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ESSA teaching team


We are a vibrant performing arts school for ages 5-18, offering a range of workshops to help young people develop their skills in dance, drama, and singing. Our passionate teaching team strive to nurture children's confidence and creative talent through fun and engaging lessons and activities. Children will have the chance to show off their new skills in our regular performances.


We offer a variety of holiday clubs and workshops in the Ipswich and East Suffolk area. Check out our workshops page for details of our upcoming events.


ESSA Releases Scholarships for Summer 2024

10 June 2024

We are excited to be turning one next month, and we plan to celebrate by giving away scholarships for our upcoming production of ‘Rock of Ages’ to talented young people aged 11-18. In the wake of the cost of living crisis, local budget cuts to the arts have never been more impactful on children and teens; depleting their access to creative performance and putting a price on previously attainable experiences. ESSA is hoping to bridge this gap with their new scholarship scheme; offering five placements to students from low income households.

Summer Camp Ipswich 2024

Principal, Nat Curtis, acknowledges the necessity for equity within performing arts opportunities.“In times of financial hardship, the arts are often the first thing to suffer. I know that many families are struggling right now, and I would like to provide possibilities for children with a passion for the arts, who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. We are starting in a very small way by providing 5 scholarship placements, but are hoping to extend more opportunities in the future.”


East Suffolk Stage Arts (established in 2023) is an up and coming performing arts school that strives to provide affordable, accessible, and most of all, enjoyable, opportunities for young creatives, no matter their background. With the aims of uplifting adolescent talent in a nurturing environment, ESSA encourages children of all ages and abilities to step into the spotlight. No prior experience in drama, dance, or singing is required to enjoy the workshops, activity weeks, and stage shows that ESSA run throughout the school holidays.


To celebrate its first birthday, ESSA is set to stage a production of the West End hit musical ‘Rock of Ages. Jr’. A grand culmination of 80s hits, this jukebox musical features all of your head-banging favourites. Jam packed with nostalgia, double denim, and bad hairstyles - this show is not to be missed. The production will take place on the 16th of August at Copleston High School, with rehearsals commencing Monday the 12th.


10% off Rock of Ages Workshop

27 May 2024

We are delighted to announce that our summer workshop and show, Rock of Ages, will be taking place at Copleston High School this August. Get 10% off when you apply by 19th June 2024. 

We are casting for our main characters now. Audition by video, deadline: 19/07/2024. 

Head over to our workshops page for more info.

free theatre scholarship

Now taking payment plans!

21 Feb 2024

We appreciate that times have been hard lately, and arts education can be difficult to access for many families. At ESSA, we believe in the power of arts education to instil confidence in children through allowing them the freedom of expression, and are committed to providing affordable arts education to children in Suffolk.

If you would like to sign up but are stuck for cash right now, simply email us at and we will happily discuss an instalment plan.

payment plan theatre scholarship universal credit

Workshop now to be held at Copleston High School

21 Feb 2024

Show in a week

Dear ESSA Customers,


I am writing to inform you that we have had a change of venue for our Easter workshop. The show will go ahead as planned, however the workshop will now be held at Copleston High School, as detailed below.


Workshop to be held 8-12 April 2024, 9am-4pm.

Copleston High School,

Copleston Road, 




If you have any questions, please email us and we will be happy to discuss.

Kind Regards,

The ESSA Team.

New Theatre School Set to Enliven Ipswich

18 Feb 2024


East Suffolk Stage Arts to Offer Vibrant Performing Arts Workshops for Ages 5-18


Ipswich, Suffolk - 17/02/2024 - In the face of challenges posed by budget cuts threatening arts education in Suffolk's communities, local teacher Nat Curtis is taking a bold step forward with the establishment of East Suffolk Stage Arts (ESSA), a dynamic new theatre school. ESSA will provide a rich tapestry of performing arts workshops, specialising in dance, drama, and singing, and will welcome students of all skill levels, aged 5 to 18. No prior experience is required, just a passion for creativity.


At ESSA, accessibility, affordability, and, above all, enjoyment are paramount. The school aims to create a nurturing environment where every participant has the opportunity to shine, regardless of age or ability. While auditions may be held for larger roles, ESSA ensures that everyone will have a part to play.

Founder Nat Curtis, pictured, whose passion for arts education knows no bounds, emphasises the transformative power of the arts in fostering confidence and social development among children. "Arts education is invaluable," she asserts, "and at ESSA, we're dedicated to nurturing natural talent and providing pathways into the performing arts industry.”


Joining Nat is drama teacher Liz Weighill, a recent college graduate with a lifelong love for performance. “I’m excited to be able to share my passion for musical theatre with our students and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how their ideas help bring the show and it’s characters to life,” Liz shares enthusiastically.

Our principal, Nat Curtis

To inaugurate its 2024 season, ESSA will stage a production of the West End hit musical, 'Rock of Ages.' Set against the backdrop of the 1980s, this high-energy extravaganza promises a nostalgic journey filled with shoulder pads, bad wigs, and infectious tunes. The production will take place at the esteemed Woolverstone Halls Hayworth Theatre, culminating a week-long Performing Arts Workshop during the Easter half-term.


Caitlyn, an 11-year-old aspiring performer eagerly awaiting her role in the show, expresses her excitement: "I love performing because you can escape into another world and be a different person. I am excited to learn how to act in a partnership as I haven’t done this before, and I am hoping to get the part of Sherrie.”

East Suffolk Stage Arts invites the Ipswich community and beyond to embark on this thrilling journey into the world of performing arts. For more information on workshops, auditions, and performances, visit our workshops page, or contact us.

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