June each year sees the world-renowned Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts – a huge attraction. Aldeburgh is known world-wide for this event, which was founded in 1948 by the composer Benjamin Britten, the singer Peter Pears and the writer-producer Eric Crozier. The annual Christmas Spectacular is also a firm favourite.
Art galleries – too numerous to mention! The old Ipswich Art School has recently reopened as a gallery space (with the help of the Saatchi Gallery), and from Ipswich to Southwold and Woodbridge to Aldeburgh, this whole area is crammed with galleries, along with antiques shops and studios. We recommend Google as a good place to start your search for galleries and, for studios, check out the Suffolk Open Studios website.
This part of Suffolk has the full range of multi-plex cinemas etc, but, for something a little different and more charming, there are small cinemas in Woodbridge and Aldeburgh and, for something totally different there’s the Electric Picture Palace, Southwold. Created in 2002, but designed in 1912 theatrical style by John Bennett RIBA, Southwold’s award-winning 68 seat Electric Picture Palace shows an eclectic mix of films in four seasons each year. It has a rising ‘Tiny Wurlitzer’ cinema organ, a Circle, a Kiosk, second features, usherettes, a commissionaire and the National Anthem.
Theatres also abound (although, alas, the closest to Windmill Lodges – Framlingham’s own theatre – is now an antiques shop!). Ipswich has several, including the Regent, which often features on national tours. Woodbridge boasts the Riverside Theatre/Cinema, while The Cut in Halesworth offers theatrical and music performances plus art exhibitions and Dance East, one of the national’s leading dance organizations, has a new home, the £8.5 million Jerwood Dance House on the Ipswich waterfront. We’re also lucky enough to have some great outdoor theatrical performances, most notably the Red Rose Chain performances of Shakespeare in Rendlesham Forest. And there are summer theatres each year run by Jill Freud at Aldeburgh and Southwold.