Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Renoir (film)

Another French film is being screened at Hailsham Pavilion towards the end of August although it looks as though this will be a one-night-only affair rather than the three nights of their current French offering, Populaire. Renoir is certified 12A and also has a historical theme. Directed by Gilles Bourdos, it stars Michel Bouquet, Christa Theret and Vincent Rottiers.

Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir, son of the Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste, returns home to convalesce after being wounded in The Great War. At his side is Andrée, a young model who rejuvenates, enchants, and inspires both father and son. The film explores the evolving relationships of the three main characters and also suggests that this period might have been instrumental in Jean Renoir's eventual success as a film director. Renoir is a gentle, slow-moving film which is being praised for its beautiful cinematography.

Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 27th Aug, 19:45.
Tickets £6.50 adults, £5 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person at the Box Office.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Mechanicals (art)

Has anyone been to The Mechanicals exhibition of modern automata at Herstmonceux Observatory yet? According to their website, it began in May and continues until the end of August and is a collaboration between Science Projects Ltd and Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. I saw a television documentary about vintage and antique automata recently, probably on BBC4, and was fascinated by them so I'm definitely going to try and get along to the Observatory before the exhibition ends.

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre was initially a craft shop in Falmouth, Cornwall. It opened in 1979 and stocked a few Peter Starkey automata which customers loved to see in action. When further automata by Paul Spooner arrived too, owner Sue Jackson decided to create a distinct company. May 1983 saw the first customers paying to activate the automata and the venture was so popular that Cabaret Mechanical Theatre moved to larger premises in London's Covent Garden in 1985. Exhibits currently at Herstmonceux include The Sheep Shearing Man by Ron Fuller, The Barecats by Paul Spooner and Matt Smith, and The Birth of Fast Food by Keith Newstead. Each is underpinned by an interactive board explaining how the drives, pulleys, ratchets and levers enable the machine to work.

Herstmonceux Observatory, open daily from 10:00 until 18:00, last admissions 16:00.
Entrance fee £8 adult, £6 child, £6.25 seniors.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Educating Rita (theatre)

I'm so happy to be publishing three theatrical blog posts right next to each other! When I first started this blog, I had to branch out from my first love, incorporating film, music and art posts purely in order to fill my target of a post a day. But now it seems as if the Eastbourne area is becoming a real theatrical hub with so many different companies bringing their work to town.

The next Talking Scarlet production to make its way to the Devonshire Park is Willy Russell's Educating Rita which will star Brian Capron (Stepping Out, 2009) as Frank and Jennifer Daley as Rita. The play, which is set entirely within Frank's Open University office, is being directed by Philip Stewart (Dead Certain, Murder Weapon)

Brash, straight-talking hairdresser Rita is unhappy with her job and the low expectations of those around her. She wants to know 'everything', and decides to pursue her recently acquired passion for learning by taking an Open University course in English literature. Frank, a failed poet whose cynicism has led him to take solace in the bottle, agrees to tutor her. It’s a relationship that will change both their lives forever.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Thu 29th Aug to Sat 7th Sep, 19:45.
Wed and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

New Jersey Nights (musical theatre)

Musicals featuring the back catalogue of popular bands are becoming increasingly prevalent and they seem to fall into one of two categories - either telling the story of the band itself or weaving a fictional tale around their existing songs. New Jersey Nights is in the former camp celebrating the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. 

This is a David King production, so we can expect the same high standards as June 2012's Bohemian Rhapsody, and has been both directed and choreographed by Emma Rogers. It has smashed box office records right across the USA and Britain and is proving to be one of the most successful touring shows of all time. The cast of Damion Scarcella, Ricky Rojas, Jon Hawkins and Simon Schofield will be joined by dancers Charlie England, Charlotte Greaves, Robyn Ford, Jonathan Cook, Bethany Dows and Simone Cristofaro. There will be a live band onstage, some great-looking sets and all the Four Seasons biggest hits including Rag Dolls, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man and many more.

Congress Theatre, Mon 26th to Sat 31st Aug, 19:30.
Thu and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A Midsummer Night's Dream (theatre)

It seems almost everywhere I look this summer, someone is preparing or performing Shakespeare! We've had a touring Globe Taming Of The Shrew at Herstmonceux Castle and Twelfth Night broadcast from The Globe to Cineworld. Their broadcast Taming Of The Shrew is also at the cinema this Monday coming and EODS Tempest is currently at the Italian Gardens (until the 3rd of August). Now I discover we are also to be treated to A Midsummer Night's Dream at Michelham Priory on the 25th of August.

The timeless fantasy comedy will be performed by alternative theatrical company The Pantaloons. Described by The Times as "part alternative rock band, part thespian, part performance art, the result is wholly charming", I am intrigued! Apparently this month-long tour is a much-anticipated return to Shakespeare for the Company and their 'distinctive, anarchic style' should suit the magical story of Puck and his mischievous fairy band. The Pantaloons theatre style is drawn from a number of traditions including pantomime, commedia dell-arte and silent movies.

