The Team

The Red Rose Chain Team

We are a small core team with a big creative output!

Joanna Carrick

Artistic Director

Jo is our Artistic Director and founder of the company. Jo directs Red Rose Chain’s productions and is celebrated for re-inventing classic stories and amazing interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays at Theatre in the Forest. She is also a playwright and written many historical plays, including her acclaimed ‘Tudor Trilogy’. Jo leads our community workshops and has many years’ experience of working with disadvantaged groups on life changing projects and developing the creative skills of young artists. Jo was recently listed in the 100 most influential Suffolk Women.

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David Newborn


David is Red Rose Chain’s Producer and has produced all of Red Rose Chain’s theatre and film work since 1995. David is responsible for creating our purpose built theatre in 2015, The Avenue. He is also an accomplished cameraman and editor, editing together our acclaimed green screen productions created during the COVID pandemic.


Katy Frost

Community Director

Katy Frost is our Community Director, leading in programming our community work. She works closely with Jo to lead our workshops and activities, working with young people who volunteer as part of our professional productions. Katy is also an artist and designer and creates the costumes and props for productions, as well as the digital art as part of our green screen films. 

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Luke Lancaster

Finance Assistant

Luke is Red Rose Chain’s Finance Assistant and specialises in finance and reporting for our theatre and community projects. He works closely with David to manage the finances, as well as heading up our box office sales team for The Avenue and Theatre in the Forest.


Stephanie Drane

Avenue Facilities Manager

Steph is our Facilities Manager and manages the upkeep of The Avenue Theatre and Gippeswyk Hall. Steph also manages our prop and costume stores, as well as helping to build our theatre sets and seating.


Advisory Board members

Cheryl Sharland, Rosalind Burrow, Roderick Clayton, Steve Curzon, Becca Jackaman, Matthew Potter, Tony Felgate, Nicky Jameson and Milly Jupp


Cordelia Rushby, David Bell and Andy Fry OBE

Associate artists

Our Associate Artists have a long history of working with Red Rose Chain. They are regulars on our stage, but they also collaborate with us creatively on artistic projects and community work

Lawrence Russell

Lawrence is an Actor/Writer and Co-Producer of Sitcom competition: Sitcom Mission. As a result of the early support of Red Rose Chain, he is also Artistic Director of Happy Idiot Productions.  Lawrence is a firm favourite on stage at Theatre in the Forest and The Avenue, with much loved performances ranging from Richard III and the Mad Hatter!

“Red Rose Chain were critical in my development as an actor, entrusting me with fabulous roles in fun-filled productions, so coming back always feels like home. The contribution they make to the local community is astounding as well – particularly the incredible groups for young people and vulnerable adults and of course the fantastic and joyful productions provided year round.”


Fizz Waller

Fizz began her acting training as part of the Red Rose Chain youth theatre, having grown up in Ipswich. She has participated in countless performances with the Red Rose Chain as a young person and a professional actor, including three Theatre in the Forest productions, as well as participating as a workshop leader for multiple groups. Fizz has performed in national theatre tours, as well as in Camden and Brighton theatre festivals.

“The power and passion that Joanna Carrick and David Newborn have instilled at Red Rose Chain should never be underestimated. It is no exaggeration to say that I have seen lives transformed with the work Red Rose Chain do – not to mention the company’s exceptionally high creative output. Red Rose Chain has had untold impact on my life and creative career – this is why I could not be happier or more honoured to be an Associate Artist at a company I love so dearly and have been involved with since the age of sixteen.”


Jack Heydon

Jack has been part of Red Rose Chain since 2013 when he first volunteered at Theatre in the Forest. He has since graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has become a firm favourite on stage! Jack is one of Red Rose Chain’s artistic collaborators, working on projects as a designer and Musical Director. Jack has also been a huge part of our community work, working on our under 5s storytelling project and most recently creating our beautiful Roses film made during lockdown!

“I always have such a great time working with Red Rose Chain so to become an associate artist with a company that means so much to me is a dream come true. They are stuck with me now!”



We are delighted and proud to have such a strong group of women as Red Rose Chain’s patrons. Each share an incredible passion for the arts and have a huge understanding of how vital our work within the community is

Helen Atkinson Wood

Helen is as an actress, theatre director, radio & TV presenter, voice over artist, travel writer & artist. She has worked with the likes of Rowan Atkinson & Richard Curtis who created the part of Mrs Miggins for her to play in ‘Blackadder the Third’. Ben Elton directed her in her West End debut. She is also part of the award winning comedy team behind “Radio Active” & “KYTV” & has been twice nominated Best Female Comedy Performer by The British Comedy Awards.


“It is an honour & a privilege to accept Jo’s invitation to become a Patron. I have long admired the unique inventiveness of Red Rose Chain Theatre Company’s work. It produces the very best of shows without being showy. With high production values & good hearted enthusiasm. Reaching all parts of the community, it’s “access-all-areas” approach truly appeals to me.”

Jenny Caron Hall

Jennifer is the daughter of actress Leslie Caron & director Sir Peter Hall. She studied acting at Exeter & Nottingham reps, going on to perform at the National Theatre, playing “Helena” in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Miranda” in “The Tempest”, plus many more. Jennifer is also a painter, PR & Marketing consultant, & the Creative Director of a new Shakespeare festival in Halesworth called SHAKE.



“Joanna Carrick writes intriguing & fun new plays for her community & professional theatre projects as if the writing & directing of good stories for the stage were merely an afterthought. She & her company focus more on collaboration – the cohesive magic that creating theatre can bring to a community, & to an audience. Red Rose Chain is the sort of theatre where everyone can learn things in a most delightful way. The two Chainers groups offer brilliant experiences, both for the audience & the players. Their outreach work in prisons is making an incredible contribution to the sum of good in our world. Red Rose Chain Theatre is a special place.”

Ruthie Henshall

Ruthie Henshall’s multi-award winning career has seen her star in the most popular musicals of the past thirty years including Cats, Miss Saigon, Crazy For You, She Loves Me, Marguerite, Oliver!, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, Billy Elliot & Chicago. She has also enjoyed tremendous success in plays, in concert & on television.

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“It’s truly exciting becoming one of Red Rose Chain’s patrons. I had the privilege of visiting the wonderful Avenue Theatre when it first opened & was impressed with its welcoming atmosphere & superb acoustics. I’ve also seen numerous Shakespeare productions directed by Joanna Carrick for Theatre in the Forest & find the whole experience to be simply magical. The productions are of such high quality & are packed with wit, imagination & pure entertainment.”

Alison Weir

Alison Weir is the biggest-selling female historian & author in the United Kingdom & has sold over 2.7 million books worldwide. She has published a plethora of history books, including Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Lady in the Tower and Elizabeth of York, & many insightful historical novels.

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“It is my privilege to support Red Rose Chain & their community work. As the mother of a son with special needs, I know how important it is for those who are sometimes sidelined by society, for whatever reason, to get involved in creative projects & feel included. Red Rose Chain gives them the opportunity to break out & shine. I am proud to be their patron.”



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