Building a 21st Century Performance Space for the Ipswich Community












We’re creating a new arts and culture hub for Ipswich.

By transforming a medieval church near the Waterfront into a dynamic venue, everyone will have a place to go for gigs, concerts, theatre, dance, events, exhibitions and more.

Interested? Why not get involved?

Help us create the new, and very vibrant, Ipswich Arts Centre.

Sign up here to join our list of supporters and play a part in launching a much-needed arts and culture venue.

If you’d like to also donate, we’ll make you an official Supporter of the Centre. We’ll send you the latest news on progress, and how your support is helping.

Even if you don’t donate, by simply registering you can help us demonstrate to funding organisations that we have strong support. This helps us source financial support to make the Centre a reality.

It’ll be your Centre, so why not tell us us your ideas about the kind of events you’d like to see?

Your details will be held in the strictest of confidence and we promise to never share your information.

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To create a permanent space for live music, dance, film, art, poetry and more, in the disused St Clement’s Church, we need to raise money.

The first stage of construction, which will turn the church into a pop-up venue, involves minor building work, alterations and toilet facilities. This will cost £25,000.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters, we’re on our way to hitting that target. However, we need more help.

By donating, you’ll help get Ipswich’s first ever Arts Centre open. Whatever you can give, you will make a difference. We’ll also make you a Supporter of the Arts Centre and keep you updated.

When the pop-up is open, the second phase will begin with fundraising to pay for the full renovation of the church.

For more information, please contact:









We need volunteers who can contribute all kinds of practical and creative skills.

Whatever your expertise – musician, studio producer, trades person, film maker, journalist, photographer, administrator, fundraiser – we’d love you to join our team of volunteers who are already hard at work behind the scenes.

If you can’t volunteer, be an ambassador for the Centre –  tell your friends, family, teachers, colleagues, everyone at your local pub, favourite café, skate park or golf club. Thank you and we love you.

To find out more, contact:
Or find us on Facebook or Twitter.


What's On

Love beer? Love the arts? Love supporting your community? Then come along to the Secret Beer Club on Thursday 2 November, 7.30-9.30pm, in support of the Ipswich Arts Centre.

Organised by Ipswich’s very own and very trendy Beer&Co, the ticket-only evening will take place at a venue to be confirmed 24 hours before the event (well, it is secret!).

Come along and enjoy 5 special craft beer tastings, have a chat with a beer reviewer and a brewer, get a 10% discount on take-away RRP, and indulge in nibbles and vinyl. Greg Cooper, owner of Beer&Co, says: “Having lived in Ipswich all my life, being passionate about the arts, and with a business that is creative at its core, I’m really pleased to be able to support this positive project that will secure a genuinely fabulous arts space for the community.”

Tickets are limited and going fast - buy yours now!
A portion of the tickets sales will be donated to the Arts Centre, helping us take another step towards opening the Centre.

Photo used with the kind permission of Deben Events

Art means business

The Ipswich Arts Centre will benefit our business community too.

As a venue offering a diversity of events, it’ll encourage people to stay in Ipswich, instead of heading elsewhere for entertainment.

Waterfront pubs, bars and restaurants are also set to gain as the Centre will attract more people into the area, boosting the town’s profile.

So, it makes sense that business owners should also get involved. You’ll be investing in the Ipswich economy, while giving local people a place to go to develop their talents – as well as learn and have fun.

Plus, exposure to culture is proven to boost wellbeing, so your support will stretch way beyond funding construction work.

Some of our generous corporate supporters include Gotelee Solicitors, EDRM, Playle and Partners and Larking Gowen. See below for a full list of our supporters.

If you’d like your business to play a starring role in the Ipswich Arts Centre, get in touch today:


About us

We’re creating a contemporary, performance space in St. Clement's Church for the people of Ipswich.

Empty for 30 years, it’s the last of Ipswich’s medieval churches to seek a new lease of life. It’s also known as the Sailor’s Church, not only because of its proximity to the former harbour; Lord Nelson’s ship designer for HMS Victory – Sir Thomas Slade – is also buried there.

A Community Interest Company (CiC), the Arts Centre is driven by University of Suffolk Professor, Simon Hallsworth, and a group of dedicated volunteers.

The project aims to…

Create a venue matching successful ones in Cambridge, Colchester and Norwich that enrichen people’s lives.

Engage with people of all ages, ethnicities and abilities, so they participate in all aspects of the Arts in a supportive environment.

Plan to work in partnership with schools, colleges and the University to offer internships, work experience and training opportunities for young people, including disadvantaged groups and young people leaving care.

Provide a creative hub for community groups, with affordable space for rehearsals and events.

Offer a mid-sized venue to attract acts, including music and comedy, as well as theatre groups, which do not currently come to Ipswich.



Named after the patron saint of sailors, St. Clement’s Church is one of three medieval flint churches near Ipswich Waterfront. Undoubtedly, it has the finest setting of all the churches (but we’re a bit biased!).

Why not take a look for yourself? It’s on Star Lane, just round the corner from Suffolk New College. You’ll probably notice the anchor emblems carved into stone around the building – they symbolise the church’s historic connections to the seafaring community.

Largely 15th Century, the church was deconsecrated in the ‘70s, then used briefly as storage by the Wolsey Theatre Group. After a fire in the ‘80s, the church underwent significant restoration works.

Having stood empty for three decades, in 2014 Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Historic Churches Trust invited the University of Suffolk (formerly University Campus Suffolk) to form a steering group. Together they looked at how St Clement’s could once again be the heart and soul of the community it was once built to serve.

The idea of an Ipswich Arts Centre was born.

That’s our history, now you can help us build an exciting future.


Ipswich Arts Centre would like to say thank you to the following for their continuing help and support:

Sam Abelman
Open Heritage

Robin Bater
Building Control Officer
at Ipswich Borough Council

Mark Aaron

Art Direction & Design

Elma Glasgow
Red Ruby Copywriting

John Blatchly
Ipswich Historic Churches Trust

Gail Broom
Conservation Officer
Ipswich Borough Council

Bawden Burrows

Albion Mills












Conatus Associates

Stuart Coy
Playle and Partners

Judy Dow
ProHelp Suffolk

Richard MacRea

Daniel Fisher
Architectural Visualisation

James Hall
Ipswich Historic Churches Trust

Jim Horsefield
As Described

Ipswich Historic Churches Trust

Copperhead Toad

Ben Payne
Illuminate Design

Marianne Muir
MarianneMuir Limited

Neil Salter

Paul Cotterell
PodPea Ltd

Suffolk New College

Victoria Spelman
Gotelee Solicitors

Cad Taylor
Ipswich Community Media

Mike Taylor
Conservation and Urban Design Officer at Ipswich Borough Council

Richard Vivian
Big Sky Acoustics

Dr. Emma Bond

Chris Mortimer
Out Of Time Records

Judy Terry

Saline Moore

Andrea Tocca

Claire Seaman

Emily Godden
Audit Chaos

Dr. Olumide Adisa

Craig Macartney

Sarah Sheppard





As Described


© Copyright 2017. Ipswich Arts Centre CIC. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be copied or re-produced without permission.

IPSWICH ARTS CENTRE. St. CLEMENT’S CHURCH, FORE STREET, IPSWICH, SUFFOLK IP3 8AH. Community Interest Company Registered Number 017835.

Text: Elma Glasgow. Design: Mark Aaron. Website: Mark Aaron & Paul Cotterell.