The performance will take place in the open-air and will continue in all weather except a full-blown tempest. Remember to dress for all weathers and bring a picnic and something to sit on.

Michelham Priory, Sun 25th Aug, 17:30 - 21:00.
Tickets £12.50 adults, £8 children, £53 family, available online, by calling 01323 844224, or in person from the Gatehouse.

Friday, 26 July 2013

David Bowie Is Happening Now (art)

If, like me, you didn't get it together quickly enough to visit the apparently stunning David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, you might be interested to know that there is to be a nationwide cinema screening of it in the middle of August. The one-night-only event will be broadcast live from the museum as a fitting multimedia finale to the tremendously successful exhibition before it embarks on an International tour. Directed by Hamish Hamilton, the film will be introduced by exhibition curators, Victoria Broackes (curator of Theatre and Performance) and Geoffrey Marsh (Director of the VandA Theatre Collections). It will feature special guests offering their stories behind some of the 300 objects from the David Bowie Archive, many of which had never before been displayed in public.

This is the first time that the VandA has put on a live broadcast of this scale, encouraged no doubt by the incredible visitor numbers they have recorded. More than 67,000 tickets for the physical exhibition were sold in advance - the most in their 150 year history - and nearly 200,000 people have strolled around the galleries since March, so I expect that the cinema screening will also be fantastically popular both with people who didn't get to London and also with those who want to be reminded of the experience. 

Cineworld, Tue 13th Aug, 19:00.
Tickets £14.20 adults, £12.10 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Artwave at Driftwood 2013

There's a fabulous selection of artist's work soon to be displayed as part of the artwave festival at Seaford's Driftwood Garden. The exhibition will be open over the three days of the the August Bank Holiday weekend and also on the Saturdays and Sundays of the following two weekends.

I spotted this poster on their Facebook page and recognised Sheila Bourn's distinctive bathing belle straight away. There will also be painting and a collage by Mark Glassman whose work I previously saw at Until The Cows Come Home. Of the fourteen chosen artists, five are brand new to Driftwood and one is returning after having been at the very first event back in 2009. 

Are you sitting comfortably? Here's the full list:
Ceramics by Sheena Bourn, ceramics by Su Cloud, handmade jewellery by Sarah Stonehouse, painting and collage by Mark Glassman, wooden driftwood fish by Lee Highley, cast glass pieces by Miranda Ellis, ceramic figurines by Michele Findlay, garden metal work by Chris Burchell Collins, metal sculpture by Serena Thirkell, metal alliums by Si Uwins, sculpture by Paul Cox, hand made bags by Celia Hughes, carved limestone by Paula Haughney and ceramics by Cat Brown. Plus visitors will of course get to see the gorgeous Drifwood Garden which has been featured in the Daily Mail and Sussex Life. All proceeds from refreshment sales and the raffle of artists' work will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Driftwood Garden, Sat 24th to Mon 26th Aug, Sat 31st Aug and Sun 1st Sep, Sat 7th and Sun 8th Sep, 12:00 to 17:00.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Eric Slater walk drive and talk (art)

Cuckmere Haven by Eric Slater
An email last week from author James Trollope prompted my blog post today. The expert in the field of Eric Slater prints, I was very pleased to buy a copy of his new book, Slater's Sussex, on the subject a couple of months ago. James' next endeavour is a 3 hour walk-and-drive-tour around Seaford visiting various sites which inspired Slater's landscape images. The tour will take place this Sunday, the 28th of July.

JT: It starts at 10am at Seaford Museum which is in the Martello Tower (free parking) with a short talk and small exhibition. After the museum (featured in his print 'Seaford Head'), it's a 5 minute stroll along the seafront to Splash Point which inspired 'Rough Sea'. Then 5 minutes in the car to South Hill Barn (free parking) and a 10 minute stroll to the Coastguard Cottages where Robb and Lucy, who live there, will provide a cup of tea. On this section we'll see Slater's inspiration for 'Cuckmere Haven' and 'The Coastguard Station' as well as visiting Robb and Lucy's stunning cliff top home. Then back to South Hill barn (another 10 minute walk) and then a short drive to Dymock Farm where we'll stop at a private garden which gives a fantastic view of Slater's 'The Stack Yard'. After that back to the museum for 1pm. 

Booking is recommended online on the Towner Gallery website - go to 'Events' and then 'All'. You can probably also book in person when visiting the Towner.  Entry to the museum and refreshments at the Coastguard Cottages are included in the price of £20 or £15 to friends of Towner.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Kosmic Krash (music)

There's a fantastic multimedia evening at Herstmonceux Observatory coming up in August. Curated by community arts venue The Kave Gallery, Kosmic Krash will have music, exciting lightshows, a bar, DJs, space talk, science experiments, the Perseid meteor shower and (probably) the biggest telescopes you've ever seen! The whole Observatory will be given over to different creative organizations for the evening with each curating individual areas of the site - either a telescope or a geo-dome. Plus guests will get to look through the Observatory's telescopes (weather permitting) and the Wealden Astronomical Society will be on hand to laser point out the constellations. Last year, they also pointed out the International Space Station as it flew over too! Kosmic Krash will be a truly unique experience.

