Monday, 30 December 2013

Coriolanus (theatre)

One of my favourite authors has a role in the NTlive production of Coriolanus at the end of January. Mark Gatiss, who wrote the fun Lucifer Box adventures that started with The Vesuvius Club, will be Menenius alongside Tom Hiddleston who takes the title role. The Shakespeare play is a Donmar Warehouse production, broadcast from their Covent Garden theatre and directed by their Artistic Director, Josie Rourke.

Shakespeare is believed to have written Coriolanus around 1608 and the basis of the storyline is the biography of legendary Roman general Gaius Marcius as written by Plutarch in his The Lives Of The Noble Grecians and Romans. His legend suggests that his got his 'nickname' of Coriolanus by fighting with exceptional courage at a siege of the city of Corioli. However current historians doubt whether the man himself really existed.

When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender, Coriolanus. But he has enemies at home too. Famine threatens the city, the citizens’ hunger swells to an appetite for change, and on returning from the field Coriolanus must confront the march of realpolitik and the voice of an angry people.

Cineworld, Thu 30th Jan, 19:00.
Tickets £12.78 adults, £10.89 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

La Vie d'Adele (film)

We're still at Hailsham Pavilion for today's blog post where, following the week of the Jack And The Beanstalk pantomime, there will be two nights of screenings for the French film, Blue Is the Warmest Colour (La vie d'Adèle).

Definitely one for an adult audience, the film has an 18 certificate and stars Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Salim Kechiouche. It is based on a graphic novel by Julie Maroh and both the female stars and the director, Abdellatif Kechiche, are being highly praised for the work, all three having received the Palme d'Or award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Adele's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself, finds herself.

Hailsham Pavilion, Mon 27th and Tue 28th Jan, 19:15.
Tickets £6.50 adults, £5.00 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person from the Box Office.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Jack And The Beanstalk (theatre)

Hailsham Theatres promise us all a GIANT of a pantomime this January when they present their
 production of the perennial favourite, Jack and the Beanstalk at Hailsham Pavilion. The script is by Ben Crocker and the show is directed by Roy Langstaffe. I went to last year's production of Alice In Wonderland which had a wonderful family atmosphere in a practically sold out Pavilion!

Follow the tale of poor young Jack, sent to market by his mother to sell the family's treasured cow. Little does he know that swapping dear Daisy for a bag of magic beans will lead to an adventure he will never forget! Cheer Jack along as he outwits the evil Giant and his creepy henchman Fleshcreep. This hilarious pantomime will have your friends and family STALKING about it all the way home!

Hailsham Pavilion, Mon 20th to Sun 26th Jan, various times including Saturday and Sunday daytime performances.
Tickets £8.50 adults, £5.50 concessions, available via Hailsham Pavilion online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person when the box office is open.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Giselle (ballet)

According to The Royal Ballet, their next production, Giselle, is "the greatest of all Romantic ballets". A sweeping claim indeed but I'm sure they know what they're talking about! The ballet is a classic tale of betrayal, supernatural spirits and love that transcends death.

The production has been created by Peter Wright incorporating Marius Petipa's original choreography, and Boris Gruzin will conduct the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Carlos Acosta, whose work I recently saw as he choreographed Don Quixote in October, will star as Albrecht alongside Natalia Osipova as the eponymous Giselle.

In medieval Germany, a beautiful young peasant girl, Giselle, falls in love with a nobleman, Albrecht, but he has disguised himself as a humble villager. Giselle believes this disguise and is happy to be with him despite the warnings of her mother and friends. However, when a hunting party arrives in the village, Albrecht's true identity is revealed to the shock of all present. Giselle is distraught at her lover's deception. Her weak heart gives out and she dies of grief. Later she is roused from her grave by spirits of jilted women who invite her to join them. They find Albrecht and force him to dance until he is almost dead from exhaustion. Now having forgiven him his deception, Giselle's love overcomes the magic of the spirits just in time. Albrecht's life is spared but Giselle must return to her grave leaving him heartbroken and alone.

