ILLUMINATIONS, one of the Aldeburgh Festival 2016 commissions


In the summer of 2016, the Snape Maltings Concert Hall was transformed into a circus big top for Illuminations, as part of Aldeburgh Festival 2016.

Inspired by the hyper-sensual surrealism of Rimbaud’s poetry set in Britten’s song cycle Les Illuminations, director Struan Leslie created a newly-commissioned staging fusing music and contemporary circus performance.

‘I have long wanted to create a theatre work with this music’, said Leslie. ‘Now I have found the means to do it. Theatre or dance were always too limited a vocabulary to convey this vivid world. Circus is the key to unlock it.’

Britten’s voluptuous musical settings took flight on the back of Rimbaud’s extraordinarily evocative verse, a spectacle of extremes, a world of febrile fantasy, a parade of grotesques and lurid, erotic imagery.

For this new work soprano Sarah Tynan joined an ensemble of international circus performers and Aurora Orchestra in a programme that included Britten’s Les Illuminations and Young Apollo, Debussy’s String Quartet and music from John Adams’ Shaker Loops.

Find out more about Aldeburgh Festival at Aldeburgh Music.

Plan a trip to Snape Maltings, and explore the rest of the area with The Suffolk Coast.


face of the century


As part of 2016’s PhotoEast Festival, Julian Germain’s Face of the Century was at the Waterfront Gallery in Ipswich.

At the turn of the millennium Germain produced a series of chronologically sequenced portraits of 101 individuals – their birth dates spanning every year of the 20th century – commencing with a 100 year old, ending with a new born baby. Face of the Century is one of a series of projects exploring Julian’s overriding preoccupation, ‘life and time, as recorded by photography. I keep coming back to these existential themes. I seem to be drawn to making connections between the young and the old. Very elderly people fascinate me as do children and especially newborn babies. Lives that have only just begun and others which are in their twilight months and years.” 

Find out more at PhotoEast.

Plan a trip to visit with All About Ipswich.



In honour of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, Red Rose Chain undertook a 25-hour Shakespeareathon at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich.

From 7.30pm on 5th June until 8.30pm the following evening, the theatre came alive with the sights and sounds of non-stop Shakespeare. This was Red Rose Chain’s biggest fundraiser to date featuring 25 hours of continuous Shakespeare in all sorts of guises performed by anyone and everyone – ranging from local people in the community that have a passion for drama, to the company’s youth theatre members, to West End casts (Les Mis, The Play That Goes Wrong) via video-link, a ventriloquist, opera socs, Red Rose Chain’s own professional company and many more! And it all raised money for an extremely worthwhile and exciting story telling project for under 5s and their families living in and around the Chantry area of Ipswich!

There were lots of other things going on in honour of the Shakespeare anniversary across Ipswich, including Trevor Nunn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the New Wolsey, and Red Rose Chain’s annual ‘Theatre in the Forest’.

Fancy paying a visit? All About Ipswich have got all the information you need about a visit to town.

Work in progress showing of The Wedding at Pulse Festival, Ipswich. Promotional image



Internationally-celebrated theatre-makers Gecko showed a work-in-progress version of their newest performance The Wedding on 4th June as part of Pulse Festival 2016.

As the world becomes more connected and our own country is enriched with multiple ethnicities, Gecko draws on influences of cultures from around the world, exploring the ritual of the wedding and its place in modern society.

Taking as the starting point the relationship between two people and the contract that they enter into, the work also investigated the marriage between the individual and the state. Are we a happy couple or are we entrapped, and is divorce an option?

Visit Pulse Festival.

Gecko call Ipswich home and make work here year-round. Plan a trip to see the town with All About Ipswich.


UFO Rendlesham


Since the 1980s, UFO hunters and conspiracy theorists from all over the world have come to Suffolk in search of answers. Why? Because in 1980, on the night after Christmas, several people in a small forest on the Suffolk coast witnessed one of the most infamous UFO events Britain has ever known.

