Saturday, 30 June 2012

Liane Carroll Quartet (music)

Liane Carroll is a nationally famous jazz musician and is also a local girl having been brought up in Hastings where she still lives. She began performing in the town, aged fifteen, as a singer and a pianist. She has toured with Gerry Rafferty, Jerry Donahue and Long John Baldry, has headlined at Ronnie Scott's and is a regular performer at Chelsea's 606 Club. She has a smoky, soulful voice and is a passionate performer.

Her most recent album, 'Up And Down' won Jazz Album of the Year at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in May this year. Previously she has been awarded Best Female Jazz Vocalist at the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Awards in 2007, as well as winning a double of Best Jazz Vocalist and Best Jazz Performer at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2005.

Liane will be coming to Eastbourne to perform at the Underground Theatre with her quartet which comprises husband Roger Carey (bass), Russell Field (drums) and James McMillan (trumpet). They have a wide repertoire which encompasses tender love songs and powerful rocking blues numbers. The YouTube video below is from the Brecon Jazz Festival in 2007 and was originally broadcast on BBC4. It shows Liane and her band playing the beautiful Dublin Morning and you can also find videos of them doing a wonderful version of Picture In A Frame by Tom Waits as well as Caravan by Duke Ellington.

Underground Theatre, Friday 20th July, 20:00.
£12 (UGT members/students £11) 

Friday, 29 June 2012

Queen Of The Sun (film)

Eastbourne & District Friends of the Earth are going to be holding a special screening of Queen Of The Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us? at Eastbourne Town Hall in July. As well as the film, there will be guest speakers including Heidi Herrmann, a founder trustee of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, and Andrew Pendleton, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth. The Sun Hive will also be on show before and after the film. This is a pioneering beehive specially developed by natural beekeepers to provide optimum living conditions for honey bees.

Queen Of The Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us? is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from director Taggart Siegel. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story. The film follows beekeepers from all around the globe as they keep their bees in natural and holistic ways. From Gunther Hauk in the United States to Massimo Carpinteri in Italy, they have unique philosophical and spiritual insights and are striving to keep their bees safe from the pesticides that are gravely  threatening wild bee populations.

Eastbourne Town Hall, Thurs 12th July, 18:30.
Free admission.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Gilbert & Sullivan concerts (music)

I first blogged about the Eastbourne Gilbert and Sullivan Society when they performed the comedy The Gondoliers at the Devonshire Park Theatre in May 2012.

They are a busy society and, as well as their traditional series of concerts at the renovated Eastbourne Bandstand through the summer, they have a Coffee Morning spot at the Underground Theatre much earlier in the year - the 23rd of March. On this morning, they will be singing a wide variety of numbers from the works of Gilbert and Sullivan together with a special preview of their Summer Show. For 2013 this will be The Sorcerer, one of Gilbert and Sullivan's earliest operettas which originally opened in 1877. This will be at the Devonshire Theatre from the 7th to the 11th of May and I will be blogging in more detail closer to the time.

Underground Theatre, Sat 23rd March, 10:00-12:00.
Free admission.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Gef Tom Son (jewellery)

 Following on from my post about Hilary Bravo, another great jewellery discovery I made recently is Gef Tom Son
I was encouraged to actually explore the Enterprise Centre properly by getting involved with an EastbourneCan cashmob. Talking to some of the shop owners, I was initially surprised to find out that a lot of local residents don't know that the Enterprise exists, let alone where it is - behind the station - but then I realised how many times I just pass it by as well. There are dozens of independent shops selling a wide variety of unusual items that you won't find anywhere else in Eastbourne, as well as services like the hairdresser & barber, and food from the butcher, the fishmonger and the cupcake shop.

Gef Tom Son has been making gorgeous semi-precious jewellery for at least fifteen years and his shop is a wonderful Aladdin's cave of necklaces, bracelets, pendants and earrings. I visited during the Jubilee weekend and Gef told me he was very moved by the event, having previously worked at Buckingham Palace. With this history, he obviously understands classic and elegant jewellery and has a sharp eye for colour combinations. He uses over seventy varieties of stone including corals, freshwater pearls, rubies, lapiz lazuli, turquoise and amethysts and every item is handcrafted. You can watch him work while you browse, and see how much care is taken. Much of the jewellery is more affordable than I expected from the window displays. Although there certainly are a few heirloom pieces, there also really are choices for all budgets.

Enterprise Centre, Mon-Sat, 09:00-17:00.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Roy Orbison tribute (music)

The Eastbourne Bandstand tribute gigs have a vintage offering on the 14th of July when Iain Sparks will take to the stage performing as Roy Orbison.