Kave have announced the following artists and I think there are still a few more as yet unconfirmed but up-to-date details are on the Facebook page: AGATHE MAX and CYRIL M, ASHLEY BEEDLE (with DARREN MORRIS as AFRIKANZ ON MARZ), GALAXIANS, DISASTRONAUT (The Busy Bee Soundsystem), NEGATIVE PEGASUS, TOMAGA, HIMMEL, SYNTHESIZE ME DJs, DUNDERHEAD, INNERSTRINGS, PSYCHEDELIC LIGHTSHOW, JULIAN HAND, TUNC et NUNC (Members of Brighton Consort), and NO MIDDLE NAME.

Herstmonceux Observatory,Sun 11th Aug, 18:00.Tickets £20 earlybird / £25 slow worms, available online.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Just Joyce (musical theatre)

There's a wonderful three-evenings-and-an-afternoon of musical theatre planned at the Under Ground in August when The Green Room Productions will be putting on their next show, an affectionate tribute to Joyce Grenfell entitled Just Joyce. The one woman show (plus pianist!) will star Sandra Cheesman who we have previously seen in The Wife The Mistress The Chair and in Little Gem - three very different performances.

Joyce Grenfell was born Joyce Irene Phipps in London in 1910. The daughter of an architect, she had a comfortable upper-class upbringing culminating in time spent in Paris at Mlle Ozanne's Finishing School aged seventeen. Her stage debut came in 1939 and for her war service she toured North Africa, the Middle East and India in the company of pianist Viola Tunnard, both performing for the troops. Joyce is best remembered now for her monologues and comedy songs but she also wrote satires for the BBC and appeared in a number of films including the St Trinian's series.

Just Joyce celebrates her wonderful and witty writing and will include several famous pieces: The Nursery School (George, Don't Do That), Stately As A Galleon, Shirley's Girlfriend, Lumpy Latimer and I Like Life.

Under Ground Theatre, Thu 22nd to Sat 24th Aug, 19:30.
Matinee Sat 24th Aug, 14:30.
Tickets £11, £9 concessions, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Eastbourne Freegle Photo Competition

If you are a member of Eastbourne Freegle, I've found out about a great photo competition that you might like to enter. If you're not yet a member, join up now because you've only got a week left to enter a great photo competition!

Eastbourne Freegle has gained another 700 members in the last year bringing them to over 5,200! If you have never 'freegled', the group is basically an online forum where people post offers of items they no longer want and others post details of items they are in need of. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in action! I was surprised when I first visited at the sheer variety of stuff available - household items, craft supplies, pet equipment, garden tools, ....

Freegle moderator Melissa emailed to say "It's now time to find a new photo to adorn the group page, to show off the beauty of Eastbourne and the surrounding areas, and the camera skills of our members. The theme this time is - 'Unseen Eastbourne'. We hope you'll be inspired to enter photos that show your favourite sights, views and thoughts of your town - the bits the tourists might never see! The winning photo will be incorporated into a Freegle graphic and will be the first thing people see when they visit or join the Eastbourne Freegle group or Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your photos. Good luck!" 

Small Print: All photos must be your own, and by submitting the photo you give Freegle permission to then use it on the group site. Please do not include close-ups of people and businesses but apart from that, any picture you feel represents or highlights the best of the area within the theme is all the criteria you need to fulfil! Each member may enter 1 photo of their choice. All pictures must be entered by Sunday 28th July, and voting will then be open until Sunday 11th August. 
Please send photos to to enter. All photos will be available to view when voting opens.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Mark Smith MA (author)

Victoria Cross Medal Ribbon and Bar
photo by Richard Harvey
Having blogged a couple of weeks ago about Bryn Hammond's Redoubt Fortress lecture on El Alamein, I thought I'd follow up with a second post about another talk in the series. The Redoubt has a further four talks planned, one each in August, September, October and November. Each is on the first Saturday of the month and the next one by Mark Smith MA explores the history of the Victoria Cross medal.

Mark Smith is a military historian and curator at the Royal Artillery Museum. He graduated from University College London in 2007 with a Masters Degree in Museum Studies and has written four books about the First World War. A member of the Western Front Association, The Orders and Medals Research Society and the Guild of Battlefield Guides, he has spent twenty-seven years leading tours of the First World War Battlefields of France and Belgium. Alongside this, the last nine years have seen Mark Smith studying the Victoria Cross, its history and many of the stories of real people who have received the award. The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth personnel for 'valour in the face of the enemy'.

