The Chainers Youth Theatre

The Chainers Youth Theatre

Our inclusive youth theatre, The Chainers, is a company for young people from the ages of 11 to 18 that develops their skills and confidence through performance. We provide a safe and nurturing environment for young people of all abilities, with a “no fees, no audition” policy.

The Chainers have developed a passion for local history and work closely with historian Mandy Rawlins (Suffolk Archives) to research and create stories about their own identity and their communities from the past. They have just finished performing THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, their new play about the rise and fall of the self-proclaimed ‘Witch Finder General’ Matthew Hopkins, as part of a project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This incredible play was researched and created by the young people and performed to sold out audiences!

Being part of the Chainers also gives young people the opportunity to volunteer on our professional productions at The Avenue Theatre and Theatre in the Forest. We also young people work placements, developing their skills in different elements of productions, from making costumes to operating the box office!


The Chainers meet weekly on Wednesday evenings. If you are interested in joining and want to find out more, email

The World Turned Upside Down

Written by Joanna Carrick, presented by The Chainers Youth Theatre – February 2020

“A triumph at any level. Pure theatre” – Libby Purves 

Ipswich 1644. From Mistley to Manningtree. Voices in the Shadows. Accusation of Witchcraft.

THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN is a new historical play about the Suffolk Witch Trials and the rise and fall of the self-proclaimed ‘Witch Finder General’, Matthew Hopkins.

For over a year, The Chainers Youth Theatre researched heritage material and stories from 17th Century Puritan Suffolk, uncovering stories of betrayal, death and the mysterious Matthew Hopkins! The group came together in sessions, creating scripts, characters and stories based around the research, which was then brought together by Jo into the final script.

The play follows a group of young people growing up in Puritan Ipswich who begin to question what is happening and challenge the persecution which is turning the world upside down. The piece has a great relevance to the today’s society, with a society deeply divided by their beliefs and one that persecutes those who are different.



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