Visitors to Bury St Edmunds’ Theatre Royal in April 2016 would have been able to see The Best Thing.

The Best Thing is a Swinging Sixties story of unconditional love from the UK’s leading full mask theatre company. It’s 1966. The record player’s on, her hair’s bobbed and eye-lashes curled. For seventeen-year-old Susan, life is an adventure waiting to begin. But what happens next turns everything upside down and its repercussions will last for decades to come.

Funny, heart-breaking and human, this is the latest production from the UK’s leading professional full mask theatre company. Established as an independent theatre company in 2006, Vamos Theatre has developed organically under the leadership of its Artistic Director, Rachael Savage, and tonight, the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds welcomes the company to its stage.

To see what’s on, visit the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds.

Plan a trip to Bury St Edmunds, and explore the surrounding area, with Visit Suffolk.


norfolk mystery


The Norfolk Mystery is the first in Ian Sansom’s County Guides series, a project where Sansom attempts to write a crime novel for every county in the UK.

The Norfolk Mystery is set in 1937 and sees disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton stony broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where ‘intelligence is essential’, he applies. Thus begins Sefton’s association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect. Morley’s latest project is a history of traditional England, with a guide to every county.

They start in Norfolk, but when the vicar of Blakeney is found hanging from his church’s bellrope, Morley and Sefton find themselves drawn into a rather more fiendish plot. Did the Reverend really take his own life, or was it – murder?

Seen as a must-read for fans of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this novel explores the beautiful Norfolk as a landscape for intrigue and mystery (as we discussed in a previous Culture365 post).

As we explored a few weeks ago, Norfolk is full of fantastic bookshops, where better than to buy your own copy of The Norfolk Mystery.

Spend a while in glorious Norfolk and avoid the suspense and mystery of a trip by exploring the county with Visit Norfolk.



Performing at DanceEast in April 2016, Nora is the coming together of dancers Eleanor Sikorski and Flora Wellesley Wesley. Their desire to dance together, their love of choreographic structures and their critical eye has given them the impetus to invite several distinguished dance makers to create work especially for them. In this, their first collaborative endeavour, they performed an evening of new works by the indomitable Liz Aggiss, acclaimed duo Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, and renowned French choreographer Simon Tanguy.

DanceEast has a year round programme of events.

Plan a trip to see something, and use All About Ipswich as a guide.


Stories of Lynn


Set within the magnificent, newly-revealed vaulted undercroft of the 15th century Trinity Guildhall, Stories of Lynn invites visitors to come in to discover the stories behind the notable characters that helped shape King’s Lynn.

Medieval Lynn was a port of international importance and one of the largest port towns in England. Its status can be clearly seen in the rich legacy of historic buildings and beautiful architecture visible all around the town, and in its amazing collections of artefacts and its comprehensive borough archive.

Using information from the archives and collections, the stories of the seafarers, merchants, mayors, magistrates and miscreants over 800 years of the town’s history are told through an exciting, interactive, multi-media experience.

The revitalised town hall complex will act as a gateway to the town’s other heritage sites including the Red Mount Chapel, neighbouring King’s Lynn Minster, Greyfriars Tower, True’s Yard, St. Nicholas’ Chapel and Lynn Museum.

For more information, visit King’s Lynn Town Hall.

Plan a trip to West Norfolk and discover the other stories it’s hiding! Visit West Norfolk.



Every year since 2013, the Suffolk Coast has played host to Felixstowe Book Festival.

Driving home after an exciting weekend at Cambridge Word Fest, Felixstowe resident Meg Reid thought “Why can’t Felixstowe have its own book festival? Why should other towns have all the fun?” Meg spoke with fellow book lovers in the town and realised that there was enough interest in literature to support a book festival.

With the generous support of local funders, friends, family and volunteers, Meg got the book festival off the ground, and the first festival took place in June 2013. Now going into its fourth year, Felixstowe Book Festival has become one of the highlights of the East Anglian Arts Calendar.

2016’s festival took place across 25-26 June, and was the biggest yet, with opening night entertainment from FlipSide, Book Trails across the town and readings from celebrated authors and poets, including award-winning Hollie McNish.

For more information, and to book tickets for the next one, visit Felixstowe Book Festival.

Plan a trip to Felixstowe for the festival with The Suffolk Coast.




