Stowmarket Stories

Footprints Theatre Company feels privileged to be part of Stowmarket’s story during 2022 and 2023. After the whirlwind of realising that we had been lucky enough to secure funding from Historic England as part of the Everyday Heritage Grants for our project we started to explore Stowmarket. What a lot of hidden gems are contained within it! 

First, a little about the company before I tell you about our project because what we do as a theatre company is a bit different. For example you won’t usually find us performing in a theatre! You are more likely to find us performing in the library or next to the church or in the marketplace. The aim of our work is to create exciting original performances that make spaces more interesting and break down the barriers between the audience, performer and space. So, you are more likely to meet us on a street corner talking to you face to face than you are watching us perform Shakespeare! Although, all of our actors are actually quite good at Shakespeare!

We began the Stowmarket Stories project in September and as part of the project opening we began to interview people who have lived and worked in Stowmarket for a number of years. We spoke to: Joe from Tydemann’s Jewellers, and he was able to reveal much of the interesting history of the shop, the people who ran it and why he is so passionate about the shop today. Roy who has lived in the area all of his life and as a boy would go karting on the A140 and hang on to the back of lorries to get a lift up the hill. Sharri who is passionate about the environment and recycling and is doing a fabulous job raising awareness of these issues. 

So many wonderful interviews and so many wonderful stories, and the thing which connects them all is their love of this unique community;“Stowmarket has the friendliness of a small town and the heart of a very big one.” The next stage of our project is to share the stories we have collected with the community in our workshops. We will be working with young people from The Mix, elderly people from care homes, creative people, grandparents and their grandchildren and we will share some of the wonderful stories from Stowmarket life and collect yet more. We will also be spending time exploring hidden gems around Stowmarket so if you know of any we would love to hear about them.

On 22 April and 13 May 2023 we would love it if you would join us for our Cabinet of Curiosities in the market. Here you will be invited into our Victorian parlour to find one of our hidden keys which will open a box of delights. Our actors will bring to life the stories, objects, and photographs within the boxes as you select them. Our boxes of curiosity were kindly created by the Men’s Shed. And as the summer gets into full swing we will be writing and rehearsing Stowmarket Stories to be performed on 21 and 22 July 2023. A play for your town and the people who live in it. Something unique.

So much to look forward to and so many lovely things to celebrate. Most of all though we want to thank the people of Stowmarket for being so helpful, friendly and open in welcoming Footprints Theatre Company into their town, homes and special places.