Cineworld, Mon 27th Jan, 19:15pm.
Tickets £17.90 adults, £14.20 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Cashier (film)

Hot on the heels of Hailsham's The Moo Man, another local film has its Eastbourne premiere
towards the end of January. The Cashier is a wry and touching look at the life of a cashier with ambitious dreams. It was shot entirely on location in Eastbourne on a shoe string budget using DSLR cameras and utilising local talent. The premiere will be at the Birley Centre on the evening of the 25th of January, but if you can't make that date, there is also another screening at Shoreham's Ropetackle Arts Centre on the 29th of January.

The Cashier was written, produced, edited and directed by Radley Mason (The History Boys) who also stars. It co-stars Holly Lindfield (Blackbird, The Wife The Mistress The Chair), Steve Scott (Secret Honour), Allen Young, Emma Pierssene (Everything Between Us), Mike Keegan (Our Country's Good) and Nelson E Ward. Director of photography is Chris Buggins and original music has been composed by James Bennett. The film has a 15 certificate.

After studying acting at university for three years, a job as a cashier was hardly what Jeremy had in mind. The job is dull, the pay is awful and the customers are mental. Can he escape and pursue his dreams or will he end up like Rob, blowing his wages down The Crown every week?

The Cashier, The Birley Centre, 25th Jan, 19.00.
Tickets £7, available on the door.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all Theatrical Eastbourne readers a very Merry Christmas!

Hopefully many of you went to the Redoubt Fortress for the Eastbourne Silver Band concert this morning? If you missed it, the Ray Campbell Dance Band will be there tomorrow and also on New Year's Day for more festive entertainment. Both free concerts are from 11am to 12.30 and are the traditional annual ones, just temporarily moved from the Bandstand due to the renovation works.

In the meantime, as you wait for your Christmas lunch, please enjoy this fun song by
Helen Arney. There is a tenuous Eastbourne connection - she played upstairs at The Lamb a few years ago. Perhaps if enough people go dashing off to her Bandcamp page today, she might come back again!  

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Pentacle Drummers' Wassail

Photo by Graham Huntley
Time for just this one more post before You Know What takes up everyone's attention tomorrow! But, before you all go frantically dashing round for the last few hours of shopping time (and please, just because the shop offers to wrap it for you, doesn't mean that you've found the perfect present!) read on to discover the fantastic mystical evening that will be the Pentacle Drummers' second Annual Wassail.

The first Wassail was held in January 2013 and was amazingly well-attended. The indoor space provided at Stone Cross Nurseries was jam-packed and the sound of the Pentacle Drummers in the room was totally breathtaking. The 2014 Wassail promises an evening of ceremony, drumming, dancing and friendship. The Drummers will wassail their very own orchard, planted last year amongst much merriment and magic...and snow! Alongside Rochester's Steam Punk Morris and the Tribal Unity bellydance group, there will be FREE bouncy castle to keep the kids entertained. There will be a raffle with the star prize being a two night stay at The Covenstead. Plus the announced headline act is the magnificent ROxIRcLE.

Pentacle Drummers reserve the right to refuse entry. They politely ask that you do not bring your own your own food or alcohol ... plenty will be provided.

Stone Cross Nurseries, Sat 18th Jan, 18:30-23:00.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Neal Richardson Quartet (music)

Neal Richardson has appeared at the Under Ground Theatre many times as pianist in the
Neal Richardson
Sue Richardson band, but in the middle of January, he will be performing in his own name together with guitarist Andy Drudy, Alex Eberhard on drums and bassist Andy Hamill. 

Neal has just released a new album entitled Better Than the Blues and featuring his quartet plus a number of guest musicians. The album's London launch date and a series of UK concerts will follow the Under Ground gig so this audience can proudly state that they heard material from the album before pretty much anyone else! Neal will also be featuring some of his favourite standards, so the evening will have a programme with wide appeal that should offer something for everyone.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 17th Jan, 20:00.
Tickets £11 (UGT members/students £10), available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from the Under Ground Theatre and Eastbourne Tourist Information Office.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Devonshire Park Theatre (architecture)

The Devonshire Park Theatre is probably my favourite building in the whole of Eastbourne, partly due to its quirky facade and partly due to the many hours I have spent there enjoying fabulous theatre. 

