Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are bringing the story of the airmen who flew out of the East in WW2 to the small screen in the next big HBO epic – Masters of the Air.
The sequel to Band of Brothers and The Pacific, the series will tell the tale of the American airmen of the Mighty Eighth, who flew daring bombing raids over mainland Europe. It’s not clear yet how much of it will be shot in the region, but with a $500m budget and Hollywood royalty behind it, all the signs point to a fantastic new show coming to our screens soon.
You can learn more about the Eighth Air Force and their impact on life in the East here.
Unravelling Thread was a special event at Ipswich Art School Gallery on 3rd March 2016. Arranged to coincide with the Arts/Science/Life exhibition at the Gallery, archaeologist Lucy Walker and artist Robert Pacitti explored a variety of issues relating to the representation of artifacts in art and heritage contexts. By discussing their short film Thread they also considered the historical work of archaeologist Nina Francis Layard, whose Anglo-Saxon finds in the Ipswich area underpin the project.
In 1906 archaeologist Nina Frances Layard excavated an Anglo-Saxon burial ground at Hadleigh Road in Ipswich. The contents of the graves suggested that the site was a Pagan cemetery of the 6th century. It was discovered during a Borough Council employment project to level the ground in anticipation of new housing development, and Layard worked hard in the face of many practical difficulties, to recover and record as many of the burials as possible.
As a woman, Ms. Layard was unable to deliver a lecture to The Society of Antiquaries in London, or even be seen to be present when her paper was given to the assembled audience of men. So she stood behind a curtain whilst John Evans gave her paper about her excavations.
Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury is making quite a name for itself in the fashion world. In 2016, this Gainsborough Bust was part of a special collection designed by Nicole Farhi for the house.
These busts were auctioned as a fundraiser for the house over the course of the year.
If Farhi’s involvement isn’t enough to inspire would-be fashionistas to visit, both Anna Wintour (Editor-in-Chief of US Vogue) and Vivienne Westwood (celebrated British designer who has named a collection of jewellery after Gainsborough) are also supporters of Gainsborough’s House and its ambitious growth plans.
Ickworth is one of Suffolk’s grandest sights, a Georgian manor in Italianate style, surrounded by acres of sculpted parkland.
One of the best ways to explore the grounds is on this Ickworth History Walk. Roughly two and a half miles long, it takes you around the estate’s highlights including St Mary’s Church, ancient woodland, and clearings where deer can easily be spotted.
In February 2016, Pattern Recognition was performed at DanceEast. In this visually arresting work, DanceEast Associate Artist Alexander Whitley (2015 Critics’ Circle National Dance Award nominee) and digital artist Memo Akten (Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica winner) join forces at the cutting edge of dance and motion-responsive technology.
Using a system of moving lights, which can track and intelligently respond to the dancers it observes, Pattern Recognition opens up questions about learning and memory in relation to the technology of artificial intelligence.
This duet features a score by critically acclaimed electronic composer Scanner and Southbank Centre artist-in-residence cellist Oliver Coates. At the time of the performance, Alexander Whitley had recently been commissioned by Rambert, Candoco and BalletBoyz, and is a Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate, DanceEast Associate Artist and former Choreographic Affiliate of The Royal Ballet.
As part of their 15th birthday celebrations in 2016, the New Wolsey Theatre produced a brand new version of The Last Five Years, which opened on 25th February.
Starting and ending with the beginning of a passionate love affair, the unique style of storytelling and infectious score makes this one of America’s best modern musicals.
Actress Cathy’s story starts with the end of their relationship following their tale backwards to when she first fell in love with her young talented lover. Novelist Jamie’s story begins with their first passionate encounter and heads forward towards heartache.
As part of their mission to create theatre that is as accessible as possible to all, the New Wolsey Theatre made every performance of The Last Five Years audio described for visually impaired audiences using integrated recorded audio description that audiences could experience through a headset.
To find out more about the range of the theatre’s accessible performances visit the New Wolsey Theatre.
Planing a trip to the New Wolsey? Let All About Ipswich fill you in on all the other things to do in the town and surrounding areas.
A violin that was left behind at a prisoner of war camp in Braintree, Essex during World War Two has recently been restored to working order by a specialist in Woodbridge, Suffolk. The restored violin was believed to have been crafted by a German prisoner of war, and then given to his captors as a gift at the end of the war.
Woodbridge Violins (pictured here), who are responsible for the restoration, said that it must have been crafted by a professional, as it is such a fine piece of craftsmanship. It’s possible that the man who made it was a violin maker before the war started. It’s unknown where the maker found the wood to make the instrument, and how he managed to boil his own glue to use in the production of the instrument, but it’s believed he was assisted by a British officer stationed at the POW camp.
The violin is owned by Woodbridge resident David Powell whose parents lived in Braintree and were given the instrument by an officer in 1945. It has since become a family heirloom, and was always in and around the family home (though it was without strings until the recent restoration.
Do you have a violin of your own that needs restoring (or maybe you’re just fascinated by this story)? Visit Woodbridge Violins.
Explore the rest of the area, including Woodbridge’s award-winning restaurants, cafés and bakeries at Visit Suffolk.
The Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket has a number of exhibitions dedicated to the wide range of people living in the region, with a particular focus on how life has changed in the last few centuries. This gypsy tribute is part of a funerary memorial in one of the museum’s permanent exhibitions.
The museum holds a mix of domestic items, including historic and more modern caravans, oral histories and images from the gypsy communities in the region which it has worked with closely in the past. This is a rare chance to explore a community that is often forgotten about throughout history.
Today we explore another piece of literature inspired by the East. The Nine Tailors is a 1934 mystery novel by British writer Dorothy L. Sayers, her ninth featuring sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.
The fens serves as the backdrop for this story, after the principal character Wimsey is stranded in the village of Fenchurch St. Paul on New Year’s Eve after a car accident. What follows is a tale of hidden heirlooms, murder and mystery.
To celebrate its long relationship with both the arts and the sciences, Ipswich Museum showed a specially-commissioned contemporary art installation called Art/Science/Life in February 2016. Artist Lucy Lyons worked in residence to create a new site-specific artwork inspired by the significant Natural Science collections, which were displayed in the atmospheric Octagon gallery of the former Art School.
Based at Acme Studios in North London, Dr Lyon’s practice uses drawing as research and has exhibited internationally. She has worked in several medical museums, and coordinates a performance and visual art research group at the Nordic Summer University in Denmark.
Alongside the new work, there were creative responses from partner organisations Pacitti Company and New Wolsey Theatre, as well as Lisa Temple-Cox, Ipswich Museum’s Artist Ranger. The exhibition was accompanied by a programme of events and workshops for both adults and children.
The exhibition also provided a ‘Drawing Room’ in one of the small galleries, which offered a selection of museum objects from the stores as inspiration and a range of drawing materials to work with. Visitors to the exhibition were invited to use this space to draw and display their work, so the gallery will slowly fill with artwork over the course of the exhibition.
This exciting new commission was funded as part of Ipswich Museum’s Happening on High Street programme funded by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts.