Sunday, 30 June 2013

Populaire (film)

There's a blast of 1950s nostalgia on its way to Hailsham Pavilion at the end of July when the French language romantic comedy Populaire has three screenings. Set in 1958, the film tells the story of Rose Pamphyle, a widowers daughter who is destined for a quiet provincial life as the wife of a local mechanic. However, after she applies for a secretarial job at an insurance agency, her talent for amazingly fast typing is discovered and her new employer encourages her to compete for the accolade of the fastest typist in the world. The film is named for the make of typewriter featured, the Japy Populaire.

Belgian actress Deborah Francois stars as Rose alongside Romain Duris as her employer Louis Echard. The gorgeous costumes have been created by Charlotte David with great care taken to get the right feel for not only the period but also the original location of each character. Rose has a distinct provincial style whereas the city dwellers have a much sharper look. The witty film was co-written and directed by Regis Roinsard and is his first major feature. It has been nominated for several Cesar Awards and has already won Best Narrative Feature at the San Francisco Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Athens Francophone Film Festival.

Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 30th and Wed 31st Jul, Thu 1st Aug, 19:45.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at the Box Office.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Crazy For You (musical theatre)

George and Ira Gershwin's ever popular musical Crazy For You is being produced by the Rattonians for their big Summer show this year. The show opens for a week-and-a-half run at the Congress Theatre from the 24th of July and, judging by the audience numbers at previous shows of theirs I've seen, don't wait too long before booking or you might not get the good seats!

Mostly adapted from the Gershwins' 1930 musical Girl Crazy, Crazy For You includes a few songs nicked from other musicals too and the book was written by Ken Ludwig (Moon Over Buffalo). The then new show won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Musical followed up with the 1993 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. It is now a regularly performed amateur production, last seen locally I think done by EODS in 2010. The 2013 Rattonians show is being directed by Mark Adams, choreographed by Jan Lynton and the musical director is Carl Greenwood (Fame).

Failed theatre hopeful Bobby Child is sent to Nevada to foreclose on the loss-making Gaiety Theatre there. Local girl Polly Baker determines to thwart him and is unexpectedly aided by his falling in love with her at first sight. Bobby is left with a dilemma - if he closes the theatre down, he will lose the girl of his dreams. Instead he embarks on a plan to save both by putting on a fabulous show.

Congress Theatre, Wed 24th Jul to Sat 3rd Aug (excluding Sunday), 19:45.
Matinees, Both Sats and Thu 1st Aug, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, and in person at the Box Office.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Summer In February (film)

A love triangle in an Edwardian artists' colony in Cornwall is the theme and setting for Summer In February. Although apparently not a great period masterpiece, Christopher Menual's film does boast beautiful Cornish scenery as it was filmed on location there early last year. Locations include Penzance, Lamorna and Prussia Cove, and the National Trust sites Holywell and Porthcurno.

The Lamorna Group of artists included Alfred Munnings (Dominic Cooper) and Summer In February tells the story of the love triangle between Alfred, his friend Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens) and the girl they both loved, Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). It is based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Smith. The Group was part of the Newlyn School and was founded by Samuel John Birch, nicknamed "Lamorna".

Eastbourne Curzon, Fri 5th to Thu 11 Jul, 14:20, 17:00, 20:20.
Tickets £6.80 adults, £4.80 concessions, available by calling 01323 731441, or in person at the Box Office.

Hailsham Pavilion, Mon 22nd, Tue 23rd and Wed 24th July, 19:45.
Matinee Wed 24th July, 14:15.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at the Box Office.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Bryn Hammond (author)

To the Redoubt Fortress for today's blog although not music and pirates this time (another Rock The Redoubt is planned for later this year). Instead, Eastbourne Museums are running a series of lectures on various aspects of military history, the next of which is a talk on El Alamein by author Bryn Hammond. The two hour session is comprised of the lecture presentation during the first half with a question and and answer session after a refreshment break.

An expert in tank warfare of the Great War and Second World War, Bryn Hammond is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for War Studies at the University of Birmingham, and a member of the British Commission for Military History and the Western Front and Gallipoli Associations. He has written two acclaimed books - El Alamein: The Battle that Turned the Tide of the Second World War (General Military) and Cambrai 1917: The Myth of the First Great Tank Battle. Both books draw upon first-person testimony of the battles through letters, diaries and reports by officers as well as by ordinary soldiers. El Alamein reveals the personal experiences of those on the front lines and provides fascinating details of how the war was actually fought. It dismisses some of the myths that have been created about the protracted four-month battle and underlines the harsh realities of desert warfare.

Redoubt Fortress, Sat 6th July, 14:00-16:00.
Tickets £12 adults, £10 concessions, available in person from the Redoubt or by calling 01323 410300.

Details of further lectures in the series are available on the Eastbourne Museums website:
The Victoria Cross with Mark Smith, 3rd Aug.
Ghosts on The Somme with Andy Robertshaw, 7th Sep.
The Greatness of Haig with Peter Hart, 5th Oct.
Boy Soldiers of the Great War with Richard van Emden, 2nd Nov.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Pack Of Lies (theatre)

Seaford Little Theatre really are showing their versatility this year and their third play is to be the Cold War suburban spy drama Pack Of Lies. Written by Hugh Whitemore and first performed in 1983, the play is set in early 1960s London and is based on a true story. It first ran at London's Lyric Theatre for nearly a year starring Judi Dench who won a Laurence Olivier award for Best Actress for her role as Barbara Jackson.

The Seaford production has been directed by Ian Clegg. The cast is Alan Lade (The Cemetery Club), Tricia Pape, Kimberley Payne, Sandra Haynes, David Parton, Roland Boorman (The Titfield Thunderbolt), Lindsey Holledge and Josie Hobbs. Set design is again by Alan Lade so it should be pretty fantastic.

An unassuming suburban couple, Bob and Barbara Jackson, live with their teenage daughter in a Ruislip. They are friendly with their next-door neighbours, Peter and Helen Kroger. However the Jackson's comfortable world is turned upside-down when their neighbours are unexpectedly arrested and revealed to be Russian spies, part of an intelligence ring which infiltrated the Royal Navy!

Seaford Little Theatre, Fri 26th Jul to Sat 3rd Aug,19:45.
Matinee Sat 27th Jul, 14:30.
Tickets available from the 5th of July, £8 evenings, £7 matinee, available from Stitches, 13 Broad Street, Seaford (sorry no credit cards). Telephone enquiries can be made to 01323 894938.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Matt Wates Sextet (jazz)

A debut at the Under Ground Theatre for the Matt Wates Sextet will also be the last of the jazz nights for this 'year'. There's no jazz in August but the monthly gigs will resume in September.

Alto saxophonist Matt Wates was born in London in 1964 and graduated from the Berklee College of Music some 24 years later in 1988. The BT British Jazz Awards recognised him as their Rising Star in 1997 and he has since played with Humphrey Lyttelton, Bobby Wellins, Ian Shaw and Jamie Cullum. The Sextet performs mostly original music composed by Wates. On his website, he says of this, "If you're going to have a band, it seems to me you've got to have original material, otherwise you just end up sounding like a lot of other groups." Obviously this approach is successful as the band has recorded nine albums and is still going strong some fourteen years after it was first formed. They will play a couple of American songbook standards, there might also be appearances by Latin tunes and maybe some funky beats, but most of the music will simply swing. "If it isn't swinging at least some of the time, I really don't feel it's jazz" (Matt Wates).

The line up we will hear at the Under Ground is Matt on alto sax, Steve Main (tenor sax), Martin Shaw (trumpet), Leon Greening (piano), Malcolm Creese (bass) and Matt Home (drums). 

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 5th July, 20:00.
Tickets £12, UGT members £11, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Trouble With Old Lovers (theatre)

Written by popular novellist Angela Huth and published in 1995, The Trouble With Old Lovers is a bittersweet comedy about relationships and how even the most solid of foundations can be rocked by unexpected surprises from the past. The play is being produced by Ian Dickens Productions who were also responsible for the version of The Cemetery Club which came to the Devonshire Park around this time last year. I think, from a bit of intensive Googling, that the cast is going to be Peter Amory (Emmerdale), Nicola Bryant (Doctor Who), Shona Lindsay (Crossroads), Simon Linnell and Joanna Waters but don't quote me on this yet because it might all change before they get to Eastbourne.

Returning somewhat tipsy from a friend’s wedding, Alice announces she has met Edward and Laura whom she has invited to dinner. Edward is Alice's old flame and Laura and Tom had a brief pre-marital affair — four ex-lovers meeting after twenty years .... where's the harm? But they arrive with Mary with whom Tom had a passionate affair. Will Tom and Alice's seemingly secure marriage survive the seductive onslaught of Mary?

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 23rd to Sat 27th Jul, 19:45.Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Chimpanzee (film)

I blogged about the Disney nature 'documentary' African cats in June last year. This year Hailsham Pavilion have the new Disney nature film Chimpanzee and will be screening it twice as matinees in July. Intended for children, the film has a U certificate and has been sanitised of any scenes that might be upsetting. However, I have seen a few comments from parents of very young (five and under) children whose kids needed some reassurance during early scenes.