Redoubt Fortress, Sat 3rd August, 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: 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.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Mary's Boys open auditions (theatre)

Gaynor Newnham of The Haven Players contacted me through Twitter a few days ago to ask for help in publicising an audition coming up soon. Having just finished Around The World in 80 Minutes, the Company are already looking to cast their new musical theatre production and they Need Men - a whole lifeboat full! If you are, or you know of, anyone who might be interested, please read on ...

GN: Mary's Boys is a brand new musical play written by Darren Vallier, Michelle Pollard and Gaynor Newnham, all of whom work at Langney Primary School in Eastbourne. It is inspired by the true story of The Mary Stanford Lifeboat, which sailed out of Rye Harbour in November 1928, in the worst storm in living memory, to save the crew of a Latvian steamer. The boat took three attempts to launch, with the help of the whole village, not realising that the boat they were trying to save had already been rescued. They needn't have gone....and the entire crew, of 17 men, died. Despite the sad ending, the musical is also funny and heart warming, focusing on the relationships between the men, and their loved ones. The songs are written in a folky style, to suit the village setting. 

GN: The play will premiere at Eastbourne College Theatre on the 24th, 25th and 26th October, at 7.30 each day, and a matinee on Saturday, at 2.30. The Haven Players will be putting on the play, which requires 17 men, age from 17 to 47. There will, therefore, be open auditions at Langney School, Chailey Close at 7.30 on the 30th July and the 1st August. 
For more information on the auditions please call 01323 767816.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

White Horse Folk Club at the Under Ground (music)

From full-on opera at Sydney Harbour to gentle acoustic folk at Bodle Street Green, today's blog post is about the White Horse Folk Club's forthcoming 'day trip' to the Under Ground Theatre! Regular performers from the fortnightly Folk Club will be taking part in the Saturday morning music session led by popular favourites, Cornflower Blue - Chris Liddiard, Jill Daw and Bob Shepherd.

The White Horse has been hosting a fortnightly Monday Folk Club for twenty years, since 1993. The musicians play more than just folk though. Audiences might also hear blues, bluegrass or country music, the occasional pop song version or original songs penned by local songwriters. There is usually a professional guest artiste every couple of months and previous guests include Kevin Barber and Mark Taylor, The Cajun Dawgs and my very own Dave Greene!

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

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Carmen on Sydney Harbour (opera)

I am thoroughly enjoying the extended arts programming at Cineworld at the moment, especially since there is such great variety. Plays, ballets, live concerts, operas ... 

The next screening that looks like it should be very impressive is a performance of Georges Bizet's powerful opera Carmen which was staged on a platform suspended above Sydney Harbour! The brainchild of Australian theatre director Gale Edwards, this Carmen has been designed by Brian Thomson (set) and Julie Lynch (costume) to be visually stunning with hordes of richly clothed singers and dancers. The cast will include Israeli-born mezzo soprano Rinat Shaham as Carmen, Dmytro Popov as Don Jose and Andrew Jones as Escamillo, together with Nicole Car, Ariya Sawadivong, Tania Ferris and Sam Roberts-Smith. Rinat Shaham is being acclaimed as perhaps the best Carmen ever!

Naive young solider Don Jose becomes so enthralled by fiery gypsy Carmen that he deserts the army and abandons his childhood sweetheart. But Carmen soon falls for glamorous, dashing toreador Escamillo instead. Consumed by jealousy, Don Jose exacts a terrible revenge.

Cineworld, Thu 1st Aug, 19:30.
Tickets £10.50 adults, £8.40 concessions, available online by calling 0871 200 2000, or in person from the foyer.
Running time approx 150 minutes.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sam Toft (artist)

I last mentioned the lovely Eastbourne Framing Centre shop when I discovered they had a card of a particular Cyril Edward Power image that I love. Wandering past again recently on the way to the Under Ground for Animal Crackers, Dave stopped to appreciate several Sam Toft prints in the window. He was quite taken with their humour so I took the opportunity to sneak back and pick up this appropriate card for our anniversary (10th!).

Formerly something of a jack-of-all-trades, Sam Toft got her professional artistic break by enrolling on an Art and Design BTEC course as a mature student. She attributes her 'good fortune' to years of hard work and from the fascinating biography insight on her website, I got the impression of a swan's way of working - appearing serene above the water but resolutely paddling away underneath. Her most popular characters are the whimsical Mustards: Ernest and Violet together, always, with Doris the Dog.

Eastbourne Framing Centre also has a good selection of Victoria Brook artwork if you've missed her since Francis Perry sadly closed.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Treasure Island (musical theatre)

The dynamic company Cambridge Touring Theatre is returning to Herstmonceux Castle this summer with their new production, Treasure Island. The date is one stop on a massive national tour which started on the 25th of May and continues until the 2nd of September.

