The former Record Office premises at Gatacre Road is taking on a new lease of life as it is handed over to theatre company, Eastern Angles.
Built in the 1880s, the Grade II listed building was a Victorian primary school for a hundred years until conversion to the Suffolk Records Office. This included purpose built strong room and offices to house Suffolk Records research and archive storage facilities, which was opened by Princess Diana in 1990. These have now moved to new purpose-built accommodation at “The Hold”, where Suffolk Archives will deliver their service for the 21st Century on The Waterfront in partnership with the University of Suffolk.
The part of the previous Record Office building has also been the long-term home of the Sir John Mills Theatre operated by Eastern Angles Theatre Company and visited by Sir John in 2000. Suffolk County Council is pleased to announce that it is handing over the remainder of the property to Eastern Angles. This will provide the company with long term security and allow them to expand their range of arts provision in the local community and across the wider County and East Anglia.
The property was handed over on 1st May, with the Sir John Mills Theatre gradually re-opening to audiences, in line with government guidance from 17th May 2021.
Ivan Cutting, Artistic Director of Eastern Angles, said:
“Our work concentrates on “a sense of place” and this is a tremendous opportunity to increase our engagement with the local community around us, play a bigger part in the arts and heritage regeneration of Ipswich, and support our wider touring across East Anglia and England.”
Councillor Andrew Reid, Cabinet member for Public Health, Communities and Public Protection, said:
“We recognise the strong community impact made by Eastern Angles and I’m so pleased that there is an exciting new use for these historic premises. In these difficult times the expanded premises will support the theatre company’s sustainability and resilience for the future."
The purpose built storage facility to the rear of the former school is being retained by Suffolk County Council for operational use.