Chimpanzee has been co-written, directed and produced by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, formerly of the BBC Natural History unit. Alastair has previously produced episodes of The Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Planet Earth. The film is narrated by Tim Allen and was filmed on location in Uganda and the Ivory Coast. Even if you're not a fan of primates, the scenery is gorgeous as can be seen in the trailer at the end of this post!

Oscar is a three-month-old baby chimpanzee. When his chimpanzee troop is attacked by a rival troop, Oscar's mother is killed and he becomes separated from the rest. He struggles to survive on his own and the other adults are unwilling to help him until, surprisingly, Oscar is adopted by the new alpha male.

Hailsham Pavilion, Sat 20th and Sun 21st Jul, 14:15.
Tickets available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at the Box Office.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Three Minute Wonder (film competition)

Have you been inspired by the recent Eastbourne Moviemaker's Showcase or by local films The Moo Man or The Cashier? Or perhaps Kelly Richardson and Nadia Wazera's video art installations are more your style? If so, this could be your opportunity to shine!

I found out about this Hailsham Arts Festival competition when I was at Arlington Gets Cajun last Saturday. Josie Tipler had brought along some flyers about it (and about the current Arlington Arts Festival) so I made sure to snaffle one. I normally only blog up to a month ahead of any event, but I thought that as so much work could be involved I'd give plenty of notice here. Apparently a whole festival of three minute films takes place in in Sydney, Australia every year and if it's good enough for them ... ! 

All you need to do is devise and create your film, submit it, and then sit back with your fingers crossed. What could be easier?! I've had what I think is a pretty fantastic idea for an entry, but haven't deeply considered the logistics yet - or called in a favour that I'm going to need. The closing date isn't until the 16th of August so potential film-makers still have just under two months to perfect their mini masterpiece. Films must be a maximum of three minutes including titles and credits and the potential audience will include kids so don't get too graphic! Entry is free and the first prize is £100, one year's free film entry to Hailsham Pavilion AND screening of the winning film before a major feature. Runners up will each get complimentary Hailsham Pavilion tickets but I don't think a whole year's worth. There will also be a special Competition Night on the 13th of September when fifteen shortlisted films will be screened.

Check out the new Hailsham Arts Festival website which has a page about the competition for the small print and details of how to submit your film!

Best of luck!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Macbeth (theatre)

Macbeth in Manchester is the subject of today's blog as the next NTLive screening at Cineworld is to be Kenneth Branagh's version of the Shakespeare classic. Branagh is to star as Macbeth with Alex Kingston as his Lady Macbeth. He has also co-directed together with Rob Ashford and will write the feem toon and sing the feem toon (Sorry, you'll need to be a Little Britain fan for that to make any sense!). The production is to take place within a deconsecrated church as part of the Manchester International Festival and there is much excitement with tickets selling out amazingly quickly as this will be Branagh's first stage appearance in a Shakespeare play for over a decade. He last appeared as Richard III at the Sheffield Crucible in 2002.

The play's last appearance locally was the EODS Italian Gardens performance last summer. The dark tragedy tells of a Scottish general, Macbeth, who believes a prophecy told to him by three witches that he will one day become King. Macbeth hastens his fate by killing the incumbent King Duncan but is then driven to extreme tyranny to retain his crown. Wracked by guilt and paranoia and urged on by his wife, Lady Macbeth, he murders again and again in order to protect hs position.

Cineworld, Sat 20th Jul, 20:30.
Tickets £14.20 adult, £12.10 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person from the foyer.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mamma Mia (film)

Did you enjoy the Grease Film Party Night at the Royal Hippodrome on Saturday? If so, you might want to know that there's a second one planned for the 20th of July, this time featuring the much newer 'classic' Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia the Movie was released in 2008, based on the 1999 West End stage show, which in turn was created to incorporate the music of ABBA. Many of ABBA's greatest hits are shoehorned into a storyline about a young woman, Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried), going to a Greek island to get married. Sophie's mother, Donna (Meryl Streep) owns a hotel on the island and is joyfully reunited with her old friends and bandmates, Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski), who are joining the wedding party. Meanwhile without telling her mother, Sophie has invited three men, Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Bill Anderson (Stellan SkarsgÄrd), and Harry Bright (Colin Firth), each of whom could be her father.

I will admit that I was pretty underwhelmed by the film when I saw it a couple of years ago despite the stellar cast. The storyline is too schmaltzy for me and some of the singing is a tad ropey (Pierce Brosnan!). However, I can see that this would be a fantastic film to experience with a crowd of friends as a sing-along and I am sure that the Hippodrome will be pretty full for this. The evening will be hosted by Tracey Lea and dressing up in your brightest 1970s costumes is practically de rigeur. Probably best to get your tickets booked up well in advance!