The swashbuckling musical has been created especially with family audiences in mind so their outdoor performance will be perfect for a more unusual family day trip. The show lasts about two hours, with a twenty minute interval and, if your children are aged between five and ten years old, they can also participate in a forty-five minute workshop prior to the show. The workshop gives the children the opportunity to get to know the actors and join in some drama games to set the piratical theme.

The performance will still go ahead if the weather is wet so Cambridge Touring Theatre ask that audiences dress suitably and bring their own low backed chairs and/or rugs. Please do not bring any glassware.

Herstmonceux Castle, Thu 15th Aug, 15:00. (Workshop begins at 13:30.)
Performance tickets £14 adults, £9 concessions, family ticket £40, under 3s free.
Workshop tickets, £2.50.
All available by calling 01323 834553.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Kevin Pallister (music)

I spotted Kevin Pallister's name through the bus window a few days ago, on the chalk board outside the British Queen pub in Polegate. He is singing there on the 19th of July. I then saw he also has another local gig soon - the beginning of August at the Wheatsheaf Inn in Willingdon.

Perhaps better known as an actor, Kevin Pallister played the murderous teacher Graham Clark in Emmerdale (YTV), which earned him an "Inside Soap" Award and a British Soap Awards nomination for Best Villain. His photo is also on some of the posters adorning the Devonshire Park Theatre's corridors - Roy in Neville's Island, Fleshcreep in Jack And The Beanstalk. His musical theatre credits include Buddy in the Buddy Holly Story in London but I don't know whether theatrical singing first led him to try gigging, or whether the music was there before the acting.

Kevin says that he has been in several bands over the years, singing lead and backing vocals and playing guitar. He now fits in solo acoustic performances around his acting commitments. His set includes rock'n'roll, rock, folk and country songs, both vintage and contemporary.

Wheatsheaf Inn, Sat 3rd Aug, 20:30.
I think free admission but it is a pub!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Giles Paley-Phillips (author)

I've been following Giles Paley-Phillips' blog for several months now. He is a local author who lives in Seaford and has had great success with his first book The Fearsome Beastie. His early career was in music and he spent a number of years performing around the UK. A collection of lyrics and poetry, Linear Hymns, was published in 2006 in aid of Leukaemia Research, a charity dear to Giles' heart.Then the birth of his first son encouraged him to try his hand at children's writing and the rest, as I believe is said, is history.

The Fearsome Beastie was published in 2011 winning The People's Book Prize and the Bizziebaby Gold Award as well as being Highly Commended in The Forward National Literature Award, and being Shortlisted for both The Rotherham Children's Awards. It also won The Heart of Hawick Children's Book Award in 2013. Excitingly, there is a CG animation version being produced as we speak and you can keep up to date with its progress on the film's blog. They've recently announced a rather special actor to voice the Beastie!

Now Giles' third children's book almost here. Things you never knew about dinosaurs will be available from the beginning of August and there is a special launch being held at Wise Books in Seaford on the 10th. Giles himself will be in attendance, no doubt signing copies of his work, and it's all in a good cause too. Wise Books is run to benefit Family Support Work, a pioneering local charity which works with vulnerable families across Sussex.

Wise Books, Sat 10th Aug, from 10:30.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (musical theatre)

Eastbourne Theatres have found the perfect dazzling musical to wow the crowds during Airbourne week. Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert features huge wigs, outrageous costumes (one appears to be made purely of flip flops!) and the showstopping disco songs: It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, Hot Stuff, Boogie Wonderland, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and I Love The Nightlife.

Based on the 1990s hit movie of the same, Priscilla has been a smash hit both in the West End and on Broadway, winning several awards especially for the costume designs. The show tells the story of three friends, two drag queens and a transsexual woman, who are invited to perform a drag show in the Australian town of Alice Springs. However, the three are in Sydney and must travel across Australia in a lavender coloured bus named Priscilla, encountering many strange characters along the way.

The Eastbourne performances will star Welsh singer Noel Sullivan,formerly of Hear'Say but he has also played Galileo in We Will Rock You and Danny in Grease. Here's a short interview with him for Wales Online.

Congress Theatre, Mon 12 to Sat 17th Aug, 19:30.
Thu 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.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

HCC Summer Show (art)

The Art Department at Hailsham Community College are proudly presenting an exhibition of students' work at Gallery North from today until Sunday. The three day event (Thursday / Friday / Saturday) showcases a variety of art, fine art and photographic compositions by students at GCSE, AS and A2 levels.

"The Art Department is well resourced, including a darkroom for Photography and Media Studies, rooms for Fine Art and painting as well as a Sixth Form Studio. A dedicated ICT suite for Art and Photography was installed in Summer 2010." Students from Year 7 onwards are encouraged to engage in the serious study of art with the main focus being on developing their range of technical skills. "If the students can start to master the control of a range of media then they will produce more powerful and confident art work, both now and in the future."