Iain is a talented singer with an amazing four-and-a-half octave vocal range which enables him to recreate all of Roy's songs in their original keys. Audience members at past shows have sometimes assumed that he must be miming, the performance is so accurate, but Iain will definitely be singing and playing guitar live! He has performed on tours around the world including a memorable 'for one night only' with a 20 piece orchestra in Australia. He played Roy in the hit theatre show 'The Concert They Never Gave' as well as making other West End appearances and has also appeared on television programmes including Alan Carr and The Big Breakfast.

Eastbourne Bandstand, Sat 14th July, 19:00.
£7.25 adults, £5.25 children (£1 more each if you wait to pay on the door).
Tickets available from the Seafront Office, by phone on 01323 410611 or online through the VisitEastbourne shop.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Harold Mockford (art)

The Towner Gallery is putting together a collection of the works of Eastbourne artist Harold Mockford to celebrate his 80th birthday. The gallery owns fourteen of his paintings.

The Long Man at Wilmington
Harold Mockford was born in 1932. He was an evacuee child during the Second World War and has described one of his earliest memories seeing the outline of Butts Brow above Eastbourne from the train window on his return home. He left school at fourteen and worked as a dental technician. He did not take up painting until his twenties when he also joined a group of Eastbourne artists. One of his pictures was chosen for an exhibition at the original Towner Gallery in 1960. The exhibition was curated by a London abstract artist named William Gear who was particularly taken with Mockford's work and wanted to to buy the painting. He was shocked when the price was way under what Gear expected to pay and this episode launched Mockford's long professional painting career. 

Mockford's primary inspiration has been the coastal landscape around Eastbourne, Berwick and Newhaven where he moved in the late 1990s. He uses particularly vibrant colours and often views his subject from unexpected angles so familiar landscape features are transformed, allowing viewers to appreciate them anew. He has spent a lifetime walking the Downs in this small area both alone and with his family.

Towner Gallery, Sat 14th Jul - Sun 30th Sep.
Tues - Sun 10:00 - 18:00.
Bank Holiday Mondays 10:00 - 18:00.
£5.50 (£4 concessions / under 16s free).

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Bof! (music)

At Leiston European Music Festival (2011) 
The Lamb Folk Club wil be welcoming Bof! in July. Bof! are a four piece band who are based in Colchester and Bury St Edmunds. They met twelve years ago at a festival in France where they discovered a shared love of the traditional dance music of central France and the Brittany region. All four members have also had a long involvement in traditional English folk music and song and play a variety instruments.

Paddy plays the hurdy-gurdy (vielle-a-roue), diatonic accordeons, percussion and cas-cas. Simon also plays diatonic accordeons and hurdy gurdy but adds the bandoneon and provides vocals. Phil's specialities are guitar, mandola and bass guitar, together with vocals. And Val is the wind player bringing bagpipes, flute, recorder and saxophone to the mix.

Their repertoire is almost entirely music for dancing and they are in demand to play for festivals, dances, concerts and twinning. Between these live appearances, they have also found the time to record three albums: 'Reve a Verteillac', 'La Vache qui danse' and 'Le Gai Matelot'

Upstairs at The Lamb, Wed 18th Jul, 19:30.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Intimate Exchanges - A Cricket Match (theatre)

Intimate Exchanges was written by Alan Ayckbourn in the early 1980s as a result of most of his acting troupe moving on at the end of a tour leaving him with an entire summer season to fill and only two actors remaining. His response was to write a multi-ended comedy in which the choices made by the characters at certain points determined how the rest of the play would pan out. It's like one of those adventure books I read as a child in which I'd be instructed to turn to different pages depending on what I thought the character should do next. Ayckbourn intended all the play variations to be performed over that first summer, but in the end, only three were completed in time. The first was the one which is now coming to Eastbourne, A Cricket Match.
Plan created by G Dallimore
The complete Intimate Exchanges includes thirty-one scenes, sixteen hours of dialogue, ten characters and sixteen possible endings. Each individual play is made up of five scenes with only "How It Began" being common to all the plays. In this five second first scene, the character of Celia decides whether or not to smoke a cigarette. The second scene occurs five seconds later, the third is set five days later, the fourth is five weeks later and the fifth is five years later.
A Cricket Match takes the audience on an hilarious journey through the difficulties and complications of marital discontent. Celia, the Headmaster's wife, fears her marriage to Toby may be over. Toby's best friend, Miles, a similarly troubled man, who never really knows exactly how to say what he means, is married to the flamboyant Rowena who is given to practical jokes and indiscreet affairs. Everything comes to a head at a cricket match, where Lionel, the incompetent groundsman, has sabotaged the pitch and Miles and Toby come to dramatic blows over a dubious umpiring decision.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 3rd - Sat 7th July, 19:45, various prices.
Wed & Sat matinees, 14:30, £13.50 all seats.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Battle Town Brass (music)

For today's blog, I have been speaking to Louise Edwards. Louise is the principal cornet player for the Battle Town Band who will be visiting Eastbourne at the very beginning of July to play an 1812 Firework Concert at the Bandstand.