Royal Hippodrome, Sat 20th July, 19.45.
Tickets £12, £10 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person from the Eastbourne Theatres Box Offices.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Stones In His Pockets (theatre)

I think that Stones In His Pockets might be the last Talking Scarlet production in their current season at the Devonshire Park Theatre. Set in modern-day County Kerry, Ireland, we see a rural community turned upside down by the arrival of an American film crew on location to capture the 'real' Ireland in a play which is both humorous and poignant.

Written by Belfast-based actress and playwright Marie Jones in 1996, Stones In His Pockets was originally performed by Dublin's DubbelJoint Theatre Company in West Belfast. It then went on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which opened doors to the West End. The winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2001 also won three Tony Awards when it opened on Broadway. The play only has two actors to cover fifteen different roles so they are required to swap voices, genders and hats with great dexterity and this provides many of the comedy moments. Also funny is the American film crew's attempts to produce their notion of the 'real Ireland', a nostalgic fantasy country which is, of course, a very long way from the truth. However the play has its darker side with great poignancy at key points.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 16th to Sat 20th Jul, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person from the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Andre Rieu Maastricht 2013 Concert

Famed violinist Andre Rieu's 2012 'appearance' in Eastbourne with his Home For Christmas concert at Cineworld was so popular, I though I should give his new concert a shout out as well. This is definitely one to book early for if you want to go because I heard that the Christmas screening was completely sold out! 2013 will be the fourth year that the Maastricht summer concert has been screened in cinemas so it's probably becoming an annual tradition for many fans.

The 2013 series of eight live concerts in Rieu's hometown of Maastricht will be performed at the end of June and the beginning of July and the cinema broadcast will follow a few days later. It will be on Saturday the 13th of July in the UK but other countries have different dates so please check if you're not local. I'm not sure if the cinema screening will be a single concert filmed in its entirety and then broadcast, or if several will be filmed and cunningly edited together!

I read this Rieu quote on Classic FM's website "If you can’t join us in Maastricht, we will come to you. It is going to be a magical concert with some very special guests. Come and enjoy the music on the big screen in the comfort of your local cinema."

Cineworld, Sat 13th Jul, 19:00.
Tickets £14.20 adult, £12.10 child, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person in the foyer.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Mariele Neudecker (artist)

(print of Hercules Missile 
graphite-rubbing) 2010-11
German artist Mariele Neudecker will be speaking at the Towner Gallery on the evening of Wednesday the 17th of July. In a two-hour presentation, she will discuss the key moments that have influenced and directed her, giving a fascinating insight into the process of creating her work. The event is being arranged by the wonderful Blue Monkey Network.

Mariele was born in Dusseldorf in 1965 but for the last dozen years has lived and worked in Bristol. Her art includes sculpture, video and installation and I believe the last piece shown in Eastbourne was Sea Of Ice, a enigmatic glass tank filled with murky water obscuring a sunken ship that was part of the Bon Hiver exhibition and is owned by the Towner.

Blue Monkey is an "artist-led membership network" run as a collaboration between Eastbourne's Blue Monkey Studio and the Towner Gallery. The Studio was founded in 2003 as a working space for about eight artists and the Network began in 2011. They hold regular talks and events as well as offering buddying opportunities and support to local artists. Further information and details of how to join are on this page of the Towner website.

Towner Gallery, Wed 17th Jul, 18:00-20:00.
Tickets free to Blue Monkey members, £10 to non-members. available by emailing Booking is strongly advised.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Around The World in 80 Minutes (musical theatre)

A three-night musical extravaganza will take over Stone Cross Memorial Hall in the middle of July when local award winning theatre group The Haven Players present their cabaret production, Around the World in 80 Minutes. Geoff Baker kindly told me more about the show ...

GB: Board Haven Airways for an exciting round the world trip in song and dance. It proves to be a colourful and fast-moving trip through ten countries with over twenty-six well known songs from the musicals, “Goodbye Mr Chips”, “Les Miserables”, “Cabaret”, “The Sound Of Music”, “Sister Act” and “The Lion King” to name but a few.

The songs and dances will feature a cast of over thirty including Haven Players' junior dancers and singers. Seating will be convivially arranged around tables and refreshments are included in the ticket price. There will be nibbles provided on the tables as well as tea/coffee and cake half way round the world. Audience members are welcome to bring their own stronger beverages if they would like.

Haven Players were originally formed in 1969 and put on three shows a year, the summer musical cabaret and two plays which range from serious drama to extreme farce. They are currently on the lookout for new friendly faces to join the group. If you would like to get involved, either on- or back-stage, please go along to the Memorial Hall on any Wednesday evening from about 7.30 or contact the Players through their website.