It was originally designed by Henry Currey who was employed by the 7th Duke of Devonshire. Currey also designed the original College House for Eastbourne College, their Chapel and their Library, the Winter Garden and Pavilion, St Peter's church which is no longer in the Meads, and the Queen's Hotel on Marine Parade. So his influence is visible all across the older part of town and apparently lots of the windows and gables in Lower Meads reflect Currey's architectural style. 

The Devonshire Park Theatre was first built in 1884 and was further improved in 1903 by Frank Matcham, a famous theatre architect. It closed for three months and re-opened to much acclaim having been beautifully recreated, redecorated, refurnished. Amongst other buildings, Matcham designed Blackpool Tower Ballroom and Opera House, the beautiful County Arcade in Leeds, Buxton Opera House and the Hippodromes in London and Bristol. In 1884, the theatre could seat 955 persons, now it is 936 and, occasionally, if you are very lucky (this is sarcasm!), you might attend a performance where every seat is sold! It makes for a fabulous atmosphere. 

For those interested in a detailed history of this wonderful building and the shows it has housed, Friend of the Devonshire Park Theatre, Edward Thomas, has written a book entitled Playhouse on the Park. You can buy a new copy from the kiosk in the foyer or second-hand via It would make a good Christmas present for a theatre enthusiast!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Jewels (ballet)

A different kind of ballet from the Bolshoi will be screened at Cineworld mid-January. George Balanchine was inspired by the artistry of jewellers Van Cleef and Arpels in the creation of Jewels, a unique full-length three-act abstract ballet which was first performed in 1967 by the New York City Ballet. Each of the three acts is inspired by a different precious stone and uses the music of a different composer to put across Balanchine's vision of them. Emeralds (36 minutes), set to music by Fauré, is infused with a dreamy French romanticism. The fiery Rubies (24 minutes) fizzes with the energy and exuberance of jazz-age New York in its setting of ebullient Stravinsky. Diamonds (33 minutes) uses music from Tchaikovsky's Third Symphony to evoke the high classicism of Imperial Russia.

The Bolshoi production uses new set and costume designs by Alyona Pikalova and Elena Zaitseva respectively, each of whom have incorporated designs from Van Cleef and Arpels in homage to Balanchine's original production.

Cineworld, Sun 19th Jan 2014, 15:00.
Tickets £17.90, £14.20 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Ric Sanders Trio (music)

Upstairs at The Lamb in Eastbourne's Old Town is the place to be on the 18th of January when local promoter Spyboy is putting on a great jazzy folky gig!

Ric Sanders, the wonderfully talented fiddle player with folk-rock legends Fairport Convention, is to be joined by Vo Fletcher on guitars and Mike Gregory who currently sits on the stool with the mighty John Tams band, Home Service, on drums and percussion. Together the trio cross boundaries and defy categorisation, with a blend of original compositions and folk tunes, with some drastically re-worked Fairport tunes in the mix as well. A typical performance also showcases works by jazz and fusion giants like Stephan Grappelli, John McLaughlin and Miles Davis combined with The Beatles, Hendrix, Brian Wilson and Stevie Wonder.... and that is only half of it!

Upstairs at The Lamb, Sat 18th Jan, 19:30.
Tickets £17.50, available ONLY by calling 01323 841414.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Keith Willson (music)

The fourth Songwriters' Circle afternoon will be taking place at the Under Ground Theatre in the new year with its trio of performers including a man with the most fantastic blues voice, Keith Willson. I've enjoyed hearing Keith's playing and powerful singing at both the Six Bells Folk and Blues Club and White Horse Folk and he is a regular and enthusiastic participant at several local clubs and open mike sessions. He has performed as a solo singer/guitarist in bands ranging from Swing to Electric Blues since the early 1970s and has developed his own very unique style. I've learned from the Under Ground website that he has also recently written and recorded two CDs of original material which draw on his many influences and experiences.

