IPSWICH'S CULTURAL REVOLUTION
Ipswich is one of England’s oldest towns, and from at least the 8th century its dock was a bustling hub of trade. Exports of wool, leather, grain, farm machinery, railway lines and even ships left the port headed for Europe and the rest of the world. However, as time passed these trades diminished, and in recent years Ipswich’s thriving industry has been of a rather different nature…
In the past Ipswich was a maritime town and a hub of international trade
Photo (c) symmetry_mind
Photo (c) symmetry_mind
On Ipswich’s waterfront marina, where once ships set off along the River Orwell to the sea and the world beyond, there now stands the iconic Jerwood Dance House. This striking building is home to DanceEast: a progressive and pioneering company that is bringing world-class dance to Suffolk. DanceEast has provided a stage for some of the world’s best dancers for the last 30 years, including top ranking French ballet dancer Sylvie Guillem, and Israeli-born Hofesh Schechter, who is one of the most talked about choreographers of his generation.
Bromance perform at Pulse Festival in Ipswich
Ipswich’s artistic streak does not stop there. A few streets away, the New Wolsey Theatre offers visitors to Ipswich a heady mix of musicals, poetry, plays, storytelling and concerts, with something to see almost every day of the year. As well as touring shows arriving from all over the country, the New Wolsey Theatre puts on countless of its own productions, projects and collaborations with other theatres. Best of all, all the shows are incredibly accessible, with tickets rarely exceeding £20 at full price.
If music is your passion, then you’ll be well catered for in Ipswich. The Regent Theatre on St Helen’s Street is a popular venue for pop concerts, and for lovers of world music there’s Peppery Productions, a collaborative that brings folk, jazz, salsa, reggae and more to Ipswich on a regular basis.
Ipswich’s transformation from a hub of manufacturing to a centre of art and performance has not gone unnoticed. Last year the Guardian Hospital Club 100 list recognised Ipswich’s Robert Pacitti as one of the 100 most interesting and influential creative people in the UK as a result of his creation and direction of the highly experimental SPILL Festival of Performance.
You can find out more about Ipswich’s burgeoning cultural scene at www.ipswich-waterfront.co.uk.