 tE: How did you get involved with Brass music in general and particularly with the Battle Town Band? LE: I grew up in a very musical family and learnt piano and violin as a child. When I was older, I was studying Arts Management at the Welsh College of Music and Drama and made friends with a few brass players who decided to practise their teaching skills on me. I started playing the trumpet and really enjoyed it. I practised hard and a couple of years later I joined my first brass band in Sussex. After a couple of years, I wanted a further challenge and decided to join Battle. I'd seen a list of the music they played and it looked like great fun. I enjoy the relaxed but hard working atmosphere at rehearsals and the conductor knows exactly how to encourage me and has helped me become a much better player. I've been principal cornet at Battle for five years and as well as enjoying our concerts and contests, I really like spending time with my friends at the band. We're a very social band and enjoy a good curry together!

tE: How long has the Battle Town Band been in existence?
LE: I believe there was a a Battle Town Band in the early 20th century but the outbreak of World War 2 ended it. BTB was reformed in the early seventies as part of Claverham Community College's adult education programme but soon became an independent organisation, although we retain our links with Claverham and are very grateful to them for rehearsal / storage space.

tE: It must be quite expensive to maintain all the instruments and travel to concerts. Does the Band struggle to find enough members?
LE: Band members all pay annual subs and we also have income from our concerts and various generous grants. We've been incredibly lucky recently to receive grants from the Hastings Lions, Battle Lions and Isabel Blackman Foundation which has enabled us to buy 9 brand new cornets and mutes for the band. Having high quality instruments really helps us to play better! We have a busy summer every year. In the last few years, we have played in Battle, Hastings, Eastbourne, Rye, Catsfield, Icklesham, Bodiam, Brighton and travelled further afield to Hever Castle, Sevenoaks, Dover and Deal in Kent. We have even played twice at Westminster Abbey! We have a good strong core of regular members, several of whom have played with the band for many years. However, we often need to rely on friends who play with other local bands to help us out at concerts - we then repay the favour for them! Battle isn't the easiest town to get to so attracting new players can be difficult. We rehearse on Friday evenings at Battle Memorial Hall from 7:00 - 9:30pm and we're a very welcoming, social band - we could always do with more tuba players! 

tE: The Band has quite a varied repertoire. Who gets to decide what you all will play?
LE: Our conductor, Jon Penton, is mainly in charge of repertoire and we play all kinds of music - there really is something for everyone. He particularly likes to choose music that challenges us as players and helps us improve!Members often suggest new music as well, particularly if there's a solo that someone wants to play. Jon is in charge of putting together a balanced programme and making sure that it's entertaining for our audiences.

tE: I saw the Band has had several competition triumphs in recent years. Are you aiming for more this year?

LE: Thank you! We're so proud of how much we've improved over the last few years. The brass band world is arranged a little like the football league - with a Championship section, going to First Section, Second Section, Third Section and Fourth Section. We worked very hard and won the London & Southern Counties Regional Fourth Section in 2009 and 2010 which meant we qualified to represent the area at the National Finals both years in Harrogate. We were then promoted up to the Third Section and this year we have achieved promotion again so will be a Second Section band in 2013, which we are very excited about. We are hoping to enter a contest in Crawley in September run by our local band association SCABA and we have also discussed the possibility of entering a contest at Butlins in Skegness in January.

tE: What does the future hold for Battle Town Band?
LE: Hopefully more contest successes, lots of great concerts and lots of laughs with friends! This summer, we have already done a Last Night of the Proms concert at Eastbourne, the opening of a Diamond Jubilee Garden and our own summer concert at Battle Memorial Hall. We are playing in Sevenoaks on 1st July followed by Eastbourne Bandstand on 4th July. We are also very excited about playing for the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Hastings on Tuesday 17th July and will be playing a very special piece of music called Going The Distance as part of a national brass band Olympic event called Brass The Baton. Later in the summer we have concerts at Hever Castle, Catsfield and Winchelsea. We will continue to play at community events in Battle such as Remembrance Sunday and the St George's Day parade as we enjoy supporting our local town. I'm sure Jon will have picked out lots of new challenging music for us to play and we will enjoy rehearsing for contests and concerts. We are also bound to have a few curry nights and other social events such as crazy golf, bowling, theatre trips, ice skating etc.
Battle Town Brass will be playing at Eastbourne Bandstand on Weds 4th July, 19:30.
£7.75 adults / £3.75 children or £1 extra each if you wait to pay 'on the door'. Tickets available from the Seafront Office, by calling 01323 410611, or online at the VisitEastbourne shop.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Macbeth (theatre)

Eastbourne Operatic And Dramatic Society are continuing their popular tradition of open-air Shakespeare this summer with a production of the bloody play, Macbeth.