At around 3am a strange glowing object, described as metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, about two metres high, lit up Rendlesham Forest. The hovering craft was witnessed by five USAF officers at nearby RAF Woodbridge before it flew off into the trees. It was seen an hour later, throwing off glowing particles before breaking into five separate white objects and flying off. Other objects were seen in the sky for over an hour. The next day three depressions were found in the ground where the craft landed and radiation levels were higher than usual.

All this was recorded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt in an official report that was backed up by several other servicemen and made available to the public in 1983. However, senior officers rubbished these claims, which immediately led to claims of conspiracies and cover-ups. The argument has gone back and forth for decades and you can read more about it here.  

And if you want to pay a visit to Rendlesham Forest to see for yourself, you can plan your visit with The Suffolk Coast.



pulse dance day


The final few days of Pulse Festival 2016 saw the long-running collaboration between DanceEast and Pulse continue with the 2016 Pulse Dance Day.

First up was Rhiannon Faith with Scary Shit. Scary Shit is a show about friendship, being a woman and asking for help. Quirky and outrageous dance theatre; Rhiannon Faith brings a real-life experience to the stage. A rollercoaster experiment Scary Shit is a show where two young women attend therapy to learn about themselves, the world and imagine a future without fear.

This was followed by The Hiccup Project’s May-We-Go-Round? May-We-Go-Round? is a collision of fiercely energetic dance and comedic
 theatre. Two performers jangle through the merry-go-round of romance, taking audiences along for the bitter-sweet ride, swinging wildly between hilarious truths and intimate vulnerabilities. The performers open a window into the tangled, delirious mess of it all, exploring the romantic clichés everyone can uncomfortably recognise.

For more information about the festival, visit Pulse Festival.

Plan a trip to see something in Pulse with All About Ipswich.

RPO head to the Marina Theatre every year for their Lowestoft Residency


The Marina Theatre has a long-standing relationship with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s home to the orchestra for their summer-long Lowestoft residency, and they’ve been returning every summer since 2006!

While in the area, the RPO engage in a number of local engagement activities to get locals and visitors alike excited about classical music, they also traditionally perform concerts across the summer.

Find out more about upcoming RPO shows and activities during their Lowestoft residency at the Marina Theatre.

Be like the Royal Philharmonic, and spend the summer in Suffolk. Visit Suffolk has lots of top tips to make a great stay.


This is not a magic show


At Pulse Festival 2016, Vincent Gambini brought This Is Not A Magic Show to the New Wolsey Theatre.

A performance of and about sleight-of-hand magic: its invisible mechanics, its clichés, and what it tells us about live theatre and make-believe. In a conversational yet crafted approach, Vincent Gambini presents astonishing close-up magic that invites us to question how enchantment and wonder are produced within a theatrical situation.

Possibly the first of its kind, Vincent Gambini’s This Is Not A Magic Show is part performance-lecture, part deconstructed showbiz, and part magic tricks that leave you, like, omg.

See what’s on the programme at the New Wolsey Theatre.

Plan a trip to town with All About Ipswich.




Taking place annually, Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios has established itself as one of the largest and most successful open studios schemes in the country. It gives visitors the opportunity to see new art, meet artists, and – with many of the works on display being for sale – to buy original artworks directly from their creators.

For Open Studios 2016 over 250 artists opened the doors of their studios to visitors interested in exploring the Norfolk art scene. With no need to book, visitors explored to their heart’s content.

For more information, visit Open Studios.

Plan a trip, and explore the rest of the county with Visit Norfolk.




With 2016’s edition of Pulse Festival came the UK premiere of Duckie, as part of the Festival’s children and family day.

Walking a little differently. Sounding a bit strange. This little duck knows what it’s like to not fit the mould. Critically acclaimed cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat is breaking out of his shell and re-imagining a childhood favourite, The Ugly Duckling, in his new work Duckie.

A classic tale of identity and belonging, the show is set in an animal circus. Peppered with dress-ups, songs, Disney references and at its core, an important message of acceptance, Duckie is a show for all ages – the entire family, children and the young at heart. Quack! Quack!

See what’s on at the New Wolsey Theatre.

Plan a trip to the next Pulse Festival, at All About Ipswich.