Costumes, props and curiosities from Norwich’s Maddermarket Theatre are set to be auctioned

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 January 2015

Maddermarket Theatre's Stash Kirkbride and Sarah Young in the prop store amongst some of the many items that are to be sold at the Fundraising Gala Auction. Photo: Steve Adams

Maddermarket Theatre's Stash Kirkbride and Sarah Young in the prop store amongst some of the many items that are to be sold at the Fundraising Gala Auction. Photo: Steve Adams


From some knight’s armour to a colourful model of a Gypsy caravan - costumes, props and curiosities from one of Norwich’s theatres are set to go under the hammer at a special event this month.

Some highlights from the Maddermarket Fundraising Gala Auction

A. A 19th century carved oak carver chair which was used in the show The Fall Of The House Of Usher.

B. A 19th century highly ornate carved sofa with lion mask arms.

C. An enamel bath, once owned by Ian Emmerson, artistic director at the Maddermarket Theatre in the 1960s and 1980s.

D. A circa 1830s lace overdress with embroidered bell flowers.

E. A novelty chicken in a cage used in a production of The Canterbury Tales.

F. A pine spinning wheel.

G. Some knight’s armour.

H. A shield decorated with a portrait of William Shakespeare.

I. Six top hats.

J. A medieval-style theatre costume tunic.

K. The Arrietty puppet used in the Maddermarket’s 2014 Christmas show The Borrowers.

L. The model caravan used in The Borrowers. Designed by Virginia Bain, built by James Utting, painted by Madeleine Young.

The Maddermarket Theatre is holding a fundraising gala auction on Saturday, January 17, where people will have the chance to bid for an array of items linked to the history of the St John’s Alley venue.

Everything from a William Shakespeare shield to a collection of tops hats to period furniture used in shows over the years are included in the 70 lots which will be auctioned off by Mike Sarson, from Diss-based TW Gaze.

Among the more bizarre items on sale will be a novelty chicken in a cage which was once used for a production of The Canterbury Tales, and a bathtub which belonged to former Maddermarket Theatre artistic director Ian Emmerson.

The hope is the auction will raise several thousand pounds which will go towards the theatre’s ongoing refurbishment appeal and its Shakespeare-inspired GoGoMadder dragon sculpture which is being created for this summer’s GoGoDragons! charity art trail being organised by Break and Wild in Art.

Stash Kirkbride, the theatre’s joint creative director alongside Peter Beck, said: “The refurbishment is part of a whole new chapter of the theatre’s history, and with the refurbishment we have been having a clear out of all the areas of the Maddermarket to make more space.

“We have found all sorts of things that weren’t being used regularly so we thought we would offer them up to the public and followers of the Maddermarket to buy.

“It’s a chance for people to own some unique items from Maddermarket plays from over the years.

“There’s costumes, items of curiosity, furniture. There is even the colourful caravan that was used in our recent Christmas show The Borrowers.”

He said as well as the main auction there would also be a costume stall and a bric-a-brac stall.

The Maddermarket Theatre has been staging plays, musicals and other events in Norwich for about a century and its in-house company, the Norwich Players, was established in 1911.

Nowadays, about 12 plays a year are staged by the Norwich Players and the company’s first in-house production for 2015 is the classic farce Boeing Boeing which opens on January 22 and runs until January 31.

• The Maddermarket Fundraising Gala Auction, in association with TW Gaze and children’s charity Break, is being held on Saturday, January 17 at the Maddermarket Theatre.

The auction preview starts at 5pm, followed by a champagne reception at 7pm and the auction at 8pm.

Tickets £12 (concessions £10).

For more information and to book tickets call the box office on 01603 620917 or visit the theatre’s website at

• Do you have a Norwich arts story?

Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at

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