The Tragedy of Macbeth is first believed to have been performed in 1611 and tells the story of a man who commits regicide to make himself King and then continues to murder in order to retain his power. Macbeth was a real Scottish King but Shakespeare's tale bears very little relation to the truth as the genuine man was said to have been an admired and capable monarch. The play examines the effects of ambition and corruption and also the difference between tyranny and leadership. It is quite a bit shorter than Shakespeare's other tragedies, such as Othello and King Lear, so the action proceeds at an unusually fast pace, particularly during the first act.

Superstition in theatres over the centuries has led to a belief that it is unlucky to say the name of the play out loud. Therefore, quite a lot of actors will refer to Macbeth as 'the Scottish play' or perhaps 'MacB'.

Italian Gardens, 19:45,
Weds 25th July - Sat 4th August (except Sun 29th July)
£13 (concs £10).
Tickets available by calling 01323 412000 or in person at the Eastbourne Theatres Box Office and the Tourist Information Centre. I cannot find any mention of online booking.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Lone Twin Boat (art)

Photo by Toby Adamson
Art with a difference is coming to Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour as the Lone Twin Boat sails in. The boat has been made entirely from wooden objects donated by members of the public, with every donated item being important in some way to the person who gave it. From February to July 2011 people of the South-East donated thousands of wooden items to the project, each one with a story behind it, personal items to pieces of national importance. Now, all the wood has been used to build a state-of-the-art seafaring yacht, a 30 foot vessel named Collective Spirit.

The boat left Thornham Marina in Emsworth on the 7th of May at the beginning of her Maiden Voyage and there are maps & books of her progress to be downloaded on the website. She will arrive in Eastbourne on the 5th July for a 'Make & Mend Day' where the crew can fix whatever needs fixing in preparation for the next legs of their journey. Sovereign Marina is planning to welcome her with harbourside celebration events including chances to meet the crew. 

The Boat Project by Lone Twin is part of Artists Taking the Lead, a series of 12 public art commissions across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The Boat Project is the winning commission for the South East region and is funded by Arts Council England. Following the adventures of its Maiden Voyage, the boat will be gifted back to the region as a permanent resource for the public.

Sovereign Harbour, Thu 5th July, 10:00-17:00.
Free event.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Singin' In The Rain (musical theatre)

The wonderful feel-good musical Singin' In The Rain is coming to Eastbourne this summer in the capable hands of the Rattonians.

Unusually for a musical, Singin' In The Rain began life as a film and was then adapted to the stage. The 1952 film starred Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds and, although now considered to be a masterpiece, it only received a lukewarm reception on its release. Iconic songs by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown include the titular Singing' In The Rain, and also Make 'Em Laugh, Moses Supposes and Good Morning. I was surprised to learn that most of the songs were not written specifically for the film but had been originally used in other MGM musicals of the 1930s, sometimes several times over.

The plotline centres on Don Lockwood, a popular silent movie star. His leading lady, Lina Lamont, is convinced that they are in love despite Don being unable to stand her. When a rival studio has a massive hit with its first talking movie, Don tries to convert his current film, The Duelling Cavalier into a talkie as well. But Lina's speaking voice is terrible and no amount of coaching helps her. Eventually it is decided that Lina's voice should be dubbed and this will be easiest through song. The Duelling Cavalier becomes The Dancing Cavalier and Don's real romance, Kathy Selden, is chosen to provide the singing vocals. Lina is furious but the plan goes ahead and the premiere is a great success.

Congress Theatre, Weds 18th - Sat 28th July (not Sunday), 19:45.
Matinees Thurs 19th, Sat 21st and Sat 28th, 14:30.
Opening Night and Matinees, over 60s and under 16s, £12.50. 
Adult tickets other evenings, £15, £13 .

Monday, 18 June 2012

Beach Hut Courses (art)

Beach Hut Courses began life providing educational courses for art teachers. This is still an important part of their business but they also offer children's holiday clubs with a fun art programme as well as a variety of non-art activities. This Summer holiday, there are three weeks to choose from: the 23rd to the 27th July, the 30th July to the 3rd August and the 6th to the 10th of August.

The 23rd-27th July club will be run by potter Graham Matthews and will be themed around the Bloomsbury set and Charleston inspired pottery. Children can choose to create candlesticks, coiled pots or slipware platters based on Duncan Grant fabric designs, and there wil also be the opportunity to paint a portrait of a clothed model in a Charleston setting.

The 30th July-3rd Aug club will be run by artist Jan Turner and will have an environmental theme. The club will be using materials on the nearby Eastbourne beach to create environmental art through individual expression and team working.

All the clubs are based at St Andrew's School in Meads. They run from 10am until 4pm and cost £30 per day which includes all materials. Bookings can be made for the whole week or individual days, but the club is popular so early booking is advised! As well as the club leader, there will also be a full team of support staff. Non-art activities include games of rounders, football or French cricket, and weather permitting, picnics, beach trips and ice creams. 