Keith will be joined for the Songwriters Circle by Mark Taylor and Greg Harper.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 4th Jan, 13.30-15.30.
Free admission.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

It's A Wonderful Life (film)

Another thing that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without is the classic 1946 film It's A
Wonderful Life. I'm not sure if the following is true or if it's actually an urban myth, but apparently the reason the film is now considered such a seasonal staple is because during the 1970s, its screening royalties were ridiculously low. Therefore many TV channels could show it cheaply leading to a whole new generation and their families discovering the film. It has a U certificate and runs for a little over two hours.

For Christmas 2013, Cineworld have chosen It's A Wonderful Life as one of their Take 2 Thursday films and it has two screenings THIS THURSDAY. Directed by Frank Capra, James Stewart stars as George Bailey, a man who wants to end it all until a guardian angel named Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers) is sent to help him. Through a series of beautifully-constructed flashbacks, Clarence shows George how his life of selfless good deeds has actually made an amazing difference to his family, his friends and to the entire town.

Cineworld, Thu 19th Dec, 12.15 and 19.15.
Tickets various prices including the Take 2 Thursday deal, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, and in person from the foyer.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Brendan Cole: Licence To Thrill (dance)

Brendan Cole's theatre tour Licence To Thrill was so popular in 2013 that it is returning for 2014. Hosted by Brendan himself, the two-hour dance spectacular, with its 14 piece orchestra and international dance cast promises audiences a night of Ballroom and Latin Magic.

Some of Britain's best musicians will be led by MD Barry Robinson with vocalists Julie Maguire and Iain Mackenzie. Music has been chosen from across the ages to suit each dance and there will be a sprinkling of Bond themes too - hence the show's title. The dancers are Brendan Cole (obviously!), Fauve Hautot, Patrick Helm, Melanie Hooper, Scott Cole and Crystal Main. All of Strictly Come Dancing's favourite dances are included so we can expect elegant waltzes and foxtrots, showy quicksteps, tangos and American smooths, and the party atmosphere of the Latin dances - the cha cha, samba, salsa and jive. 

Congress Theatre, Thu 16th Jan, 19:30.
Tickets £29.50, £33, £35, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Andy and Marilyn (music)

I've seen Marilyn performing at the Six Bells Folk and Blues Club and White Horse Folk on several occasions, sometimes solo, sometimes in a duo. She has a warm, melodic style and I have enjoyed her original songs as well as the tunes she chooses to cover. Together with Andy, she will be playing the Coffee Morning slot at the Under Ground Theatre on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year. Don't let seasonal lethargy keep you away!

This is the first time that Andy and Marilyn, from Crowborough, have played the whole morning, but they have appeared at the Under Ground Theatre before - as part of the “Fifty Years On” shows, looking back to the 1960s. The duo have been singing together for more than ten years throughout East Sussex. Their sound is based around Marilyn’s wonderfully warm voice and Andy’s driving twelve-string guitar, but they have added keyboard, mandolin, harmonica and percussion. They create beautiful harmonies and as a duo they complement each other to perfection. Favourite songs are by the likes of the Seekers, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Nanci Griffith, and Kate Rusby. But you’re just as likely to find yourself listening to a reworked traditional song, or a delightful original that you’ve never heard before!

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 28th Dec, 10:00-12:00.
Free admission.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Circus Of Horrors

Much as I like circus and especially enjoyed the fabulous NoFit State Circus in Bristol back in June, I am not sure whether I am too squeamish for the Circus Of Horrors. Founded at Glastonbury eighteen years ago in 1995, the Circus has been described as "bloodthirsty and burlesque", "Rocky Horror on acid", and as if "Quentin Tarantino had directed Cirque Du Soleil". I've put a YouTube clip of what could be shown on Britain's Got Talent at the end of this post - the stage show is much darker!

The new sensational show for this tour is inspired by the legendary and sinister lost movie ‘London after Midnight’. The audience is taken on a whirlwind journey though plague ridden 1660s London, witnessing five murders with each one becoming more horrific. The story intertwines with some of the most daring, bizarre and beautiful circus acts on earth. From sword swallowers to dare-devil balancing acts, hair hangers to demon dwarfs, a pickled person to astounding aerial feats, all performed with a forked tongue firmly in each cheek by an almighty cast led by the devil driven rock n’ roll of Dr Haze and The Interceptors from Hell. .

