The Seagull theatre in LowestoftIn 2005, the Local Authority-run performing arts venue in Lowestoft was closed by Suffolk County Council as part of cost cutting measures. The lovely Victorian school building had played a key part in so many lives for so many years, that there soon followed a grassroots local community campaign to save the building. This led to a local benefactor buying the building and donating it back to the community via The Seagull Community Interest Company. 

Since then, The Seagull has gone from strength to strength: renovating the building, creating a strong grassroots not-for-profit arts space and showing how the arts can support and transform a deprived community.

They are entirely community run, offering a year-round programme of subsidised arts performances, a free-to-access community support programme, and subsidised space for our local creative community. 

Through the arts, they support specialist groups for those with dementia, poor lung health, Parkinsons and those who are neurodiverse. They run specialist mentoring and volunteering for those with long term mental health and wellbeing challenges, and are constantly evolving new services to support the town.

Des Reynolds says: “The best thing about The Seagull is that it is community run, community managed and reflects and responds appropriately to the needs of the community - not just over a year or 6 months, but for over 15 years and counting." 

You can find out more via their website or follow them on Facebook and X/Twitter.

Vote for The Seagull to win the People's Choice Award