Our mission is to build a vibrant, diverse community where marginalised & disabled participants collaborate in creative equality with professional artists to create ground-breaking theatre

Red Rose Chain is a not for profit theatre company based at The Avenue Theatre in Ipswich, delivering a vibrant professional and community programme. For over 20 years, we have put inclusion and accessibility at the centre of our work, providing a needed refuge and giving a voice to the marginalised through high quality arts activities and volunteering opportunities.

Our objectives are: 

  • To provide free at source, high quality, professionally led drama workshops and volunteering opportunities.
  • To produce high quality, accessible, professional theatre productions.
  • To provide high-quality early years projects for underserved families & children.
  • To give a voice to young learning-disabled actors, adults with disabilities & mental health issues, & life sentence prisoners to create work which challenges society’s views about their potential & the value of their contribution.
  • To create pathways to creative careers for disadvantaged young people through tailored placements, supporting their journeys & broadening their horizons.
  • To develop partnerships with leading companies to collaborate on innovative new work & inspire participants.

Since Artistic Director Joanna Carrick formed the company in 1990, Red Rose Chain has been a beacon in the community for those needing a place to belong. Over the years, we have worked with remarkable groups of people on theatre and film projects, changing the lives of drug-addicts, women involved with street prostitution, prisoners and young offenders, disadvantaged young people and adults with disabilities and mental health diagnoses. We have a long track record of supporting young people facing barriers to the arts, with alumni including Mark Grimmer, founding director of 59 Productions, actor Jack Laskey, animator and director Joseph Pierce and Oscar winning writer/director & diversity campaigner Aneil Karia

We also produce critically acclaimed shows that have taken us across Suffolk and beyond, including a residency at the Tower of London with Joanna Carrick’s celebrated Tudor play Fallen in Love.

We’re also known for Theatre in the Forestour much-loved outdoor Shakespeare event. Theatre in the Forest shows are known for being an accessible way into Shakespeare for all the family, with refreshing interpretations, amazing designs and quirky characters that bring audiences right into the action! Theatre in the Forest begins its new chapter in 2022, moving from Jimmy’s Farm back to its roots with a beautiful new venue at Sutton Hoo

Our community is at the heart of everything we do at Red Rose Chain

Our growing programme, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, provides young people and adults who are economically deprived, have disabilities and learning difficulties, and those struggling with mental health and addiction a platform and a voice to express themselves creatively and challenge the negative and restrictive ways in which they are often viewed by society.

Our 3 community companies, ACT, the Chainers and the Gold Chainers, come together weekly to work with professional artists, inspiring each other in creative equality. We also work with life license prisoners on ground-breaking rehabilitation projects, work with disadvantaged families in storytelling projects for under 5s, and run education projects in schools across Suffolk.

We are passionate about creating accessible and unforgettable theatre experiences for everyone

Find out more about our past theatre and film projects at The Avenue Theatre, Theatre in the Forest and performances across Suffolk and the UK!

Red Rose Chain is committed to promoting environmental sustainability in everything we do

Read more about our green theatre model and our environmental policy here

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