Stone Cross Memorial Hall, Thu 11th to Sat 13th Jul, 19:30.
Tickets £8, student tickets £6, available by calling 01323 460174. There may also be tickets left on the door, but seating is limited so please don't rely on this - early booking is strongly advised!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Trinity Art Group Exhibition

Hand painted owl box 
I received a lovely email from local art tutor Teresa Currie on Tuesday. She wanted to let me know that her evening class, Trinity Art Group, are going to be holding their first exhibition on Saturday the 22nd of June. On display and for sale they will have original artworks, prints, cards, photography, textiles and other crafts. Trinity Church is the one at the Triangle in Willingdon, just opposite the little Co-Op, and the Number 51 bus stops right outside!

Teresa runs two art groups in Willingdon: the Church Street Art Group who meet on a Monday 3-5pm and Trinity Art Group who meet on a Wednesday 7-9pm. Church Street started in February 2011 and Trinity in April 2012. Budding artists can choose to attend one or both groups and I am told there are a few spaces in each at the moment. Pop along to the exhibition or contact Teresa if you'd like to find out more.

Teresa Currie is a professional artist and tutor who does sessional work with different art groups in the Sussex and Surrey area. She spoke to me about her aims for both Art Groups:

TC: As my degree is in Art History and Classics I like to emphasize the impact of other artists by tying in specific movements to the practical sessions. So rather than teaching Art History as a separate subject I like to integrate it into the sessions in relation to the practice of the artists in the group. I think my students can learn a lot from studying the works of other artists. My aim for the group is to encourage and build on their existing skills and teach them to value their work but to also be critical of their own practice.

(This reminded me of the set-up of a play I saw recently at the Devonshire Park. In The Pitmen Painters an amateur group discover their own artistic talent through appreciating existing work.)

TC: Every six weeks the sessions are structured into a scheme of work with a theme for each week. Subjects covered in the sessions are: observational drawing, colour theory, figure drawing, perspective and using different mediums. Colour is a very important aspect of being a creative artist and a major consideration when producing any artwork (unless it is black and white!). The groups are suitable for all abilities and I aim to spend time with each student during the sessions as well as doing a demonstration of the subject. 

I tried to get Teresa to name-drop some of the artists whose work we might see at Trinity Church but she maintained a discreet silence.

TC: My group are quite shy so I better not mention any names! They are a very different but talented group and I am impressed with the progress that they have made and I know the show will be good.

Trinity Church, Sat 22nd Jun, 10:00-15:00.

Free admission.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Glastonbury Festival open-air screening

Glastonbury Music Festival is coming to Eastbourne!

Well, not in its entirety, but we can look forward to three sessions of live music broadcast live to a big screen set up on the Western Lawns over the festival weekend. As there are no longer any tickets available for the 'real thing', this might be the closest you'll get to the experience in 2013! Admission is free and you can purchase refreshments from a licensed bar and barbecue. So grab your picnic rug and get to the Western Lawns early to secure the best spot!

I'm assuming there will only be one screen on the Western Lawns, not one screen per stage, so 'my sort' of artists such as Seth Lakeman, Oysterband and The Infinite Monkey Cage(!) probably won't be shown. However, judging from the list in the VisitEastbourne email newsletter, most of the footage will be of the Pyramid Stage and the big name bands so perfect for a summer's afternoon in the sunshine (hopefully). The Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, The Rolling Stones, Mumford and Sons and The XX have all been mentioned. It's just a shame that the email link doesn't go to anywhere on the VisitEastbourne website! (link now rectified)

Western Lawns, Fri 28th Jun, 17:00-22:30.
Sat 28th and Sun 29th Jun, 13:00 - 22:30.
Free admission.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Lyons Teashops Lithographs (art)

detail from The Dolls At Home 
by Edward Bawden
I was lucky enough to see a few of the Lyons lithographs in the Towner Gallery's collection when I attended a Collection Store Tour as part of my then new Towner membership in January this year. I think I remember that the Gallery owns a complete set of at least one of the three series' and their planned exhibition of the works will also include some of the original paintings and working drawings. I am excited at the prospect of seeing a full gallery on the theme, not least because my membership card means I don't have to pay!

Founded in 1887 and named after its first manager, Joseph Nathaniel Lyons, J Lyons and Co was a multi-faceted company which owned restaurants and hotels, manufactured various foods, had several large department store Corner Houses in London, and also ventured into early computers. It is probably best remembered today for its tea houses, the first of which opened in 1894. Staffed before World War Two by waitresses called 'Nippies' and with distinctive chic decor, the tea shops were a popular treat for many working-class people. Post-war they became more simple with cafeteria-style service and slowly lost their niche appeal. The last tea shop closed in 1984.