Gallery North will be open from 10am until 4pm on each of the three days and admission is free although donations are always gratefully received!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Sound Of Music (film)

Yodellers to the fore! The third in the trio of singalong films at the Royal Hippodrome is to be perhaps the best-known of them all, The Sound Of Music, although, as I learned from the Sue Perkins TV programme over Christmas, no one in Austria likes it! Tracey Lea is again your host and it's bound to be a great night out, especially if shared with a group of friends. Dressing up is strongly encouraged and I learn there is to be a prize for the Best Dressed Person.

Young nun Maria (Julie Andrews) in constantly getting into trouble and disrupting the quiet life of her convent. When the Mother Abbess receives a request from an Austrian widower for a governess to take care of his children, she persuades Maria to take the job. However, upon arriving at the Von Trapp household, Maria is dismayed to find the place run along military lines with the children dressed in sailor suits and answering to whistles. She introduces fun and song into their lives. Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) is initially furious but when he hears his children singing for Baroness Elsa Schraeder (Eleanor Parker) and sees Maria dancing in the moonlight, he begins to change his mind about her!

Royal Hippodrome, Sat 10th Aug, 19:45.
Tickets £12, £10 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 412000, or in person at the Congress Theatre Box Office.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Acker Bilk MBE (jazz)

A for-one-night-only jazz gig is coming to the Royal Hippodrome at the beginning of August when clarinettist Acker Bilk MBE brings his Paramount Jazz Band to the venue. A traditional jazz man at heart, Bilk was one of the main figures to popularise New Orleans and Chicago jazz in the UK of the 1960s.

Famed for his goatee beard, waistcoats and trademark bowler hat, Acker Bilk first began playing the clarinet in 1948, some sixty-five years ago. He borrowed a military clarinet whilst serving in the Royal Engineers and formed his first band in Bristol after being demobbed. The Paramount Jazz Band came into their own in 1951 when a six month, seven hours a night, seven days a week residency in a Dusseldorf bar cemented their musical style and look. His most famous composition is undoubtably Stranger On The Shore, originally written and named for his daughter Jenny but retitled when it was used as the theme tune for a TV series. The instrumental piece spent 55 weeks in the pop charts of the day and was the first ever recording to be simultaneously Number One in both the UK and the USA.

Royal Hippodrome, Sat 3rd Aug, 20:00.
Tickets £19, £17.50 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person at the Congress Theatre Box Office.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Taming Of The Shrew (theatre)

Were you at the Globe Theatre broadcast of Twelfth Night at Cineworld last week? It was excellent and I haven't laughed so much in ages! The final in the trio of Shakespeare offerings from the Globe is Taming Of The Shrew, perhaps not one of his most popular plays, but the live version which was filmed for this broadcast had excellent reviews so I'm sure it will be well worth a viewing. I'm a bit disappointed that I already got ahead of myself and am double-booked. Birdsong at the Theatre Royal had better be good!

Designed by Mike Britton and with music composed by Richard Hammarton, Taming Of The Shrew has been directed by Toby Frow. The fifteen-strong cast of both men and women this time is Tom Anderson, David Beames, Jamie Beamish, Michael Bertenshaw, Simon Paisley Day, Pip Donaghy, Patrick Driver, Tom Godwin, Christopher Keegan, Sarah MacRae, Pearce Quigley, Samantha Spiro, Joseph Timms, Rick Warden and Helen Weir.

In a play within a play setting, the story of the shrew is performed for the benefit of a drunken tinker who has been tricked into believing he is a nobleman. Elder sister Katherina Minola is so ill-tempered that it has been assumed she will never marry. However, to the dismay of several suitors for her younger sister, Bianca, Katharina's father will not allow Bianca to marry first. The suitors dream up a plot to get unwitting visitor Petruchio to woo and marry Katharina, which he does before then setting out to reduce this independent woman into an obedient wife.

Cineworld, Mon 29th Jul, 19:00.
Tickets £10.50 adults, £8.40 concessions, available online, by calling 0871 200 2000, on in person from the foyer.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Peter Waller (artist)

Flamingoes by Peter Waller 
Art at the Under Ground changed its focus again this weekend with the installation of a new exhibition of paintings by Peter Waller. On my wander around yesterday morning, my eye was particularly taken by the acrylic works and pleased to see so many red dots already. This was the first morning after the previous evening's opening so if you're hoping to snap up a Waller, don't wait much longer. They are quite nicely priced!

A member of the Sussex Water Colour Society, Peter's work has been displayed at The Design Centre, the Mall Galleries and Olympia. He previously worked as an advertising illustrator but now paints primarily for his own enjoyment. Stripes are a recurrent theme in his paintings as are long slender lines either in the form of birds' legs or distant tree trunks. His palette reminded me of Fiona Morrison with its prevalence of blues and greens - perhaps this is the mark of a coastal artist!

