The Primadonna Festival

Posted on: 4th October, 2019

In August this year, Theatre Royal community participants accompanied by Theatre Royal Associate Artists attended the Primadonna festival at Laffitts Hall – described as the perfect weekend in the country for anyone interested in writing, ideas, books, music activities and chilling. The brain child of a group of women from publishing and entertainment, the 18 Primadonnas include; Sabeena Akhtar, Joanna Baker, Amie Corry, Jane Dyball, Catherine Mayer, Kit de Waal, Shona Abhyankar, Jude Kelly, Alexis Kirschbaum, Lisa Milton, Shola Mos- Shogbamimu, Sonia Purnell, Monisha Rajesh, Catherine Riley, Athena Stevens, Cathryn Summerhayes, Sandi Toksvig, Sioned Wiliam.


The 18 Primadonna’s


30 Theatre Royal community participants, artists, and partners attended this 3-day event in Suffolk countryside. You never know what will happen at an event like this so we all went with open minds, toothbrushes, tents and a positive outlook.

Some highlights of the event included:

  • An Act Your Age participant, who is a gifted writer, met with industry professionals, publishers and fellow writers, providing an opportunity for her to focus her time and effort around her writing.
  • Women writers from The Refuge work-shopped ideas in writing sessions with our Associate Artist Danusia Iwaszko.
  • Expert performers from Recovery’s Got Talent took to the stage and shared their hearts in this inspiring environment.
  • Theatre Royal Community Company members took the opportunity to explore writing as a passion to inform their devising skills.


‘It was not only a pleasure, but inspiring to be fortunate enough to attend the Primadonna Festival this August. In a supportive and gentle, yet exciting environment, women exchanged thoughts and skills about writing. Obstacles to women expressing themselves, be they in society, psychology or practical issues were debated and explored. But the Primadonna Festival was no whinge fest, it was women at their best. Supportive, inclusive and funny! As a professional writer it was a privilege to be there.’

Danusia Iwaszko Associate Artist Writer Theatre Royal


‘I went to the Primadonna Festival with a group from Recovery’s Got Talent and The Live Lounge. Most of us wouldn’t have been able to afford to go without the subsidised tickets that we were very kindly given. We had a fantastic day watching music, poetry and empowering talks, and two of our group also camped for the weekend. It was a beautifully set out and organised event and we would absolutely love to go back next year.’

Councillor Katie Parker Recovery’s Got Talent & The Live Lounge


‘As a young person, when my mum told me that we were going to the Primadonna Festival. I’d never heard of it before so I searched it up to find out what it is about. It looked interesting and it wasn’t somewhere I would plan to go to but on the day of arrival, everyone was so welcoming and I felt a bit more at ease as I was nervous about the surroundings. Throughout the day, I listened to a few interviews and purchased some food which was absolutely delicious! On the first night, they had a room called the barn and they would play music until late, and that’s when me and my friend met a bunch of people who were a few years older than us. They included us both in their circle of dancing and we were laughing like we had known each other before this event. The weekend went so quickly which was sad but it was definitely a weekend to remember! Not only have I met wonderful people but I’ve realised that you don’t need to go far and be surrounded by a few thousand people to have an excellent, unforgettable time away.’  

Harmonie, Participant


‘I was blessed to be invited to the Primadonna Festival. Not only was in a beautiful setting just on the outskirts of Stowmarket, it was a very safe carefree and totally relaxing event. The talks were amazing and were very informative on how to write and produce work. It was a very relaxing festival, with some fantastic people I met throughout the whole weekend. It really helped me to write better as I’m now going into volunteering, to help others in their life journeys. I really feel that attending Primadonna festival has definitely been proactive to help me more effectively. The music also was brilliant in the evenings. I have to say at times some of the poets that I heard were so powerful as to what they were saying and how they presented their work, with such empathy, truthfulness. It brought a tear to my eye in wow on how brilliant they were and amazing people to share such work. Primadonna was the highlight of the summer. Thank you so much’

Juliette, Participant


So from arriving at the festival with an open mind we now have our minds full. Filled with ideas inspiration, new contacts, increased motivation, great memories and opportunity and a desire to return. Thank you Primadonnas, we loved it and look forward to 2020 to bring back more ideas and creativity.



Lucinda Meredith

Theatre Royal Associate Artist


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