performers displayed as text on a screen on or next to the stage. You will also see the name of the character who is speaking and a description of any sound effects. It’s a bit like television subtitles.
People who are studying classic texts or want to improve their English may also find captioning useful.
A Relaxed Performance is one which has been carefully adjusted to reduce anxiety or stress for those who might otherwise find the experience unsettling or difficult.
For example, someone with autism, sensory and communication needs and/or a learning disability might be reluctant for a variety of reasons to attend public theatre performances. Relaxed performances are a fantastic way to offer families the chance to experience theatre together. In a Relaxed Performance, the audience benefit from a relaxed environment as the performance is adjusted to reduce anxiety or stress, for example changes are made to sound and lighting to eliminate surprise and soften their impact. There is a relaxed attitude to noise and moving around the auditorium during the performance.
Audience members always have the option to watch the show on plasma screen in the bar if being in the auditorium becomes overwhelming. We introduced relaxed performances as an extra option for audiences and to remove barriers to access and enjoyment. It's about making the theatre welcoming and inclusive for all.
The auditorium is accessible from the street without encountering any steps. Row C is accessible from the Ground Floor Foyer without using steps, and Row K also, via the passenger lift to the Bar area on the first floor. Guide dogs are welcome throughout the building and, if you prefer, we will happily look after your dog whilst you watch the performance.
The theatre is accessible from the street without encountering any steps. The front doors to the theatre are newly automated for easy access.
Row C and Row K are accessible without encountering any steps. For each subsequent row there are two steps. There are four spaces available for wheelchair users in the auditorium, two in Row C and two in Row K. Click here to view seating plans where accessible seating is indicated in yellow.
Outlets & Amenities
The Box Office is located inside the main entrance. It has a low level service counter and an induction hearing loop system – to use turn your hearing aid to T. There is one accessible toilet on the ground floor near the Café Bar and one in the Bar on the first floor. You can pre-order interval drinks at the Café Bar and the Bar to avoid queuing.
Infra Red Hearing Enhancement System
There is an Infra Red Hearing System in the auditorium for patrons who need hearing enhancement. This replaces the traditional 'loop' that you might come to expect. You will need a headset to take advantage of the system. Head sets are collected from the Box Office for a returnable deposit of £10.00. You can either choose an in-ear headset that acts as headphones or a transmitter that enables your hearing aid to pick up a personally created loop by switching your hearing aid to 'T'.
Touch Tours & Audio Described Performances
Touch Tours for visually impaired patrons are available before Audio Described performances. Touch tours introduce blind and partially sighted visitors to the arrangement of the stage and help participants to engage with the ideas, props and costumes. Please contact the Box Office for information on booking Touch Tours and headsets for a returnable deposit of £10.00.
The most convenient collection / drop off point for taxis is at the rear of the theatre by the Stage Door. The rear of the theatre is on Chapman Lane accessible via Black Horse Lane. From there the theatre is accessible via a ramp to the side of the building.
For daytime productions Suffolk County Council’s free shuttle bus stops just outside the theatre on Civic Drive. This service runs from 7.00am to 7.00pm.
Ipswich Dial-A-Ride Ltd (IDaR) provides wheelchair accessible minibuses- call 08453 479379 between 10.30am and 4.00pm.
The Spiral Underground and Wolsey Surface Car Parks are managed by Britannia Parking. The Spiral Underground Car Park in front of the Theatre is open for evening theatregoers. We would strongly advise patrons driving to the theatre to make use of this service.
Theatre groups and Classes
If you’re under 22 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)
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
Youth Theatre Squared
- Monday evening workshops
- 1 annual presentation
- Yearly cost: £120/ £90 for a second child, £60 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 is led by Tanya White, and assisted by Debbie Grant and Liam Gregory. There isn’t an audition for this group, so please contact us for more information.
- Thursday evening workshops
- Cost: Places are free but limited
- We also run 6 session short courses in Directing, Technical/Stage Management, and Marketing/Communication for 16 – 25 year olds. Places are free, but limited, so get in touch to register your interest.
Take a selected scene from page to stage, work with actors, see and interrogate a range of performances and more.
- Weekly sessions: THURSDAY 6:30 – 9:00
- Hearing Loop Systems
- Wheelchair accessible performances
- Party Guide
- Party Venues
- Attractions and Museums
- Indoor Play/Activity
- Indoor Activities
- Special Needs
- Special Need Support
- Special needs discounts
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