Jake Smith is the Artistic Director/CEO of Eastern Angles – a touring theatre company who tour across East Anglia and produce community co-created events. He joined Eastern Angles, and moved to Suffolk, in Summer 2023; before this he was based in the North East and working as a freelance director with organisations including the National Theatre, Almeida Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre, and in the West End.
What makes Eastern Angles special?
Eastern Angles has a special place in the heart of its audiences. It has been touring for 42 years and has focussed on stories from the region which highlight a sense of place and its people. We are based in Ipswich and our centre is a bespoke community space for artists and audiences to interact and co-create together; the centre as a unique quality to it – a safe space where our visitors feel at home and relaxed. I don’t know if it is because we are based in an old school, which most people have experience of and familiarity with throughout their lives.
I am really excited for my first Christmas with Eastern Angles and being part of the audience for this year’s Christmas production – a new spin on the classic Rumpelstiltskin. In Spring 2024 I will be directing my first production for Eastern Angles, Marie Jones’ tragi-comedy Stones in His Pockets. Read more about these shows here.
What are your must-do cultural activities in the region?
I have only been in my post for three months so haven’t been out and about too much. However so far I would have to say the Long Shed in Woodbridge is a really cool place to visit, where they are recreating the Anglo-Saxon Ship which was buried at Sutton Hoo. I visited the New Wolsey Theatre to see Red Lion and it was brilliant, the production values were amazing and the theatre is really comfortable. I also attended the Suffolk Shorts Film Festival at the Riverside Cinema, which had a really great programme of short films all with a connection to East Anglia.
And what else would you recommend people do whilst they are visiting?
I love walking along the River Deben in Woodbridge and stopping off for a coffee along the way. I love brunch at Honey + Harvey, the Halloumi, Bacon and Avocado is incredible! I also love the Waterfront in Ipswich, it is a lovely place to grab a drink and watch the world go by.
Lastly, what is so special about our region?
I think this place is special because it is full of history, folklore and incredible landscapes.
The landscape is so inspiring, you have coastal, country and forests so plenty of opportunity to get outdoors and connect with nature. I live in Woodbridge, which has lots of independent businesses and community groups, which makes it a fun place to get out and enjoy some really tasty food or walk through the forests at Rendlesham with my dogs.