Book online through the Beach Hut Courses website:

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Kali & Katie (music)

Photo by @CBugginsphoto
Kalisaya Flynn and Katie Hall are a Brighton-based duo who describe their music as "acoustic folk with a dash of whimsy". Kali plays guitar, Katie plays penny whistle and they have been singing together producing lovely harmonies since they met in 2011. They honed their music at various open mic nights before setting out to perform in the own right as a folk duo.

Their first performance in Eastbourne was at the Under Ground Theatre in July 2012 when they took the second half of the Coffee Morning slot after Gary Davies. I guess they will be onstage around 11am. This was such a success that they have been invited back for a whole morning in 2013, almost exactly a year later on Saturday the 6th of July.

Kali is a prolific songwriter whose compositions are songs that tell stories. 'Paddy McCracken' is the comic tale of a fair maid and her accident-prone suitor, 'Moontide Grooving' is a song about the daughter of a Seaford smuggler, and 'Which Side Of The River' is about reaching a metaphorical crossroads.

The link below will play 'Be Away' which I believe is on Kali and Katie's album of songs, entitled 'Land Ahoy'. The album has been recorded locally, at the ALT Studios in Hove.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 6th July, 10:00 - 12:00.
Free admission.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Murder Mistaken (theatre)

The Devonshire Park Theatre in July is the venue for another murderous thriller. Murder Mistaken is a tense, psychological play set in 1950s England.

The play was written by Janet Green and was made into the 1955 film Cast A Dark Shadow which starred Dirk Bogarde, Mona Washbourne and Margaret Lockwood. Janet Green wrote for several Rank Organisation movies including the original story and screenplay for The Clouded Yellow which was recently screened at the Underground Theatre.

Murder Mistaken is not a who-dunnit, as we know the murderer from almost the beginning of the play, but rather is a exploration of the workings of the killer's mind.
The cold, calculating and yet charming Edward Bare has a passion for older women and especially their money. When his rich wife looks to be outliving her usefulness, Edward hastens her demise, but the reading of her will reveals an unpleasant surprise. Undeterred, Edward marries again, this time to a rich widow. But when a third attractive and wealthy lady arrives on the scene, will Edward revisit his murderous past?

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 10th - Sat 14th July, 19:45.
Wed & Sat matinees, 14:30.
Various prices, see Eastbourne Theatres website for details.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Bohemian Rhapsody (music)

The Congress is the biggest of the Eastbourne Theatres venues, but even so it might not be big enough to contain the spectacular celebration of Freddie Mercury and Queen that is Bohemian Rhapsody!

The cast of 25 performers, including an onstage band, will be led by Jonathan Ansell (G4) and Simon Bowman (Phantom Of The Opera, Miss Saigon) and also includes West End stars such as Sabrina Aloueche, Erin Cornell, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Andrew Derbyshire, Duncan Heather, Lucinda Shaw and Rachael Wooding. The production is not intended to reproduce a Queen gig, so don't go expecting to see Ansell 'being' Freddie Mercury, but will be a Broadway-style show with all of Queen's greatest hits. To give you an idea, the producer, David King, has previously created the Michael Jackson tribute show, Man In The Mirror, and also the amazing Spirit Of The Dance and is apparently the largest employer of dancers in Europe. The cast are currently in rehearsals and are perfecting their performances of Killer Queen, Barcelona, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You and, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody.

The show has a short UK tour taking in only three venues before it moves abroad to Monaco. Eastbourne is the third venue after Newcastle and Killarney so tickets will probably sell fast.

Congress Theatre, Tue 10th - Sat 14th Jul, 19:30.
Thu & Sat matinees, 14:30.
Various prices, see Eastbourne Theatres website for details.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Honeybees - The Musical (musical theatre)

Honeybees the Musical! is being put on as a fundraising event for Allsorts YouthProject, an award-winning Brighton-based charity that supports young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, or unsure of their sexuality. The musical has already been performed in Brighton and has a 'for one night only' in Eastbourne before it goes to London where it will be performed at RADA!

The script is written by Cat Walker and Rebecca Duffy, and the music and lyrics are by Dungareen Jean who has crafted songs from a variety of genres specially for the show. You can expect to hear rock, pop and hip-hop, as well as showstopping numbers such as 'Hockey Horror' sung by Lady Lager.

Follow the adventures of lesbian women's hockey team, the Brighton Honeybees, as they prepare to take on arch rivals the Hove Hornets to win the cup, get the girl and try not to get the wrong end of the stick.

“If you see just one lesbian hockey musical this year - it has to be this one!”

Underground Theatre, Sunday 17th June, 19:30.
£8 (concessions £5). Tickets are available at

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

My Eastbourne Photography Competition (art)

There's is now only one week left to enter the Leaf Hall Arts Festival Photography Competition so get snapping.  
Entries close on the 20th of June!

