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Head East for theatre that is small but mighty

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare wrote the (often mis-quoted) line “Though she be but little she is fierce”. Today, in Norfolk and Suffolk, you will find some exceptional theatres whose work packs a punch despite, or perhaps because, of their diminutive scale.



Norfolk boasts some of the most exciting performance spaces in the country. Here you will find theatres inside medieval churches, one of the country’s largest regional theatres and Britain’s only surviving total circus building, complete with a sub-stage swimming pool. And we have plenty of small-scale venues for you to discover.

Norwich Theatre Stage Two has a maximum capacity of 120 seats, making it an embodiment of the age-old saying, “good things come in small packages”. The size and layout allow performers and audience to develop a close bond, inviting you to step out of the ordinary and into a world where emotions are palpable, and connections are forged.

Seeing a show at a small venue doesn’t mean a compromise in the quality of production; many of the artists and theatre companies Norwich Theatre work with opt to create shows exclusively for flexible spaces such as Stage Two due to the intimate atmosphere the venue provides. The theatre offers a captivating lineup of shows that explore the rich tapestry of human experiences. From thought-provoking drama to laugh-out-loud comedy, and tales for all ages, there are plenty of emerging artists, critically acclaimed works and exciting new.

Find out more at the Norwich Theatre Stage Two website


The Garage in Norwich has a track record of presenting the best small-scale theatre by artists from right here in Norfolk and from across the UK.

It’s 113 seat theatre has hosted Fleabag, Every Brilliant Thing – turned into a film starring Tobey Maguire – and the multi-award winning dressed. among others. More recently it hosted the critically acclaimed Horse Play by up-and-coming playwright Katie-anna Whiting, which was developed with The Garage before touring Norfolk and Suffolk.

And the venue has become a favourite for some of the best names on the stand-up comedy circuit including Carl Hutchinson, Jayde Adams, and Steve Bugeja as well as viral video stars Red Richardson, Rosie Holt and Tatty Mcleod.

Whether you want the freshest comedy, brand new plays – or perhaps both – The Garage will have something for you. The theatre also has a café / bar, which is open during the day on performance nights.

Find out more on The Garage’s website


Norwich Arts Centre has an extraordinary musical heritage. Hosting early gigs by some of the music’s biggest names and continuing to champion new music; the venue has won the NME’s best small venue award and been granted a BBC Music Day blue plaque.

But this Grade 1 listed venue, inside a medieval church, is also well-respected for its alternative programme of new theatre, comedy, live art and dance. They support and nurture emerging talent across a range of art forms, making it the perfect place to see your next favourite performer.

In the last few years alone, it has co-commissioned local writers and companies including FenCity Player’s Dirt, about the griefs and aspirations of seasonal workers in the Fenlands, celebrated poet Luke Wright’s The Remains of Logan Dankworth and Molly Naylor’s Stop Trying To Be Fantastic ¬(the latter two both going on to Edinburgh). Norwich Arts Centre also hosts the very popular True Stories Live, from local producer Lucy Hope, an intimate series lively, moving and unpredictable events that champions real life stories.

Find out more at Norwich Arts Centre Website


Sheringham Little Theatre is a small place where big things happen, It’s a favourite of locals and holidaymakers alike – actress Suranne Jones has just been appointed the theatre’s President, after bringing her family here on many visits to the North Norfolk coast.

Known for its eclectic mix of drama, music, and comedy, the 180-seated venue is home to one of the last surviving summer repertory seasons in the UK. It regularly works with East-based creatives, recently collaborating with playwright James McDermott on promenade play Ghosted, a youth drama about County Lines in coastal towns; and LGBTQ drama Shanty about growing up in the same. And it is on the NT Live circuit; there aren’t many places that you can take a paddle in the sea, grab a locally-made ice-cream and then head into a live broadcast direct from the stage at the National Theatre.

Find out more at the Sheringham Little Theatre website



The county of Suffolk boasts an exceptional landscape, and so it is no surprise that it has become a playground for theatre makers presenting site-specific work and repurposing buildings of all types. And in the urban centre of Ipswich, you will find several theatres, as well as a bi-annual festival of performance, a contemporary dancehouse and a marina which is the perfect setting for a pre-show drink.


Eastern Angles is the touring theatre company for the East of England. In its 40 years of the company has performed in countless village halls, community centres and even barns, as well as presenting unique site-specific productions.

A highlight in Eastern Angles’ annual programme is their Spring tour Booming Voices, inspired by the people and landscape of the Broads. The Ballad of Maria Marten re-told the infamous local legend of the Red Barn Murder and toured to unique spaces across Suffolk before touring across England; The Wuffings told the epic story of the birth of East Anglia with performances in a specially adapted agricultural warehouse near Woodbridge.

When not on the road the company – which includes multi-award-winning playwright Martha Loader – is based at the Eastern Angles Centre in Ipswich. The theatre often plays host to work from emerging local creatives and is also home to Eastern Angles’ annual Christmas show. As an intimate performance space, it’s the perfect venue for artists to develop new and exciting work, often before it embarking on wider tours – giving audiences the chance to see new work first.

Find out more at the Eastern Angles website


DanceEast offers an intimate experience for audiences in its 181-seater studio. Found at Jerwood DanceHouse on Ipswich’s evolving Waterfront, it is a fantastic place to watch work from world-class artists.

The varied performance programme includes received work from well-known companies such as Akram Khan, Mark Bruce, Jasmin Vardimon and Arthur Pita as well as new, impactful pieces, often premiering or previewing ahead of London shows. They also offer residency spaces and production facilities for dance artists to develop work.

DanceEast’s participatory programme offers lots of ways to get involved – watch a company in rehearsal, try out a one-day taster workshop, or join their wide range of weekly classes with something for all ages.

And the café is a great place to pause for breath.

Find out more at the DanceEast website


Red Rose Chain are an independent theatre company who create ground-breaking theatre productions at their home, The Avenue Theatre, in Ipswich.

Artistic Director Joanna Carrick is a critically acclaimed playwright, creating heritage plays that explore Suffolk stories, including The Ungodly about the Witchfinder General Mathew Hopkins, Put Out the Lights exploring the Ipswich Martyrs and The Ebony Box about abolitionist Thomas Clarkson.

Red Rose Chain’s annual Theatre in the Forest at the National Trust’s Sutton Hoo is Suffolk’s largest outdoor Shakespeare production, attracting more than 6,000 people each year. Known for making Shakespeare accessible for all, the shows feature music, comedy and breath-taking puppets designed by Olivier award-winning Nick Barnes Puppets. Theatre in the Forest’s 25th anniversary in 2024 will be marked by a very magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Find out more at the Red Rose Chain website