Sutton Hoo: New pop-up theatre venue gets Olympic treatment

The 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony

image copyright59 Productions

The site of some of the greatest ever archaeological discoveries is to host a new outdoor pop-up theatre made by an Olympics creative design team.

Suffolk theatre company Red Rose Chain will take up a residency at the Anglo-Saxon burial site Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, in summer 2022.

59 Productions, responsible for the video creations of the 2012 Olympics opening, will design the venue.

The theatre described the artistic collaboration as “special”.

Mark Grimmer, the co-founder of 59 Productions, is from Suffolk and a former member of the company’s youth theatre.

The site of the forthcoming outdoor theatre at Sutton Hoo

image copyrightRed Rose Chain

A design of the new outdoor theatre venue

image copyright59 Productions

Joanna Carrick, Red Rose Chain’s artistic director, said: “We are so proud of everything Mark has achieved.

“It means the world to us to be working with 59 Productions on the launch of a new era for Theatre in the Forest.

“He’s extraordinary and amazing.”

As well as the London Olympics, the production company has worked on the award-winning War Horse play, the David Bowie Is exhibition and New York’s Met Ball.

Royal burial mounds at Sutton Hoo

image copyrightNational Trust Images/Justin Minns

The Red Rose Chain, in partnership with the National Trust – which runs the Sutton Hoo site – will operate the new Theatre in the Forest venue between July and August 2022.

Designs for the new venue will be revealed on 31 July at its live-stream gala night to mark the Theatre in the Forest programme’s 21st anniversary.

National Trust team with actors Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes (centre)

image copyrightLARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX © 2021

Theatrical entertainment has most recently been provided by the site in the form of Netflix film The Dig.

Starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes, the movie charts the discoveries made at Sutton Hoo in 1939 and has boosted visitor numbers.

The British Museum has described the site’s Anglo-Saxon’s treasures as some of “the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time”.

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