The competition is being held as part of the two week Arts Festival to raise funds for roof repairs on the iconic building. All entries will be mounted and displayed in Leaf Hall for the duration - Sat 21st of July to the Sat 4th of August. There will also be a preview evening on Fri 20th. The winning photograph will be decided by a public vote and the prize is professional framing of the work. Submitted photographs can also be offered for sale to the public. Their price will be set by the photographer with 20% being donated to Leaf Hall should they sell. All sold (and unsold) works can be collected at the end of the exhibition.

Photographers who want to take part should submit three 8 x 10 inch prints of their work illustrating the competition's theme of My Eastbourne. The entry fee is £5.00 and cheques need to be made payable to 'Leaf Hall Trust'. The postal address for entries is Leaf Hall, 51 Seaside, Eastbourne, BN22 7NB.

Leaf Hall, in Seaside, is a Community Arts Centre, run as a charity by the Leaf Hall Trust. The Trust's aim is to provide the people of Eastbourne with a dedicated space for entertainment, exhibitions, workshops and classes. All areas of the hall are available for hire including two studio spaces, a coffee shop and the main hall.

Leaf Hall, Sat 21th Jul - Sat 4th Aug.
Preview evening, Fri 20th Jul.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Old Hat (music)

Old Hat are a disparate group of jazz musicians all of whom hail from different parts of the UK. They came together while they were all studying at Trinity College of Music in London and discovered a shared passion for vintage jazz. The group includes recent graduates of both Trinity College and the Royal Academy of Music, Yamaha Jazz scholarship recipients, and National Youth Jazz Orchestra alumni.
Their repertoire is focussed on jazz standards from the 1920s and 1930s from such greats as Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines and Jimmie Noone. You can hear their versions of songs such as "Up A Lazy River" and "Limehouse Blues" on their website. Old Hat say that what grabs them about this music is the "beautiful melodies, group improvisation and rapturous rhythm".

Old Hat will be performing for the last Saturday morning Coffee Morning slot of June at the Underground theatre. The band line-up will (probably) be Lizy Exell on drums and Chris Eldred on piano, James Kitchman on guitar and Louis Thomas on bass, William Scott on saxophone and clarinet, Mike Soper on trumpet and Adam Tyas on trombone. 

Underground Theatre, Saturday 30th Jun, 10:00 - 12:00.
Free admission.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Society of Eastbourne Artists (art)

The Society of Eastbourne Artists was founded in 1946 and was originally known as Eastbourne Arts Club. From 12 members at the start, the Society now has over 180 and is the largest Art Society in the Eastbourne area. Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in painting. Current members range from professionals to amateurs, career to leisure painters, experienced artists to beginners. The  Society’s aim is to encourage all those who have an interest in painting, sculpture, or ceramics, and also to promote Eastbourne as a recognised centre for the visual arts. 
Exhibitions of members' work are held annually and give an opportunity to display the Society's talent both to other members and to the general public, with the added potential bonus of sales. Admission is always free although a charitable donation is requested for the catalogue - and without that, visitors will have no idea whose work they are viewing! The art is representative of all the painting media, as well as some mixed media pieces, and covers a wide range of subjects from still life and flora to landscapes and portraiture, to abstract creations. I visited the June exhibition and you can read my blog post about it.

The Society also has monthly meetings which are held at the Lansdowne Hotel on the third Friday of most months. Each month an experienced artist demonstrates the technique of their preferred medium, explaining how they choose to approach their subject and how they develop a painting. The idea behind these demonstrations is to encourage members to experiment with new skills or perhaps revisit existing ones. The meetings are also open to non-members who can pay a very reasonable charge of £3 to sit in.

Monthly Meetings:
Hagop Kasparian - A Townscape in oils, Fri 15th June, 19:30.
Using Oil Pastels by Clive Francis, Fri 20th July, 19:30.
Sharon Hurst - Fantasy Faces, Fri 21st September, 19:30.
Leonora Huchin Memorial Talk: Vincent's Friend Paul Gauguin by Professor Antony Slinn, Fri 19th Oct, 19:30.
Using Interactive Acrylics, Fri 16th November, 19:30.

Autumn Exhibition, Sat 29th & Sun 30th September, 10:00-18:00.
Free admission.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Dangerous Obsession (theatre)

The third and final play of the Devonshire Park's Thriller Season is the nail-biting Dangerous Obsession.

Written by N J Crisp, the play premiered in Bromley in 1987. It was also made into a film titled Darkness Falls which starred Ray Winstone and Sherilyn Fenn. However, Crisp was so upset by the end result that he insisted on having his name removed from the credits.