Ever conscious of their public appearance and with an eye for showmanship and style, Lyons were not prepared to let the austerity of the war years result in a decline in standards at the tea shops. The company commissioned original artworks from popular British artists of the day, both supporting and promoting British art at a time when it was hardly a priority for most companies. Lyons then produced lithograph prints of the paintings and displayed them in every cafe. The prints themselves became a talking point, attracting more customers, and originals are now very collectable. Artists who benefited from the project include Edward Bawden, John Piper, David Gentleman, John Minton, William Scott and John Nash.

Towner Gallery, Sat 13th Jul to Sun 22nd Sep, Tue-Sun, 10:00-18:00.
Entrance £5.50 adults, £4 concessions, Towner members and under 16s free.

(Apologies for any missing 'W's in my posts at the moment. I had a balsamic vinegar-related mishap with my keyboard and that particular letter keeps sticking! I think I spotted all their absences before I published ...)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking (musical theatre)

Nineteenth century science presented through the lens of musical theatre? Hmmm, definitely an intriguing proposition! I've enjoyed a couple of Helen Arney gigs so comedy science songs aren't totally new to me. Now, the theory on the table at the Under Ground Theatre is that Einstein = Musical Comedy Squared. Let's find out if it's true!

Written and performed by John Hinton and directed by Daniel Goldman, Relativitively Speaking is a Tangram Theatre Company production. It has already been performed several times at the Brighton Festival Festival this year and has a 20 date UK tour as well as the Edinburgh Fringe. Brighton-based performer Hinton has previously taken on such heavy themes as Darwin, Norse Gods and Alien Rock Stars(?). Indeed, his Darwin show, Origin Of Species, was nominated for Best Show and Best Performer for its run at the 2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival. It was also a hit in both Brighton and Edinburgh and has been performed in over 40 venues across the UK.

Intended for audiences aged eleven and over, Relativitively Speaking lasts just over an hour and is a blend of serious science together with silly songs, lots of audience participation and some truly awful puns. There will also be a Question and Answer session with John Hinton after the show.

Under Ground Theatre, Fri 12th Jul, 19:30.
Tickets £9 (£7 members and concessions), available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Hermione Allsopp (artist)

I mentioned a piece of Hermione Allsopp's work when she exhibited as part of the East Sussex Open at the Towner Gallery earlier this year. Her 'Field Of Dreams' installation was the major work spread across the floor on the left side of the gallery. When Dave and I visited the Towner last weekend, we partook of a couple of drinks in the cafe and I noticed that the current Cafe Project display consists of five images created by Hermione. I believe they are inspirations for various three-dimensional works and three of the images are pictured on the Drawings page of Hermione's own website - it's the top two images and also the seventh one down. I can see elements of Field Of Dreams in the first and seventh images. I really should have made a note of their titles when they were right in front of me!

Hermione's Cafe Project is on until the end of June and she also currently has work at Hoxton Arches in London as part of the Void Open.She primarily creates her art with found items and utilises only domestic items originally from interior settings. Her inspirations come from considering questions of choice, fashion and taste. By choosing items from charity and junk shops, she deliberately works with what others have previously discarded, placing these things into new settings and configurations. I love the humour in her work. Check out the Stools page of her website to see partially deconstructed furniture with a distinctively anthromorphic slant!

Towner Gallery cafe, Tue-Sun, 10:00-18:00.
Free admission.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Taming Of The Shrew (theatre)

I nearly didn't spot this two-night event in time to blog about it! This weekend coming, Sunday the 16th and Monday the 17th of June, the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre's touring production of the outrageous comedy Taming Of The Shrew is being performed in the open air at Herstmonceux Castle. At the time of writing, there are still tickets available. The all-female cast previously performed at the Globe and are now touring with their own Elizabethan-style stage. If you have been watching the fascinating Ian Mortimer series Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England on BBC2, you'll already know exactly how to dress and behave for the occasion!

Two wealthy sisters in Padua must be married off. The modest, demure Bianca has no shortage of suitors, but who on earth will take the wild, ungovernable, ‘shrewish’ Katherina? Perhaps the gold-digging Petruchio, as maddeningly strongwilled and perverse as Katherina herself, will be equal to the task of bullying her to the altar.

The venue advises that audience members bring their own "rugs, cushions, low backed chairs, picnics and an Elizabethan appetite for gloriously liberating open air theatre. The performance will take place on the lawns in front of the castle and will go ahead regardless of the weather." The grounds will be open for about an hour and a half prior to each performance for picnicking.

Herstmonceux Castle, Sun 16th Jun, 18:00 and Mon 17th Jun, 19:00.
Tickets £18.50 (£13.50 concessions), available online or by calling 0207 401 9919.
To make enquiries, please call 01323 834479.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Geoff Robb (music)

Back to Chapter 12 in Hailsham High Street for today's post which discovers the music of guitarist Geoff Robb. He will playing the Tuesday evening live music night at the Wine Bar both THIS WEEK and also on the 9th of July which is fortunate as I'm already going to Suddenly At Home this Tuesday!

