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About Us

Our mission is to enrich entire communities through high quality professional theatre

About Us

Red Rose Chain at The Avenue Theatre is a beacon in Ipswich for people needing a place to belong. It is a theatre company working from beneath the grass roots with the disadvantaged and the marginalised.

Many of our practitioners and volunteers are those whose lives have been turned around by Red Rose Chain. We believe in change and have created a finely balanced, welcoming and creative environment which nurtures our
participants, builds their self-esteem and radically improves their life.

“Red Rose Chain’s work is very brilliant, wonderfully unpatronising and rooted in a real vision for artistic excellence and humanitarian compassion.” – Emma Freud, OBE

Every week at Red Rose Chain we run inclusive, free at source workshops for disadvantaged young people, disabled young people and young people with mental health issues as well as adults with mental health issues, learning difficulties and struggling with addiction.

We partner with mental health charities to run creative workshops and volunteer programmes for service users and for older people with dementia. Parents and families meet here in a safe environment and support each other while celebrating the achievements and progress of their children and siblings.

“Feeling accepted, loved and supported by Red Rose Chain has been instrumental in my ongoing recovery. It feels like a family here.” – Leo, Project participant

We partner with pupil referral units and local schools to run projects with young people with behavioural problems and those at risk of committing crimes and we specialise in creating sensory theatre productions for disabled young people.

“We work day in, day out with these guys and they are so difficult to reach. And you have reached them today and brought them out of themselves. You gave them light. Words cannot express how grateful we are.” – Chris Benson, SEN Teacher

Using outreach work and highly discounted tickets offers we have been really successful in welcoming 100’s of people into The Avenue that were completely new to the arts. Everyone is made to feel welcome.

For us, working with the community isn’t just an add-on thing we do to show we care. It’s the heart behind all of our work and fuels everything that we do, and we rely on your support to help us continue this vital work – which is arguably more important now more than ever. Buying a ticket, making a donation, offering to host a fundraiser for us…It all makes a HUGE difference!

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.

We create new plays and films through a unique process that involves working with all sorts of people to develop candid and authentic stories. We’ve collaborated with prison inmates, young people in care, single parents and members of drug rehabilitation projects to name but a few.

Whatever we do, we aim to give these people a voice through original work and a chance to experience high quality art without barriers, without prejudice and without patronizing them.

Across the board our productions strive to challenge thinking, to encourage debate and to raise the expectations and ambitions that we have of ourselves and those around us.

Awards & Accolades

We’re not here to chase trophies of course, but nevertheless it is always nice to be recognised for our successes. Here is a selection of some of the honours Red Rose Chain have received for our work

Work With Us

There are currently no open vacancies at Red Rose Chain, please check back here to see if there are any openings within our company.


From volunteering as part of our marketing team, to freelance work or becoming a member of one of our weekly workshops, there’s a place for you at Red Rose Chain.

To find out more about how you can get involved with us and introduce yourself to the team, email

Meet the Team

Joanna Carrick - Artistic DirectorArtistic Director

Joanna Carrick

Artistic Director and founder of the company, Jo has directed over 30 plays and films with Red Rose Chain. Her role also includes project management, leading workshops, script writing, directing and the evaluation of projects.

    David Newborn - ProducerProducer

    David Newborn

    David is Red Rose Chain's Producer, as well as an accomplished writer, cameraman and editor. He is closely involved in the project and financial management of our work and develops the company’s links with other organisations and funders

      Katy Frost - Community DirectorCommunity Director

      Katy Frost

      Katy is Jo's right-hand woman! Responsible for the brilliant costumes and jointly responsible for the design on all our productions, including our dedicated community work.

        Luke Lancaster - Finance AssistantFinance Assistant

        Luke Lancaster

        Luke specialises in finance and reporting with no excel sheet or report to big for him to deal with. He works very closely to David with the finances to make sure the company is in tip top shape for us to deliver all of our amazing work within budget.

          Devon Cairns - Marketing & PR ExecutiveMarketing & PR Executive

          Devon Cairns

          Having studied drama at The University of Exeter, Devon is no stranger to the works that happen on and off stage. As the latest edition to the team, Devon came equipped with knowledge of the PR world and is passionate about marketing all events here at Red Rose Chain.

            Ken - Office MascotOffice Mascot


            Our resident receptionist and office mascot, Ken arrived at the company in the summer of 2010. He has since grown in stature - but not a lot! - and is considered a vital member of the team. He sleeps more than most of us though!

              • Company dog has new coat - knitted by lovely Maggie!
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