The intricate plot begins with Sally Driscoll (Anna Brecon - Emmerdale). She is alone in her elegant conservatory, blissfully unaware of a man intently watching her through the glass. When the man, John Barrett, does come to the door of the house, he claims to have met Sally before and certainly does know a lot about her, but she cannot remember him at all. Then her husband Mark returns home and it seems, to Sally's relief, as though he is the one that the dull stranger has really been hoping to meet up with. But while the Driscolls hint that the man should be leaving them, he shows no signs of wanting to depart.

Also stars George Telfer and Ben Roddy.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tues 19th - Sat 23rd June, 19:45.
Weds & Sat matinees, 14:30.
Various prices. 
Online booking at or visit the Tourist Information Centre in Cornfield Road.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

African Cats (film)

African Cats is essentially a nature documentary but one that has been tightly edited in such a way as to make it feel more like a story-based film. It was filmed on the Maasai Mara nature reserve in Kenya where a cheetah who has been named Sita, and a lioness who has been named Laila, are trying to raise their cubs and teach them skills essential for their survival.

The film was written by Keith Scholey who also directs alongside Alastair Fothergill. It is beautifully shot with stunning scenery and cinematography. However, this is a Disney production intended for a predominantly younger audience so, while we do get to see chases and hunting, any killing scenes are cut before they get too graphic. Samuel L Jackson does an excellent job of the narration, 'humanising' the animals enough to get viewers rooting for them to succeed in their struggle against their environment.

Some of the proceeds from African Cats are being donated to the African Wildlife Foundation, an American charity which is attempting to preserve Kenya's Amboseli Wildlife Corridor.

Hailsham Pavilion, £6.50 (£5.00 concs).
Thu 28th June, 14:15, 19:45.
Sat 30th June, 11:00, 14:15.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Lord Denis Healey Photographic Exhibition (art)

This exhibition at the Coach House Gallery in Alfriston is entitled People And Places. It spans 50 years of Lord Denis Healey's photographs and memoirs and is being staged to raise money for The Chaseley Trust, an Eastbourne charity and nursing home which provides specialist care for people with disabilities. The exhibition has been partly curated by Seaford Photographic Society.

The photographs have been selected to illustrate Lord Healey's extensive travels abroad and his beloved Sussex home. He has always been an intrepid traveller, both as a requirement of his long political career and as a private person. His love of the arts extends beyond his photography to include painting, theatre and music. His work is characterised by a real sense of atmosphere and his ability to put others at their ease, capturing natural moments in the lives of the people he meets.

The Coach House Gallery itself is a new contemporary arts venue located in the beautiful village of Alfriston in the South Downs National Park. It is open from 11:00 to 17:00, Wednesdays to Sundays, and has frequently changing exhibitions of local artists' works in various media from paintings to rugmaking. Lindsay Santolini will also be exhibiting photographs in the Side Gallery during the same period as People And Places is occupying the Main Gallery.

People And Places runs from the 4th to the 28th of June and Lord Healey will be present at the gallery to talk about his photographs from 14:00 until 16:00 on Sunday the 10th, Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 24th of June. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Amy Winehouse Tribute (music)

'Amy Winehouse' will be joining the line-up for the ever popular Tribute Concerts at the Eastbourne Bandstand this summer when Laura Jane Butler takes to the Bandstand stage.

Laura Jane has worked as a Cher tribute for the past twelve years but frequent comments on her similarity to Amy encouraged Laura Jane to start her My Winehouse tribute in 2007. She shares Amy's soulful voice with its distinctive husky rasp, and manages to perfectly capture the tragic singer's quirky style and attitude.

LJB: I was told how much I look like her as soon as she released her first song so I learnt the album Back to Black, I just knew she was gonna be a huge first my agent at that time  said it would never take off, 4 months later I was their busiest act.

The two women also share the same East End roots with similar traditional family backgrounds.

LJB: I am a Jewish girl from London with a very similar family traditional background. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, tailors, market traders  its what they all did in the East End....back in the day...

The tribute act has gone from strength to strength in only a few years with The Stage declaring My Winehouse to be one of their top ten tribute shows in 2009. The concert will include great songs from both the platinum-selling albums, Frank and Back To Black, as well as other songs that Amy chose to perform during live gigs. Laura Jane puts this success down to the great inspiration that she is able to take from Amy's music.

LJB: Not only do I love her music especially the jazz side of her, I love her and felt her troubles as I had similar issues as a teenager [and] 20 + year old, but thank G-d not as serious.  I am older (not telling) and have got through the other side and thanks to Amy's music she gave me strength and confidence in her songs, and helped me pay for better things i.e. my van, my PA, better bigger costumes for Cher. I owe my Career to her. My passion is huge for her and I hope to keep her music and spirit alive.

Eastbourne Bandstand, Fri 19th July, 20:00.
Adults: £7.50, Children: £5.25 (or £1.50/£1 more each if you risk waiting to buy 'on the door')

Tickets are available online at
from the Seafront Office, 
or by telephone on 01323 410611.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Alan Barnes Quartet (music)

Saxophonist Alan Barnes will make a welcome return to the Underground Theatre in June with his quartet which features Robin Aspland on piano, Mark Hodgson on bass and Paul Clarvis on drums.