Originally from Bath, Geoff began playing guitar aged just 11 and by 18 was already a professional musician, funding his travels around Europe with his music. He has studied under classical guitarist Paul Gregory and has a diploma in jazz but is mostly known for his classical playing of music from Spain and Latin America. If you go to the Music page of his website, there are several downloadable snippets of his music from each of his two albums, Recuerdos and Con Spirito. I particularly like Andaluza and El Delirio. 

As well as playing for events and weddings across south-east England, Geoff also finds time to run the Classical Guitar Agency and online music shop, and is currently in the process of building his own guitar! The YouTube clip at the end of this post shows him playing at this year's Brighton Festival Fringe.

Chapter 12, Tue 11th Jun and Tue 9th Jul, 19:45.
Free admission but it is a bar!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Stonecutter (storytelling)

Phoenix design by Tania Long
New storytelling group, The Phoenix Storytellers, are presenting their inaugural performance at Beanzz Coffee shop on the 21st June. It's scheduled to start at 6pm and will last for half an hour so perfect for a little post-work unwind. There will also be live music, drinks, cakes and merriment in celebration of the Summer solstice. Plus art and photography inspired by the Eastbourne coastline by John Hesse, Gillian Toft and Tim Bosworth. The whole event will start at 5.30pm and go on till 7.30pm.

The Stonecutter is an ancient Chinese folk tale about a poor man who becomes envious of the lifestyles of men who are much richer than he is. He wishes that his life could be like theirs but, when his wishes are granted and he has material wealth, he finds that he is still not satisfied and begins to yearn for power as well.

Sally-Shakti Willow spoke to me about the group and their first project:
SW: "The stonecutter is our own version of a traditional folk tale, told collectively with ensemble parts and masks. We're playing with the concepts of storytelling within the community and pushing the boundaries of possibility with collective telling and other related creative crafts, such as mask-making. Audience participation is greatly encouraged. Our performance will also include folk song and other surprises. This will be our first ever public performance as a collective, and it will be part of the re-launch of Beanzz Coffeehouse as a social enterprise and community hub. Phoenix is the first community group to meet at the cafe, and Nick is hoping others will follow."

If this sounds like a project that you would like to be involved with, pop along to Beanzz on the 21st to see The Phoenix Storytellers at work or visit their Facebook group to find out more.

Beanzz Coffee, Fri 21st Jun, 17:30-19:30.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Playhouse On The Park (book)

Playhouse on the Park
by Edward Thomas
I've had my copy of Playhouse on the Park for a couple of years now. I persuaded Dave to buy it for me as either an early Birthday or Christmas present (I forget which) when we visited the Devonshire Park Theatre for one of their fascinating backstage tours. I believe this was probably when we joined the Friends of the Devonshire Park.

Written by Friends member Edward Thomas, Playhouse On The Park is an amazing resource, a detailed history of the Devonshire Park Theatre in all her glory from her very beginning in 1884 until about four years ago. The last dates mentioned are in 2009. The book is a little dry in places but the sheer volume of information packed into the fairly dense tome will keep you occupied for hours! I particularly like the reproductions of vintage posters and programmes and the stories of 'Names' who have graced the Devonshire's tiny stage. Did you know Bela Lugosi has appeared here? The theatre has kept going despite changing fashions and economic worries and the present day is not the first time that low audience numbers have been cause for concern. But there are many triumphs too and it was fascinating for me to learn about the extensive history of this theatre which I am becoming a part of by continuing to visit it.

The book was originally published in 1997 although the first edition has long since sold out and mine is from the second (2009) print run. I spotted the cover displayed in the sweet kiosk at the theatre on Tuesday when I went to see Murder Weapon so there are still copies available there at the moment. . But if you're reading this post an age after its publication and can no longer get hold of a copy from the DPT or via the Friends, there may be a few available second-hand on Amazon.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Two Bob Band (music)

Photo by Still Ideas
I know I'm in a minority with this, but I really, really don't like listening to Bob Dylan! It's not the music par se, but I find that his singing grates - a lot. Fortunately lots of other people have covered, and continue to cover, his songs! I mention this because a band I spotted recently on Chapter 12's website describe their music as 'Dylanesque'. The way they mean it, it's a good thing!

