New Stages is about creating new opportunities, exploring creativity and empowering communities through different projects from theatre, the wider creative arts and wellbeing.

New Stages is a Community Interest Company, meaning we a not-for-profit organisation with a social enterprise approach to all of our work. New Stages Projects CIC is a Community Interest Company registered in England and Wales, company number 13203008.

Our work is also rooted with our values and ethos that we advocate through actions and not just words. All our activity has grown from need, want and aspirations of the local community.

In 2020, we resurrected Norwich Fringe, to bring the first Norwich Fringe Festival for 8 years back to Norwich.

New Stages runs North Norfolk Youth Theatre (classes for 8-12s and 13-17s), North Walsham People’s Theatre, an adult acting group and North Walsham People’s Choir. All classes are designed to be friendly, engaging and fun. Classes, workshops and shows take place in North Walsham and participants come from the local area and across North Norfolk, Broadland and the rest of Norfolk like Norwich and beyond!

In October 2017 we launched North Walsham Pop Up People’s Theatre. We celebrated full houses and successful shows, from new writing, cabaret and pantomime! You can read more about that here.

You could also check out our list of past projects and shows to see what we have been up to!

We have a team who help to keep things going and you can check out who they are below.

New Stages and our classes are under the leadership of the director, Joseph Ballard.
Joseph is a professional performer and director with 17 years teaching experience for theatres, clubs and schools.
You can read more about Joseph on his own website (click here).

In 2009, Joseph set up his theatre education company called Response Theatre and then relaunched the activities in 2016 as ‘New Stages’ reflecting an influx of new adventures and opportunities for those involved in the classes. All classes now take place in North Walsham which is an ideal location for those traveling in from the surrounding areas across Broadland and North Norfolk.

In 2017 New Stages relaunched to engage with the local community in North Norfolk much more than before. New Stages runs North Walsham People’s Choir, North Norfolk Youth Theatre, North Walsham People’s Theatre and a creative welling workshop programme. In October 2017 we launched North Walsham Pop Up People’s Theatre, where we present shows in a town centre location.

Creative collaboration is a powerful thing and the company has worked with different organisations from the creative, educational and youth sectors. In summer 2012, our project called What’s Your Story was awarded the prestigious Inspire mark for excellence from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, making us officially part of the London 2012 family and its legacy.

Past partnerships have included MAP (Mancroft Advice Project with What’s Your Story), Anteros Arts Foundation, Town and Parish Councils, The Atrium and Catch 21. Workshops and performances have taken place at our own People’s Theatre, The Atrium, Norwich Puppet Theatre,  the Big Screen, London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Open, The Great Hospital and parks and festivals as part of our open-air tours.

Since then the company has grown, with the strong belief that collaborations with other organisations, education providers and other practitioners is the key to rewarding, innovative successful projects.

Click here to email Joseph, our director.

New Stages Advisory Board
New Stages is a Community Interest Company which means we run all activity as a not-for-profit and we want to ensure that the community and people are at the heart of all that we do. Anyone is welcome to join our Advisory Board to help shape our activity going forwards, ensuring we meet the needs of the local community with people at the heart of all we do. The Board includes Champions in diversity, environment, older people and young people.

We want our work to be planned, delivered and reviewed by the communities we work with. We also ensure that all our work is safe and welcoming for everyone. Everyone should be treated equally and with respect. 

We want to play our part in looking after the environment. This means we are always looking at best practice and making responsible decisions in our delivery and procurement.

If you are interested in joining our Advisory Board, please do get in touch.

Focus Groups
We hold regular focus groups on community issues, topics or strands of our activity. All are welcome to take part.

The Team
Our teams vary depending on the project, but throughout all current activity we have Joseph (Director of New Stages) and Emma (FOH Manager and in charge of our Advisory Board). All activities are run by professional creative practitioners and all workshop leaders and helpers are DBS checked and have the training and experience of working with the community or young people.

How are we funded?
We received no regular funding. We are always seeking new partnerships and funding opportunities but most of our activity is supported through self-generated income. This could be through show box office income, fees paid by participants for classes or sponsorship of certain projects or shows, or fund-raising activities. We also rely upon in-kind support from the local community too.

We have received project-based funding from Arts Council England (Norwich Fringe 2021) and North Walsham Community Shop (to purchase some seating in 2018).
In-kind support includes the longstanding support from the Showcase Gallery (town centre box office) and Black Swan (North Walsham Pop-up People’s Theatre). You can support us by donating online. Read more

How involved are we with the local community?
In North Walsham and Norfolk Norfolk we are heavily involved! From performing at care homes, hospitals and local events like the farmer’s market, to taking part in town-wide initiatives such as the North Walsham Heritage Action Zone and North Walsham Big Bash.

In Norwich we have delivered a series of youth theatre activity (including Shakespeare in the City) and we also present Norwich Fringe, a programme of development opportunities for new theatre work and a festival.