Originally studying saxophone, woodwinds and arranging at Leeds College of Music in the late 1970s, Alan has worked continuously since then and has enjoyed a prolific career working with a great variety of musicians, both on the jazz scene and with household names such as Bjork, Van Morrison and Westlife. He has toured around the world from New York to Tokyo including American and European tours in Bryan Ferry's band and a solo stay in South Africa. You might even have spotted him in the Laurie Holloway orchestra playing for the early series' of Strictly Come Dancing! 

Over the years Alan has also won many British Jazz awards in alto, baritone, clarinet and arranging categories. In 2001 and 2006 he received the prestigious BBC Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year award and in November 2003 he was made a fellow of the Leeds College of Music.

The Underground club evening will include the Quartet's versions of modern compositions by Thelonius Monk and Cedar Walton as well as classic standards from Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges and no doubt a fair bit of laughter courtesy of Alan's laconic wit!

Underground Theatre, Friday 22nd June, 20:00.
£11 (UGT members/students £10) 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sally Dunham (sculptor)

Last week I  blogged about Hilary Bravo and the gorgeous handmade pendants of hers that I had spotted in the Henry Paddon Gallery on South Street. Now, while not wanting to show too much favouritism (other galleries are available!), on the same visit I was also very impressed by the sculptures of Sally Dunham.

Sally works entirely in clay, using a mixture of Earthstone and Porcelain, and each of her sculptures is painstakingly crafted by piecing together small slabs of clay, almost like making a patchwork quilt. She doesn't use any supports or moulds so you can imagine how long something as detailed as the Lady must take to complete.

Storm In A Teacup
She was introduced to clay modelling at Sixth Form College in Cambridge and began to develop her distinctive style during her degree course at the University of Wolverhampton. Sally has now been in business for fourteen years, exhibits in several galleries and has a loyal following of collectors. Her studio is in her home town of Soham where she enjoys creating new sculptures of people, animals and Mister Herbert (more about him in a moment). She says the only real constraint on her work is finding enough time to produce all the ideas she has as "I am constantly inspired by the world around me, things I see and people I meet!"

Take Me On A Journey
I particularly liked the 'A Moment With Mister Herbert' sculptures because, although the figures are quite simplistic, they communicate such amazingly clear emotion. It feels as if I know exactly what each one is thinking. Plus, there is a whimsical and surreal element to the character which is very entertaining. Mister Herbert began his adventures in July 2010 and was named by Sally's five-year-old son. In the first one I saw he is lying on his back, fast asleep with a book over his face. This completely reminded me of my boyfriend's ideal Summer afternoon! 
If you have your own idea for a situation or hobby for a Mister Herbert, Sally will be happy to take your commissions.

The Henry Paddon Gallery is at 113 South Street. 
Open from 10:00 to 17:30, Tuesday to Saturday.

Monday, 4 June 2012

My Gay Best Friend (theatre)

'For one night only', My Gay Best Friend is coming to the Underground Theatre in February. The new play, written by Nigel Fairs, was well-received at last year's Brighton Fringe where it sold out all its performances Upstairs at Three And Ten and it has also been performed at the Lamb Theatre in Eastbourne. The performance is on the 14th, Valentine's Day, so could be a welcome antidote to excess soppiness!

The two hander stars Louise Jameson (Doc Martin, Doctor Who) as Rachel and Nigel as the eponymous Gay Best Friend, Gavin. You might have seen him in the darker play In Conversation With An Acid-Bath Murderer, also at the Underground, or more recently seen the results of his directorship with the wonderful Secret Honour.

Rachel is a brassy, bolshy fifty-something would-be diva who is about to make her triumphant stage debut and escape her day job at Boots. But tragedy strikes in the form (or rather the absence) of her friend, Gavin who has not turned up to support the most important karaoke performance of Rachel's life. Gavin does have a good reason - he is sitting in a walk-in wardrobe in Hurstpierpoint about to father a child for two lesbians! Meanwhile, the furious Rachel has locked herself in the Ladies.

Louise thinks that the character is fun to play because she doesn't hold back. “I adore Rachel. She’s funny, she’s feisty, she’s troubled and in many ways she’s everything I’d like to be. She says it like it is, takes no nonsense and she’s incredibly rude!"

Although, on the surface, the play appears to be a light comedy, it becomes darker as it draws the audience in. Louise says “It is a frivolous, camp comedy in many respects but it’s quite profound as well. It helps us understand the value of friendship, of loving someone warts and all, of knowing their dark side and accepting it.”

Contains strong language and adult humour.

Underground Theatre, Thu 14th Feb, 19:00.
Tickets £10, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Underground Theatre and the Tourist Information Office.