Suzanne Hawkes and The Two Sisters Arts Centre


Felixstory suffragettes

Courage calls to Courage

19th and 20th July at the Two Sisters Arts Centre, Trimley St. Mary Church

With their shared churchyard, the two churches of Trimley St. Martin and St. Mary have been a defining feature in our villages for hundreds of years. In the last few years, St. Mary’s Church hasn’t been used for services, although the congregation always has a presence there on Remembrance Sunday. The situation changed about two months ago when the church assumed a new focus with the opening of ‘The Two Sisters Arts Centre’. The majority of Trimley residents can walk to a venue hosting music and other arts activities, in less than fifteen minutes from their front doors. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us all; the musicians have been of world class standard. Suzanne Hawkes, the woman behind this regeneration, has been in contact with me and below you may read how ‘Two Sisters’ came into being. And don’t forget, this Friday, John Etheridge, a jazz musician of considerable authority will be playing at ‘The Two Sisters’, something not to be missed.

Suzanne Hawkes writes:

I think I’ve been searching for an Arts Centre in the area for at least 20 years. Touring with Black & White Productions I have always found it very difficult to find a place to perform in my home town, and was always envious of other places like Halesworth’s The Cut, The John Peel Centre in Stowmarket and Colchester Arts Centre. Interesting the last two are in converted churches – and that made me think. I also did a lot of productions early in my career in St Nicholas Centre in Ipswich – again a converted church, and was heavily involved in the opening of St Mary on The Quay by Suffolk MIND as a new wellbeing space last year when they commissioned a play from me to celebrate its launch – ‘Changing Faces, Hidden Lives’.

So basically, I was looking out for a redundant church and St Marys came up. I love old buildings and believe in finding a new use for them if it enhances the history. Churches were built for the community and I believe creating an arts centre within St Marys is in some ways bringing the building back to its roots. It’s also a way of preserving our heritage –something I passionately believe in – as I think anybody who knows my writing will see. If we do not remember our history our future will be the poorer. And I love connecting the local community with their historical legacy through drama. It’s sometimes much more relevant if you can see the characters brought to life and realise they were just like us with the same fears, failures, joys and triumphs.

This has very much been a struggle over the last three years – but now we are up and running I have drafted in a few more like minded people to help out – Jayne Lindill, Editor of The Suffolk Magazine, Alison Miller running the bar with a band of volunteers and Alan Dix as Caretaker are my main supports. I have appreciated the backing of David Southgate and the Trimley St Mary Parish Council along with County Councillor Stuart Bird, and District Councillors Richard Kerry, Doreen Savage & Steve Gallant who helped me get started. The Felixstowe Town Council has also chipped in with some funding with which I was able to buy some very comfortable chairs – and SG Wealth Management have sponsored building the lovely wooden Coffee Bar.

I am also pleased to say Trinity College, Cambridge through Bidwells have agreed to lease us the grass paddock over the road at Great Street Farm for car parking during Two Sisters Events – which will relieve the pressure on residents around the Arts Centre and should be up and running very soon.

I hope the Two Sisters will become a community hub with lots of opportunity to see quality music, drama and art exhibitions, and give a platform to those who want an intimate space to try out their talent.

I have been thrilled to get Jazz East in for the past three months while they take a break from their usual venue at The Alex and am hoping to continue with jazz on the first Friday of the month during the Autumn and Winter. I already have Andi Hopgood lined up for September and a local jazz group led by Ivan Osbourne for October. Jazz is a particular passion of mine as I learnt trumpet at school and played in a jazz band until I left at 18 to go find a job!

Two Sisters Arts Centre was launched on April 27th with an evening featuring performance poet Luke Wright, Suffolk historian and raconteur Charlie Haylock and music from Stacks of Sax. It was officially opened by our Patron Rachel Sloane and attended by Felixstowe Mayor Cllr Graham Newman.

Within the now redundant church of St Mary’s in Trimley, and in the heart of the community, it is hoped that this space will become a vibrant hub of quality arts performances, workshops and exhibitions as well as providing space for rehearsals, lectures, recitals and other forms of creative activity.

The space is administered by Felixstowe Creative Arts Trust (F-CAT) led by Suzanne Hawkes. The building has been cleaned and repainted and has a licensed bar, a stage, comfortable and flexible seating and a Green Room.  From July 5th we will also have our own CAR PARK – on the paddock at Great Street Farm just over the road. This will be open for Two Sisters Events only.  A number of events are already lined up for the next few months including Friday night jazz sessions, Sunday afternoon music concerts, arts workshops and touring theatre performances.

Live Music @ Two Sisters

Friday 5th JulyJazz East presents guitarist John Etheridge

Doors will open 7.30pm for an 8pm start. There will be a licensed bar and tickets will be £10 on the door or online @

Special offer: Get 241 tickets at door or online if you have a voucher from June gig

Saturday 13th JulyTrimley Carnival Day – Two Sisters Open from 1pm – Coffee & Cake, Licensed Bar and Live Music – Free Entry

Sunday 28th JulyLive Music@ Two Sisters with The Saints Community Ban

Doors open 1.30pm. Music from 2pm – 4pm

Coffee & Cake plus Licensed Bar – £5 entry on the door


Sat 31st August – Paint Brush and Party art workshop for adults run by Angela of The Ashford Studio in Trimley. More details and to book a place phone Angela on 07587 142773


Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July

Black & White Productions present

Courage Calls to Courage – The Suffragist Musical! written by Suzanne Hawkes with music by William Stoddart

A drama with original music looking at the rivalry between Millicent Fawcett’s Suffragists and Emmeline Pankhurst’s Suffragettes

Doors open 7.15pm for a 7.45pm start

After sell out performances last year the Company are performing a revised version of this play before taking it to The Edinburgh Fringe in August.

Tickets £10 from 01394 279613 or online @

The building is available for hire by visual and performance artists and groups. Please ring Suzanne on 01394 279613 to book.


Workshops: £20 for a four hour session

Rehearsals: £20 for a four hour session (with the proviso that the piece rehearsed must be given a performance at Two Sisters)


£40 for an afternoon performance

£50 per evening for groups/performers based on the Felixstowe peninsula

£70 for groups/performers based outside the Felixstowe peninsula

OR 60/40 split with marketing assistance

Contact Suzanne on:  01394 279613 for bookings

For more information e mail: or visit our Facebook page. Tickets for events can be obtained from the Box Office – 01394 279613 and/or online @

If you would like to volunteer at Two Sisters email:

 If as a local business you would like to sponsor us   – please get in touch with Jayne Lindill at



“Courage calls to Courage”

We are grateful to Councillors Steve Gallant, Richard Kerry, Doreen Savage, and Mike Deacon, Felixstowe Town Council and Trimley St Mary Parish Council for some initial funding to get us off the ground. And to Stephen Girling of SG Wealth Management for sponsoring the new and very impressive Coffee Bar, built by local artisan joiner Adrian Watts.

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