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Harleston's Eastern Angles director Ivan Cutting to step down after 40 years

The founder of a theatre company is stepping down after 40 years of service to the group.

Ivan Cutting, 69 and of Harleston, founded Eastern Angles in 1982 with four other actors, with the company making a name for itself on the rural touring circuit in East Anglia over the following years.

The company expanded and went on to tour to all four corners of the British isles and from the 90s onwards, Cutting and his team began to produce large scale shows like The Wuffings and a series of new plays in the Hush House on the former Bentwaters Airbase.

Ivan Cutting is leaving after 40 years.
Ivan Cutting is leaving after 40 years.

These days the company boasts of its ability to turn any space indoors or outdoors in to a large auditorium with raked seating and extensive sound and lighting rigs, whilst its touring circuit covers an area from Brentwood to Cromer and Peterborough to Lowestoft.

Speaking about his decision to call time on his position as artistic director with the company, Mr Cutting said; “I always intended to hand in my badge once the company had secured its new Arts Council NPO award for the next three years and had settled into its new home, the Eastern Angles Centre.

“Over the years I have worked with a vast array of people who have helped make the company the success it is today, and whose hard work and dedication I have depended on so often.

“It has been a privilege to work with them and to serve the communities of this vast and varied region.

“The arrival of the pandemic both stretched and focused my thinking about the future of the company and my own work.

“I will welcome the chance to travel round the country and see more work, put some energies into furthering the increasing reputations of Ipswich and Peterborough as exciting places with a fantastic heritage and finally write some of those things I’ve had on my to-do list for a long, long time.”

The company’s biggest hits have included Waterland (dir Hettie Macdonald), David Copperfield (dir Ivan Cutting), and most recently The Ballad of Maria Marten (dir Hal Chambers), although a personal favourite of Cutting is Parkway Dreams, the story of the Peterborough Development Corporation.

In 2008, Eastern Angles was threatened with a cut to its funding as East Anglia was deemed sub-regional, but the company fought back and embraced the city of Peterborough, where it now has a satellite base and second venue, The Undercroft.

Mr Cutting, who grew up in Ipswich and studied Drama at Bristol University, is about to direct a new translation of two medieval plays for his final project with Eastern Angles.

Medieval Miracles will tour to East Anglian village halls, community centres, studio theatres and its own Sir John Mills theatre between March to May, finishing at the Peterborough Celebrates Festival.

Mr Cutting will step down in November 2023 in the hope that a successor will be in place by September.

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