Red Rose Chain


general information

General Information

Award-winning Independent theatre co. based in Suffolk with community at the heart of all we do. Creators of Theatre In The Forest, East Anglia's largest outdoor theatre event, and home to Suffolk's newest creative venue The Avenue Theatre.

"Their dream is to integrate really adventurous theatre productions while also running ambitious and holistic community projects. It's very brilliant, wonderfully unpatronising and rooted in a real vision for artistic excellence and humanitarian compassion" Emma Freud, Red Rose Chain patron.

Whether we’re performing Shakespeare or developing new writing, we are always finding ways of engaging and involving youth groups, schools and hard to reach audiences who might not normally have the chance to experience the arts.

Community Work

Our home, The Avenue Theatre, is a beacon in Ipswich for people needing a place to belong. We have created an accessible, welcoming and creative environment which nurtures our participants, builds their self-esteem and radically improves their life-outcomes by providing them with a platform and a voice through high-quality arts activities and theatre productions.

We put inclusion, accessibility and reaching out to the disenfranchised at the centre of our philosophy and work. Each week, we run workshops at The Avenue for our community theatre company and our two inclusive drama groups – all of which are without auditions and kept free at source to ensure that our work is as inclusive and accessible as possible.

Decades of experience means our permanent team, plus visiting freelance professionals are uniquely placed to run our community companies and events, empowering participants to express themselves creatively and challenge the negative and restrictive ways in which they are often viewed by society.

Avenue Community Theatre (ACT)

The Avenue Community Theatre, ‘ACT’, is a group of up to 20 adults with disabilities, learning difficulties and adults struggling with mental health and addiction. We come together weekly for a shared lunch with our whole team and to develop short pieces of theatre which are performed in partnership with our productions at The Avenue, creating the opportunity to work directly with professional actors.

Most recently, the group has been commissioned by Suffolk County Council to create a new play about hate crime experienced by vulnerable adults. Their play ‘Paula’ explores and challenges the perceptions and prejudices of people living with a disability or mental 


Our Chainers theatre group is for up to 30 young people from the ages of 11-18 and develops their skills and confidence through performance. We don’t believe in auditions or fees to be as accessible and inclusive as possible – so no matter your ability, experience or circumstances, Chainers is a place for you to have fun and develop your skills and confidence in performing.

The Chainers work closely with local historian Mandy Rawlins, to research and create stories about their own identity and their communities from the past. Their most recent sell-out production, ‘Dread Zeppelin’, explored the fascinating lives of the people living in Ipswich and working in our HQ, Gippeswyk Hall, during the First World War. The incredible reviews for the show commented that watching “these hugely talented and committed young people” was “so beautiful and deeply poignant, I cried” (EADT).

Gold Chainers

Our Gold Chainers theatre group is for up to 15 young people with additional needs, disabilities and learning difficulties. The group is quite remarkable in its diversity, creating a nurturing and caring environment where everyone’s skills are combined to create songs, dances, films, artwork and theatre together. Last year, the group made their amazing play ‘Midas’ into a film, which enjoyed huge success as part of the Big Trouble Little Pictures Film Festival in Cambridge, as well as performing at the opening of the prestigious High Tide Festival in Aldeburgh!

The group are now working on their new sensory play, ‘The Nightingale’, for young people with disabilities. This ground-breaking project is challenging the barriers for disabled young people to access the arts and preconceptions of what they can achieve.

If you would like to get involved or want to find out more about our community companies, please get in touch either by phone on 01473 603388 or by emailing katy(AT)

Our workshops are held at The Avenue Theatre, Gippeswyk Hall, Ipswich, IP2 9AF.

ACT – meet weekly on Tuesday afternoons

Chainers – meet weekly on Wednesday evenings

Gold Chainers – meet weekly early Thursday evenings






Please see website for details

Special Offers

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The Cafe 

Our cafe bar serves a range of hot and cold drinks, and a selection of snacks, including teas and coffees and also stocks Adnams beer, ale and wine.


We have a free car park at The Avenue Theatre. Disabled spaces can be booked in advance. There is additional on street parking nearby as well as public car parks on Ranelagh Road and at Ipswich Station, an easy 10 minute walk away.

  • categories


    • Special Needs


Pre-Schoolers (3-5), Juniors (5-13)


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