Formed in 2003, The Two Bob Band is made up of five East Sussex musicians, only one of whom actually appears to be called Bob (vocals, guitar, mandolin). Apparently there were more Bobs at the start! The others are now bass player and vocalist Mike, keyboard player Chris and guitarist Len, plus Nick the drummer when a big sound is needed. I'm not sure that Chapter 12 is big enough for the big sound! Their music recaptures the passion and spirit of the rock era with influences ranging from the aforementioned Bob Dylan to Neil Young, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones. Equally as comfortable playing pumping blues or delicate ballads, You might already have spotted Two Bob at Hailsham Pavilion supporting the Lonnie Donegan Band, at Hastings' White Rock for Beatles Day, at the Beach Tavern or Blue Bar. I'm sure they will go down a storm when they play their Chapter 12 Tuesday Live Music Night.

Chapter 12, Tue 2nd July, 19:45.
Free admission but it is a bar!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Boeing Boeing (theatre)

Two weeks of light relief start at the Devonshire Park Theatre in July after the tense and macabre Murder season that was June. Marc Camoletti's 1960s French farce Boeing Boeing is being presented by talking Scarlet. It will star Kim Tiddy, Zoie Kennedy and Ciara Janson.

Translated into English by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans, Boeing Boeing was first performed in 1960 and was an immediate success. The first London production ran for seven years with more than 2000 performances. The plot is classic farce lampooning national stereotypes and at one time was apparently the most performed French play in the world (according to the Guinness Book of Records 1991!)

Bernard a successful architect living in Paris, thinks he can easily cope as he juggles three flight attendent fiancees successfully convincing each that she is the only one. He carefully scrutinises the airline timetables to ensure that the American, French and German stewardesses never meet. However when old school friend Robert arrives unexpectedly, a new faster Boeing jet is introduced and weather delays occur, Bernard, Robert and Bertha, the reliable, long-suffering housemaid, are forced to desperately try to keep the women separate. As the lies become more and more difficult to reconcile, the trio improvise at breathtaking speed in a near faultless piece of theatrical invention with the inevitable hilarious consequences.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 2nd to Sat 13th July, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
No performances Sun or Mon.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Lark In The Park Funday

The big annual fundraising event for local charity Lark In The Park is taking place over the last two days in June and is already promising to be a pretty fantastic weekend even though not all the stalls and entertainments have been confirmed as yet. Eastbourne's Mayor will officially open the event on the 29th of June at noon. The stalls and stages will be open from 11am to 4pm on both days and there will also be a Funfair until 8pm. The venue is the Seaside Recreation Ground which is all open air so lets start sundancing and crossing fingers for good weather!

Lark in the Park themselves have a number of entertaining games planned including a raffle, a tombola, Spin the Wheel, Roll a Penny, Hook a Duck, Balls in a Bucket and Darts. The Sea Gypsies will be bellydancing, Rhythm Fire African Drummers and Skiffle band Recycled will play and there will also be a Chinese Dragon Dance. Plus the list of stalls (as of the 2nd of June) is as follows:
Several of the stalls are dog-related because another draw from the Sunday afternoon is Bark in the Park, a fun 15-class dog show. If your pooch is pretty or talented, take a look through the class list and get involved.

Seaside Recreation Ground, Sat 29th and Sun 30th Jun, 11.00 to 16.00.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Annual Schools and Colleges Exhibition 2013 (art)

I really enjoyed last year's Schools and Colleges exhibition at the Towner. You might
remember the huge paper rolls all around the ground floor display area for This is Eastbourne, This is ...? I very nearly missed this year's exhibition though. It started on the 11th of May and finishes this coming weekend, the 9th of June, to make way for the tennis, so it's fortunate that Dave and I took the opportunity to visit yesterday afternoon. Dave hadn't yet seen either the Fiona Rae exhibition or People and Portraits so we took a stroll around all three galleries, finding time for a cup of tea and a hot chocolate en route!

Over 1000 Sussex children and young people have used the People and Portraits exhibition as inspiration to explore their own ways of creating portraits, both of themselves and of others. A huge variety of media have been employed ranging from drawing and painting to photography, textile art and sculpture. A few presentations that caught my eye included Cavendish School's idea of painting their portraits onto everyday items which produced a very effective display. I particularly liked the hair dryer and the boot. Newlands School have used recycled textiles for their exhibit, inspired by the work of designer Vivienne Westwood. Shinies Home Educators have chosen sculpture for their work with found items being put to great use. Portrait of a Paraglider is fantastic and I also liked My Own Reflections which is a simple yet clever idea. Detailed collages using monochrome newsprint by Willingdon Community School both compliment and contrast with the brightly coloured mixed media collage of Louis XIV by Hailsham Community College. Finally, the large mosaic portrait of a schoolgirl by Langney Primary School is great fun. It reminded us of last year's People's Monarch where tiny individual pictures are combined to produce a single huge image.

Towner Gallery, Tue-Sun, 10:00-18:00.
Free admission.