For today’s Culture365 item, we’re not in the East. Instead, we find ourselves in California for Benjamin Johncock’s The Last Pilot, another masterpiece shaped by the inspirational East.

Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally charged periods in American history, The Last Pilot begins in the bone-dry Mojave Desert during the late 1940s, where US Air Force test pilots are racing to break the sound barrier. Among the exalted few is Jim Harrison: dedicated to his wife, Grace, and their baby daughter.

By the 1960s, the space race is underway and Harrison and his colleagues are offered a place in history as the world’s first astronauts. But when his young family is thrown into crisis, Jim is faced with a decision that will affect the course of the rest of his life – whether to accept his ticket to the moon and at what cost.

While not set in the East, this region helped shape the novel. Author Benjamin Johncock wrote the majority of the novel in the seaside town of Southwold, Suffolk, before relocating to Norwich and finishing the novel at the Millennium Library with support from Writers’ Centre Norwich.

Pick up a copy of The Last Pilot in one of the region’s fantastic independent booksellers. The Book Hive is one of our favourites!

Feel like being inspired yourself? Have an adventure in Norwich and start writing that novel. Visit Norwich is the best place to go to plan your trip.



Stephen Fry is possibly Norfolk’s most famous celebrity after Nelson, so when he was approached to be the star of new comedy-drama Kingdom, it was perhaps only natural that it was set in a Norfolk village. Filming took place primarily in Swaffham, but also Holkham, Dereham, Hunstanton and Thetford. The show ran for three series, gaining an audience of six million, but ITV chose not to renew it for a fourth run, citing budget cuts as a reason.

Discover Norfolk for yourself at


Photo: Spencer Means (Flickr)
Sceptre at Sutton Hoo


This odd looking sceptre can be found at the ancient Anglo Saxon burial site Sutton Hoo.

It’s a replica which has been crafted using the same materials and methods with which the original would have been made. Experts theorise that this sceptre would have belonged to a king, or at least a powerful lord, and blended both Anglo-Saxon and Roman identities.

Sutton Hoo is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. Plan a visit and see all they have to offer by going to their website.



Photo: National Trust
photo from halfway to paradise exhibition


In March 2016, visitors to Time and Tide Museum were able to explore a brand new exhibition – Halfway to Paradise. Halfway to Paradise re-lived the excitement and energy of the early years of rock and roll through the exceptional photography of Harry Hammond, the music photographer who documented the emergence of Rock ‘n’ Roll music in post-war Britain. His era-defining images of popular music icons such as Roy Orbison, Ella Fitzgerald, Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey went on show alongside rare memorabilia exploring Great Yarmouth’s thriving music scene of the early 1960s, including posters, programmes and star autographs.

The display was drawn from the V&A’s collection and provided an insight into the change in musical tastes over the two decades following the war. Hammond’s photographs chronicled the jazz and big band musicians of the early 1950s such as Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, American Rock ‘n’ Roll stars visiting Britain including Little Richard, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, through to the early breakthroughs of British rock such as the Animals and the Beatles in the 1960s.

The exhibition also explored the fascinating local dimension to this story, documenting Great Yarmouth’s place in the Rock ‘n’ Roll revolution when home-grown talent played alongside top stars of the day at the town’s key venues such as the ABC and Windmill Theatres.

Halfway to Paradise was a nostalgic treat for the ear and eye – and a wonderful opportunity to revisit one of the most exciting eras in popular music. See what’s on at the moment at Time and Tide.

Explore Great Yarmouth, as well as the rest of the region (Norwich is great for live music too!) with Visit Norfolk.

Photo: Norfolk Museums Service
dutch exchange post on culture365, image showing Mrs Kilderbee by thomas gainsborough


In early 2016, paintings by Suffolk-born Thomas Gainsborough were sent to Holland in an exchange of artwork with Dutch museum Rijksmuseum Twenthe.

Ipswich Museum lent three Gainsborough’s from their own collections, and Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury lent 30.

In return for the Gainsborough loan, the Rijksmuseum Twenthe lent the work of nine Dutch landscape artists who are said to have influenced Gainsborough, for display in Sudbury.

To find out more about this Dutch exchange, and to see the works, visit Gainsborough’s House.

Explore the rest of Ipswich Museum’s collection (and make a trip to Gainsborough’s House, too!). Plan a trip with Visit Suffolk.