"The Circus of Horrors contains some nudity and language of a adult nature, it is not suitable for children, people of a nervous disposition, chavs and sissies. This show contains nuts!!"

Congress Theatre, Wed 15th Jan, 19:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Box Office and Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Beauty And The Beast (theatre)

The next show to be performed by Seaford Musical Theatre is to be the traditional pantomime, Beauty And The Beast which will take place over two weekends in January - 10th to 12th and the 17th to 19th.

SMT have chosen one of the popular Alan Frayn scripts which has a great emphasis on comedy. Many new twists are turned along the way ensuring a hilarious and action-packed adventure while some imaginative new characters provide a refreshing difference. Tony Betts will be directing with Shar Turnbull as Co-Director. Russell Taylor is MD and Stuart Hall is the choreographer.

A Prince (Shana Edwards) is cursed by Belladonna (Sue James) a wicked enchantress he unwittingly rejected. Belladonna turns him into a hideous Beast (David Foster) and the only way the Prince can be released is to love and be loved in return. The Beast falls in love with the beautiful young Belle (Kate Horscraft) who is trying to avoid the attentions of Gustave (Julie Terry). But will Belle see beyond the Beast's enchantment in time to save him?

Friday 10th January 7.30pm
Saturday 11th January 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 12th January 2.30pm
Friday 17th January 7.30pm
Saturday 18th January 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 19th January 2.30pm.

Tickets, Adults £10 Children £7.
Available online or in person from Seaford Tourist Information, 37 Church Street Seaford.

Friday, 13 December 2013

42nd Street (film)

One of the most famous film musicals is to be the classic Sunday matinee screening at the Under Ground Theatre in the middle of January. Dr Niall Richardson, Convenor of MA Gender and Media, School Of Media, Film and Music at University of Sussex will introduce the film. 42nd Street was made in Hollywood 1933 and contains choreography by the great Busby Berkeley. It set the standard for many of the musicals that followed it and is still influential today.

Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter), a successful Broadway director, produces a new show, in spite of his poor health. The money comes from a rich older man, who is in love with the star of the show, Dorothy Brock. However, Dorothy (Bebe Daniels) doesn’t respond to his love, because she’s still in love with her old partner. On the night before the premiere, Dorothy breaks her ankle, and Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler), one of the chorus girls, tries to take over Dorothy’s part.

Under Ground Theatre, Sun 12th Jan, 14.30.
Tickets £6.5- to include tea and cakes after the film, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person from Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre and the Under Ground Theatre.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Equatorial Group (music)

Another Facebook find on today's blog, courtesy of the lovely Jim Tipler of The Cajun Dawgs. Ages ago he shared a ReverbNation song called Lights Shine which I set to play whilst doing something else. The gorgeous instrumentation soon caught my attention properly, even despite the 'best' efforts of these tinny laptop speakers! I've been keeping an eye open for The Equatorial Group to be gigging locally but hadn't managed to spot anything since September in Seaford so I thought I'd just blog about them anyway!

The Equatorial Group are based in Eastbourne and are Helen Weeks, Teresa Goss, Andy Tourle, Bradford Gross and Dave Davies. I think they formed around April of last year and I love their description of their music: "late-night, languid americana that would soothe the heart of the devil himself." If you are as intrigued as I was, there are several songs on their ReverbNation page, plus this video that hopefully has embedded itself properly ...

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Paul Jones and Dave Kelly (music)

Paul Jones and Dave Kelly, the long standing co-vocalists with The Blues Band take things down a level, simplify the music and get ready to give us a rootsy and exhilarating set of Country Blues at Hailsham Pavilion on the 11th of January. The concert is a Spyboy promotion.

