Heritage theatre show created by East Suffolk communities to tour this month


Suffolk Archives has developed a countywide programme of activities which will engage more people than ever before with Suffolk’s archival heritage.

One of the largest parts of the programme is the initiative called ‘Sharing Suffolk Stories’, which supports groups of people to learn more about where they live, create their own responses to it through art and literature, and share their work as widely as possible. 

In early 2019, the Land and Shore project supported three groups of people based in Dunwich, Lowestoft and Tattingstone to delve into the collections of Suffolk Archives and discover the stories of lost communities.

Funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the group’s research made discoveries about the fascinating and sometimes tragic lives of their relatives and ancestors which has led them to Lowestoft’s workhouse; the town’s long-lost Beach Village and, further afield, to Dunwich and even Canada!

Creative arts organisation the Voice cLoud has worked closely with this group, facilitating their research and choosing three of the stories which will be represented in a special bespoke performance created by professional actors entitled ‘Ancestors’.

Richard Simpson, from the Voice cLoud, said:

“We strongly believe that the creative arts are a fantastic way to engage people with their local heritage and culture and it has been a pleasure to facilitate the Land & Shore project and see the research conducted do just that.” 

The show will be a dramatisation of the lives of these real Suffolk characters from the past century; retelling their experiences and bringing to the stage these relatives that the group discovered.

Carly Franklin a project participant, said:

“It has been such a wonderful experience to take part in the Land & Shore project. For myself and my aunt to be able to find out about our ancestor and then see his life story represented onstage by the Voice cLoud is fantastic and has really brought home to me what a difficult time it was then.”

Councillor Paul West, Portfolio Holder for heritage, said:

“’Ancestors’ is a fantastic example of what we have been able to achieve through the ‘Sharing Suffolk Stories’ programme and we are thrilled to be able to bring the research of our local communities to life in this exciting performance. 

“Through our county-wide programme of heritage activities, made possible through The Hold project, we look forward to bringing more projects like this one to local communities, so people can get involved with their history in fun and creative ways.”

Rachel Macfarlane, Senior Engagement Manager, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“At The National Lottery Heritage Fund, community heritage is incredibly important to us, and we’re delighted to hear about the success of ‘Sharing Suffolk Stories’ and the resulting ‘Ancestors’ performances. Personally, I can’t wait to discover the fascinating stories that the communities have unearthed and see them brought to life.”

Ancestors will launch at The Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft and go on to be performed at a range of community venues between Lowestoft and Dunwich in January 2020.

Show schedule 

Thursday 23 January, 7:30pm

The Seagull Theatre, Morton Road, Pakefield, Lowestoft, NR33 0JH

Tickets £4 available from www.theseagull.co.uk or 01502 589726


Sunday 26 January, 4pm

Dunwich Reading Room, St. James Street, Dunwich, IP17 3DT

Tickets £2 available from www.ancestors-show.co.uk or 07909 510976


Monday 27 January, 2:30pm

Sam’s Coffee House, Bevan Street East, Lowestoft, NR32 4DT

This show is free to attend but tickets are strictly limited and can be reserved at www.ancestors-show.co.uk or by calling 07909 510976


For more information or to book tickets, please visit www.ancestors-show.co.uk or call 07909 510976.