Sunset Swans is the first elegant offering at the bottom of the stairs to the left and I think my favourite of the exhibition is the painting just along from it, The Common. The Common has a patchwork of green fields stretching away to the horizon under the most gorgeous dark red sky. Beryl's Wood with its carpet of bluebells and Downland, whiich has tall purple trees, both illustrate my point about vertical stripes. Country Colours is a fun piece, a tall slender work itself and a larger format version of the delightful patchwork series of mini paintings which are over the other side of the foyer as you go down the steps to the auditorium. Country Colours is actually vying with The Common for 'favourite'! The patchwork minis have an deceptive childlike simplicity to the them with no sense of perspective but a bold colour palette. There are also several paintings with more standard subjects and composition which are nicely done but I'm not sure they have the same energy.

Under Ground Theatre, Fridays and Saturdays from the 5th to the 27th July, 10:00 - 16:00.
Free admission.
Also open to patrons during Under Ground events at other times.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Corner House Club Night (music)

The next of the popular Towner and Melting Vinyl Club Nights is taking place at the gallery in two weeks time, on Saturday the 20th of July. A more laid-back affair than March's Electric Dreams, the Corner House Club Night will again feature live music and your ticket will include free entry to the Lyons Teashops Lithographs exhibition. The exhibition alone would normally cost £5.50 for adults (£4 concessions).

Inspired by the Teashops heyday of the 1940s and 1950s, the Club Night will have a retro feel and guests are strongly encouraged to dress up in costumes of the period to add to the vintage vibe. Step into the photobooth before enjoying the gentle music of an orchestral ensemble or, later on, picking up the tempo with a swing dance group. There will be lively talks given by Dr David Bramwell, a Brighton author and frontman of The Catalyst Club which is a unique monthly Brighton event that pays tribute to the old traditions of French Salon, debating societies and Gentleman's Clubs. The Radio Theatre will perform a spoof of the classic 1945 film Brief Encounter, playing on the idea of 1930s radio theatre but with visual aspects as well. And local fabric shop Owl And Sewing Cat will be running a sewing workshop.

Towner Gallery, Sat 20th Jul,20:30 - 24:00.
Tickets £10, £9 concessions, £6 Towner members, available online or by calling 01323 434670.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Bourne Chorus (music)

photo by Aspects Photography 
Performing soon for the first time at the Under Ground Theatre are eight talented vocalists who, together, are Bourne Chorus. Formed in 2010, the singers specialise in close vocal harmony and a capella song and have already built themselves quite a reputation locally. I asked soprano Tory MacDonald to tell me more about the group ...

tE: What inspired the creation of Bourne Chorus?
TM: The group came about after a few social evenings with a group of friends who all met at a Choir. We inevitably ended the evening by singing. Then we were asked to perform at a charity concert, which meant that we had to make a few decisions: What should we call ourselves? What shall we wear? Are we all really committed to this? And most importantly - What should we sing? After that first concert we realised that we had something special: a group of people who, as well as being great friends, could actually make a great sound together too - a winner all round!

tE: Who chooses the music that you sing (do you all agree easily!)?
TM: We have tried a number of styles of music over the last three years, which has helped us to find our likes and dislikes, our strengths and our weaknesses. It's true to say that we don't always agree with song choices, but in general we are able to find a programme for each concert with which we are all happy. We like to sing a mixture of styles, from Classical, through the Musicals, to Pop and more recently, Barbershop, which most of us really enjoy. We have also dabbled in Madrigals, which are more popular with some members than others!

tE: Can you divulge a few songs from the Under Ground set list?
TM: We will be singing many of our Bourne Chorus favourites, but have also introduced a number of new pieces. There are a couple of great arrangements of Beatles songs which we are particularly excited about. The concert programme is divided into Classical, Pop and Barbershop sections, and includes a duet, trio, and a quartet.

tE: What has been your personal highlight so far?
TM: Collectively I think we feel that our highlight has probably been winning the overall Singers’ Cup at The Eastbourne Music Festival for the last three years running. However, if you asked everyone individually I think they would all come up with personal anecdotes that make belonging to Bourne Chorus special to them. And perhaps some of those are best left unpublished!

TM: We are really looking forward to our first Concert at The Under Ground Theatre, and hope that we will have the opportunity to meet lots of new faces there. We all share a passion for singing and entertaining - we hope the audience will enjoy this Concert and all our future performances.

Bourne Chorus are Adrian White (Bass), Mark Whiston (Tenor), Sharon Jakeman (Alto), Jo Fowler (Alto), Tory Macdonald (Soprano), Ali Stewart (Soprano), Jennie Willer (Soprano) and Louise Soper (Tenor).

Under Ground Theatre,  Sat 27th July, 19:30.
Tickets: £11, members/concessions £10, available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Under Ground (Fri-Sat, 10-4) and Eastbourne Tourist Information Office.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Tempest (theatre)

Umbrellas are up, the skies are grey and that can only mean one thing. It's summer and time for the annual tradition of Shakespeare on the Seafront! This year's EODS production is The Tempest, the supernatural tale of a Duke and his daughter Miranda exiled on an enchanted island. I hear that the production is to be given an extra magical aspect devised by none other than Paul Daniels!