Paul Jones career began with Manfred Mann in the 1960's and today, along with his live work with The Blues Band and The Manfreds, he also presents BBC Radio 2's Rhythm and Blues show, and his Jazz FM programmes. Dave Kelly followed his very talented sister, Jo Ann, into the world of professional music in 1966. He was soon to cross paths with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Son House and Buddy Guy to name but a few; ultimately Dave has played with them all and has toured with Wolf and Hooker.

Hailsham Pavilion, Sun 11th Jan, 19:30.
Tickets £20, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person from the Box Office.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Neil Bousfield (art)

Big Boy II
by Neil Bousfield
The lovely Emma Mason Gallery on Cornfield Terrace recently added beautiful prints by Neil Bousfield to their website and gallery. Many are reduction engravings and so no block remains once the edition is printed and complete. I have really gotten into printed art over the last few months, since seeing the Eric Slater ones at the Towner I suppose, and enjoy keeping an eye out for new artists in this medium to discover! I was attracted to Neil Bousfield's work by the intricacy of some of his images. One of his favourite themes is whippet dogs, so it you're needing a last-minute doggy Christmas present, this might be worth a look!
"Neil Bousfield studied MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking at the University of West England, Bristol, awarded distinction in 2007 and later took a Post-Graduate Certificate at University of the Arts, London. He worked for some years as a freelance animator and in 2003 became interested in printmaking whilst working for a charity for excluded teenagers. This led to further teaching posts and Neil is currently a full-time lecturer in Illustration at Norwich University of the Arts. In 2009 he was elected a member of The Society of Wood Engravers.In summer 2013 Neil had two prints selected for the Royal Academy summer show and both editions sold out during the exhibition."
Emma Mason Gallery, Thu, Fri and Sat, 10:00-17:00.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Shadows On The Downs by Pam Hughes (book)

I bought this slim volume of poetry at the Towner Gallery last summer during the Harold Mockford exhibition. This was before the time of my Towner Membership card so I would have had to pay to go into the exhibition and I remember that the book was about the same price. Cheekily perhaps, I got the book instead on the theory that I can look at it whenever I want whereas once the exhibition had finished, it was gone forever. So as I didn't see it myself, if you want to know more, this link takes you to Under The Bookshelf, another blogger who did!

Shadows on the Downs is a celebration of the poetry of Pam Hughes and the painting of Harold Mockford, both of whom live in Seaford and are devout Quakers. The book was originally published in 2008 to coincide with an exhibition of the same name at the Hop Gallery in Lewes. The pairing of Hughes and Mockford produces some interesting results through the book and I like the way the poems and paintings complement each other. I believe that all existed in their own right before the project so it would be coincidental that Song Of A Refugee is so perfectly illustrated by The Visitor and Baked Beans by Miss Andrews.

I find the poetry interesting in that some poems I can completely identify with whereas others I don't think I understand at all. Please Do Not Place Things On This Altar expressing my feelings on visiting churches as an outsider. I appreciate the architecture but with obviously only very limited knowledge of the religion itself. The award winning Jawbation is for me the standout poem, written in Sussex dialect and telling of a family reduced to debtors when their hen stops laying eggs. I also particularly like Seaford Lament, a short-lined description of little people in a huge natural world, and Whispers which is a wonderful piece about thoughts while walking on the Downs.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sonya Tatham and Susan Gregory (art)

by Sonya Tatham
I've blogged about Sonya Tatham before and have chosen to illustrate this post with my favourite of her paintings - Honesty. This month, Art Under Ground is delighted to host a joint exhibition for two artists – Sonya Tatham and Susan Gregory. Susan and Sonya are friends who offer interestingly different takes on painting. Both have been studying art since they were at school.

Susan is captivated by colour and inspired by shape. Largely she paints in watercolour with the occasional foray into acrylic; her paintings are unusual and imaginative. Susan admires artists such as: Van Gogh, Henry Moore, Ivon Hitchens and Philip Hughes. Always at her side wherever she goes is a sketch book; the contents of which provide a visual diary of her travels as well as being works of art in their own right.

Sonya seeks always to capture the essence of her subject matter; whether that be landscape or from life. The South Downs, on the edge of where she lives, excite her with their ever changing atmosphere and light. Her work documents the seasons and her surroundings. To Sonya, the process of painting has a spiritual overlay. Painters she admires include: Gustav Klimt, Franz Marc, Ann Blockley and Cecil Rice.

