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ESSA Opens New Scholarship Programme for Summer Show!

27th June 2024


Local theatre school, East Suffolk Stage Arts (ESSA), will be turning one next month, and the school’s principal, Natalie Curtis, plans to celebrate by giving away scholarships for their 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.

Theatre Scholarship Ipswich Suffolk

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. Local parent Liz Bradshaw, whose children regularly attend ESSA workshops says “Maisie and Bella both enjoyed their week in Easter immensely. They improved with their confidence daily and thoroughly enjoyed throwing themselves into the acting, singing and dancing. They particularly enjoyed elements of being able to choreograph some of the dance moves themselves which promoted their initiative”.


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.


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 scholarships and auditions, visit our scholarships page.



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New Part-Scholarship Scheme Open

After the success of our initial scholarship pilot scheme, we are thrilled to announce that we have now opened a new part-scholarship scheme for our summer production of Rock of Ages (Youth Edition).

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