Prospero, Duke of Milan, usurped and exiled by his own brother, holds dominion over an enchanted island. He is comforted by his daughter Miranda and served by his spirit Ariel and deformed slave Caliban. When Prospero raises a storm to wreck his treacherous brother and his confederates on the island, his long thought out revenge at last seems within reach.
Italian Gardens, Wed 24th Jul to Sat 3rd Aug, 19:45, (except Sun 28th).
Tickets £16 and £13 general seating, £8 restricted view, available by calling 01323 412000 or in person at the Congress Theatre Box Office.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Ropemaker Theatre Company Variety Show auditions

A Facebook post yesterday by Sharon Davies of the Ropemaker Theatre Company drew my attention to a potential opportunity for specialty entertainers in the Hailsham area. You might remember their first production last year, the mistaken identity farce Comedy Of Terrors? Later on this year they are planning to stage a completely different one night show, a revival of vintage television variety show The Good Old Days which they will entitle Celebrating The Good Olde Days. The TV show ran for an amazing thirty years from 1953 to 1983 and recreated the atmosphere of the Victorian and Edwardian music halls. The audience would dress up and join in with community singing.

SD: Ropemaker are looking for speciality acts – jugglers, magicians, actors, singers, comedians, acrobats, snake charmers and, well, you get the message, to appear on the evening. Some acts have already been booked, but there’s plenty of room for more.

Auditions will be held on Saturday the 7th September, and need to be prebooked so if anyone is interested, or knows anybody who can ‘do a turn’, contact Hailsham Pavilion on 01323 841414 contact Ropemaker via their website. The performance will be on Saturday the 9th of November so prospective acts will need to be available on that night too!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dependent Rational Animals (art)

Dependent Rational Animals, 
Globe Gallery, Newcastle, 
I got my invitation email this morning for the Members' Preview of the second new Towner Gallery exhibition of the summer. The Preview is on the 12th of July with the exhibition opening on the 13th of July, the same day as the Lyons Teashops Lithographs.

Entitled Dependent Rational Animals, the work on show is a collaboration between two artists, Sally Underwood and Roxy Walsh, who began this project in 2011 by combining their painting and sculpture in order to explore how the two art forms can resonate with each other. The pair initially met some five years earlier and their current work is the result of many conversations over time about how their respective practices could also be brought to 'converse'. The photo illustrating this post was taken by Colin Davison and shows an aspect of Dependent Rational Animals as it was presented at Newcastle's Globe Gallery in December 2012. I am not sure if we will get to see exactly the same exhibition at the Towner or if it is still evolving. There are a couple of early photos of the three week installation process on Sally's website.

Sculptor Sally Underwood is currently resident in Berlin. She has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art (Sculpture) from Chelsea College of Art and Design and also a PGDip in Fine Art from the Royal Academy of Arts, London. She has been involved with group exhibitions in London, Manchester and Newcastle as well as in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Painter Roxy Walsh primarily works in watercolour but on a variety of surfaces including paper, gesso and directly onto walls. She too has exhibited within a group context across the UK and has also sent work across the Atlantic, to the Annika Sundvik Gallery in New York.

Towner Gallery, Sat 13th Jul to Sun 22nd Sep, 10:00-18:00.
Tue to Sun plus Bank Holiday Mondays.
Free admission.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Rake's Progress (opera)

Scenes from Verdi's La Traviata was the inaugural performance from Opera Coast last summer. The event was such a success that another workshop-and-performance is being held in 2013. Directed by Susannah Waters and accompanied by Nigel Foster on the piano, the soloists and chorus of Opera Coast will spend a weekend exploring key scenes from The Rake's Progress by Igor Stravinsky with the ultimate aim being the public performance of these Scenes on the Sunday evening. Musical Director Gregory Rose will introduce the performance and narration by Susannah Waters will fill in any gaps in the storyline so the audience doesn't get too lost! In keeping with their aim of bringing opera to a wider audience, Opera Coast want to encourage younger people to attend the performance and are offering free tickets to under 20s. For those of us of more mature years, tickets are £10.

Born out of a collection of paintings by William Hogarth and based on the wonderful libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, The Rake's Progress is a story of eternal confrontation between material pleasures and moral obligations within any human soul. For people 'in the know' the relvant scenes we shall see and hear are:
Act I, Scene 2: Mother Goose’s Brothel.
Act I, Scene 3: Anne’s Aria.
Act II, Scene 2: Tom’s House, London.
Act III, Scene 1: Auction.
Act III, Scene 2: Nick Shadow’s aria, Churchyard.
Act III, Scene 3: Bedlam.
There will also be an opportunity to meet and talk with the performers and organisers after the show.

Birley Centre, Sun 21st July, 18:00.
Tickets £10, under 20s free, available online, by calling 07821 761728, or in person at the Tourist Information Office.