Under Ground Theatre, Fridays and Saturdays, 6th Dec to 28th Dec, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission.
The art is also on show to patrons during any Under Ground Theatre event.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Bob Taylor and Adela Ryle (music)

In the frantic run-up to Christmas, an oasis of calm is provided in Eastbourne town centre on the morning of Saturday 21st December. That’s when guitar/vocal duo Bob and Adela are returning to the Under Ground Theatre, to perform at its weekly coffee morning from 10am until noon. I'm sure I've seen Bob Taylor play before but am struggling to remember exactly where - I think it was White Horse Folk.

Bob and Adela’s repertoire includes exciting versions of old favourites such as “My Funny Valentine”, “Cry Me a River”, and “Fever”. But this year they have also been working on a CD that will bring their own compositions to a wider audience. Hence, their show at the UGT is likely to include songs by Bob such as “Home at Last”, about a passionate clandestine love affair, and “Missing You”, about the pain of a broken heart. Originals by Adela that you can expect to hear include “Simple Song”, which is about a long-distance relationship and was written at 3am after a late-night phone call, and “Before The Morning”, another composition from the wee small hours, written during a storm when she was spending a summer living in a hut in someone’s garden by the sea.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 21st Dec, 10:00-12:00.
Free admission.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Eastbourne Bandstand (architecture)

Eastbourne Promenade at Dusk 
by Paul Liddiard
It occurred to me while I was in Porto a while ago that one of the main reasons I love taking city breaks is seeing the fantastic architecture that is on show for free all over Europe. Yet I rarely mention local architecture on this blog. Perhaps seeing the buildings so often leads me to take them for granted. So today is the first of what will be a few occasional posts about local buildings that have caught my eye - for good reason or, in a few cases, for bad.

Eastbourne Pier is often the most memorable image of the town for visitors but, for me, the art deco Bandstand is the highlight of the seafront. It was surrounded by scaffolding last winter as emergency work took place to support the roof and it was amazing to be able to catch glimpses of the scarily rusted metalwork under the painted and tiled facades. The Bandstand will be closed throughout the winter for extensive restoration work meaning that the traditional Christmas and New Year concerts will be at the Redoubt this year. The Bandstand is due to reopen next Easter though.It can seat 1600 on three tiered levels and has been used as a filming location for a variety of programmes and films - Foyle's War, Little Britain, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging and, of course, the recent episodes of Antiques Roadshow.

Eastbourne Bandstand is unique in the UK. It was built in 1935 with the first concerts at the end of the July beginning its strong tradition of open-air music on the seafront. There are currently around 150 concerts a year at the venue. It can seat 1600 on three tiered levels and has been used as a filming location for a variety of programmes and films - Foyle's War, Little Britain, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging and, of course, the recent episodes of Antiques Roadshow. I discovered via the Local History Society that the first Bandstand in Eastbourne, called the Birdcage, was built for £300 in 1893. The current Bandstand was somewhat more expensive at £29,000, although that still sounds cheap by today's prices. The gorgeous blue tiled roof is visible right along the front and I love the geometric designs around the inner walls. I'm so glad that this beautiful building is to be restored sympathetically and look forward to visiting again during the 2014 season.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Eastbourne Group of Artists exhibition

The Eastbourne Group of Artists have returned to the Birley Centre for a month to showcase their latest creations in a mixed media art exhibition. All the work on show is for sale and there is a great variety including colourful paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture. There's only ten days left now but why not pop along to see if you can find that difficult Christmas present!

All the artists creatively approach and challenge traditional subjects – landscapes, life-studies, still-lifes, portraits, abstracts – with fresh interpretations and themes through colour, form and texture in a variety of media and printing formats. Group members and invited guests show their work individually at commercial galleries, art fairs and events throughout the South East at venues that have included the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Hop Gallery, Lewes. 

This exhibition is included in the Eastbourne Christmas Open Houses event (30 Nov, 1, 6 and 7 Dec). A digitally screened projection will illustrate the artists’ oeuvre and show their method of working. Two invited prominent local artists will augment the quality and variety of work displayed. 

Birley Centre, Sat 9th Nov to Sun 15th Dec.
Saturdays and Sundays only, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Parsifal (opera)

Not wanting to put anyone off before I even start talking about the next Royal Opera House production to be be screened at Cineworld, but this one might be more suitable for dedicated opera buffs, rather than those who are casually interested.
It's Wagner.
It's his final great masterpiece.
And it's five and a quarter hours long!

An inventive new staging of Parsifal is being directed by Stephen Langridge and the performance will be conducted by Antonio Pappano. I am told that the cast will include Simon O’Neill as Parsifal, René Pape as Gurnemanz, Gerald Finley as Amfortas, Willard W White as Klingsor and Angela Denoke as Kundry. The creative team, led by Langridge, are the same as for the ROH production of The Minotaur. The singing will be in German with English surtitles.

A young man ignorant of everything, including his own name, arrives at the Kingdom of the Holy Grail. Is he the ‘pure fool, enlightened by compassion’, who, it has been prophesied, will purify the kingdom?

Wagner loosely based his opera on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s medieval romance, Parzifal. The score contrasts the sacred with the sensual and includes sections of almost unearthly beauty such as the Act I Prologue, the Good Friday music in Act III, and the closing scene of the opera in which Parsifal reveals the Grail to the knights.

Cineworld, Wed 18 Dec 2013, 16:45.
Tickets £17.90, £14.20 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Falstaff (opera)

Ambrogio Maestri is set to star as the blustery Sir John Falstaff in The Met Opera's glorious production of Verdi's masterpiece which will be broadcast to Eastbourne's Cineworld on the 14th of December. An undisputed master of Falstaff, Music Director James Levine conducts Verdi’s opera for the first time at the Met since 2005. Robert Carsen’s production - the first new Met Falstaff since 1964 - is set in the English countryside in the mid-20th century. The ensemble includes Angela Meade, Stephanie Blythe, Lisette Oropesa, and Franco Vassallo.

Falstaff, the opera, is based on Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor which was recently performed at the Devonshire Park Theatre by Creative Cow. In order to repair a serious dent in his finances, Sir John Falstaff decides to woo and seduce Alice Ford and Meg Page, both of whom are the wives of prominent and wealthy Windsor citizens, believing that he will then be able to take their money. He writes the women identical love letters, not realising that the two will compare their letters, uncover his plot before it has even begun, and set to deceiving their erstwhile deceiver.

Cineworld, Sat 14th Dec, 17:55.
Tickets £17.90 adults, £14.20 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Ian OHalloran (art)

Dartmoor Oak by Ian O'Halloran
I've been meaning to blog about Ian O'Halloran's evocative linoprint art for several months and have finally managed to get writing about his work while he is actually involved in a current exhibition - the Winter 2013 at Gallery North in Hailsham.

I first discovered Ian's work when a sliver of 'Folkington Hill' was chosen to be on the front of Gallery North's Land And Sea Scapes flyer in May. I then was not able to get myself to the exhibition before its unfortunate early closure. I did get along to the Festival Exhibition in September though and was delighted to see a few of Ian's images 'in the flesh'. I even treated myself to the card pictured here.

Having originally trained as a Civil Engineer, Ian took the drastic step of a complete career change when he decided to study art in 1990. He is inspired by artists such as Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious and Robert Tavener, but takes particular inspiration from the landscapes around him, especially features of ancient hidden cultures - standing stones, hill figures, dew ponds and track ways. Ian's first solo exhibition in 2000 was of his paintings and in 2008 he tried his hand at printmaking. The rest, as people might say, is history!

Winter 2013 at Gallery North will features stained glass by Isobel Ackary, assemblages by Pat Latham, and oils and acrylics by Rachel Widdows, together with many works by the resident artists.

Tuesdays to Saturdays, 5th Nov to 21st Dec, 10:00 to 16:00.
Free admission but donations very gratefully received!