Arts News May & June 2015

Printmaking masterclass

Printmaker Angela Harding from Rutland will be running a block printing masterclass at Twenty Twenty in Much Wenlock on Saturday 9 May. This workshop is for both beginners and experienced printmakers who would like to learn cutting and printing techniques using vinyl/block. Places are limited to eight, and the cost of the workshop is £120. Call 01952 727952 to book.

The Tempest cometh

The Rain or Shine Theatre Company returns to Kinlet Hall on Friday 12 June with Shakespeare’s magical and mysterious masterpiece – a play that encompasses comic capers, romantic encounters, villainous plots and a host of apparitions and spirits. Washed up on an unknown isle after a tempestuous storm at sea, survivors of a shipwreck are amazed to find themselves alive, without injury and wearing clothes that are dry and clean! Welcome to Prospero’s island, a place where much is not as it seems and long-held secrets will be revealed…

Grounds open for pre-performance picnics at 6pm; show starts at 7.30pm. Bring your own low-backed seating. Tickets are £13.50 adults, £11.50 for concessions and £6.50 for children. Call 01299 841230.

A orderly pew…

The ill-fated Proms in the Park event, as a result of our British weather, has actually been held inside Bridgnorth’s St Mary Magdalene’s Church every year since it started. This year it’s been moved inside permanently with a new billing: Proms in the Pews! Bridgnorth Sinfonia will be joined by the junior section of the Bridgnorth Musical Theatre Company, local choir Cadence and talented saxophone quartet Me and 3. There will be the usual proms favourites including ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘Rule Britannia’ performed by Bridgnorth’s own soprano Becky Turner.

Summer orchestral concerts

Telford Orchestra’s summer concert is made up of classical music inspired by landscapes in the northern hemisphere and will include ‘Peer Gynt Suite No 1’ by Grieg, Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ and Sibelius’ ‘Karelia Suite’. Saturday 20 June, 7.30pm at St Michaels Church Madeley, Telford. Tickets £8 or pay on the door; students free. Call 01952 884416.

Bridgnorth Sinfonia’s annual summer concert will include Debussy’s popular ‘Petite Suite’, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Mozartiana’ and a Weber bassoon concerto with local music teacher Felicity Stubbs as soloist. ‘Mozartiana’ is an orchestration by Tchaikovsky of several piano pieces by Mozart plus an orchestral setting of Mozart’s famous ‘Ave Verum Corpus’. Saturday 27 June at St Mary Magdelene Church, Bridgnorth.

Transatlantic duo in Broseley

James Hickman and Dan Cassidy, a transatlantic duo inspired by the traditions of America and Britain, will be playing Broseley’s Birchmeadow on Saturday 9 May. Combining soaring vocals, guitar and ‘virtuoso’ fiddling, the music meanders between British and American folk, bursting with the humour, heartbreak and excitement of each. The lively English wit of Hickman is set against Cassidy’s bone-dry irony and American drawl as they embark on a dynamic journey. Doors 7.30pm Tickets £9 advance or £10 on the door

Bridgnorth players recreate classic

In this centenary year of Orson Welles’ birth, the Bridgnorth Players are set to recreate his infamous production, ‘War of the Worlds’. The show was first broadcast on Halloween 1938 and mass panic ensued as millions of Americans thought that a real martian invasion was underway. The play is set at the CBS studio as the broadcast takes place, with sound effects being manually produced by the cast and audience. As usual the theatre group will be touring the local area with this production throughout May, appearing on Friday 8 at the Birchmeadow Centre, Broseley; Saturday 9 at Sheriffhales Village Hall; Friday 15 at the Severn Centre, Highley and concluding on Saturday 16 May at the Community Hall, Low Town, Bridgnorth. Shows start at 7.30pm and tickets are £8/£6.50 from 01746 764514 or

First for Haydn festival

The English Haydn Festival, now in its 22nd year, has secured the UK premiere and first performance since the 18th century of German composer JC Bach‘s ‘Sinfonia Concertante in G’. The composition was discovered in the Moscow Glinka Museum by the orchestra’s Russian cellist Pavel Serbin. It will be performed in Bridgnorth’s St Leonard’s Church as part of the five-day festival, which welcomes the return of Christophe Coin, considered the world’s leading player of the violoncello, and international pianist Yoko Kaneko, who will be performing Beethoven‘s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ on Friday 5 June in St Mary‘s Church. The festival, which runs from Wednesday 3 to Sunday 7 June, will also feature a host of classical stars.

Organiser Mike Proudman says, “The theme of this year’s festival is Haydn’s interest in the natural world, which he interpreted in musical terms in many of his compositions. His influence on the music scene of the 18th century cannot be underestimated…later composers, such as Prokofiev, pay homage to his greatness.”

The Festival was founded in 1993 by the late John Reid in association with Professor HC Robbins Landon, a leading expert on Haydn, as a joint venture with Bridgnorth District Council. It is supported by the Town Council, Arts Council, Festival Friends, local businesses and private sponsors. To join the Friends, call 07547 289704 or for bookings 07547 289704 or visit

Ellesmere’s national art exhibition

Over 90 artists and sculptors from all over the UK will converge on Ellesmere College from 28-31 May for a four-day exhibition which will include up to 350 pieces of art, plus workshops and viewings. Maximillion Baccanello, who has gained an international reputation as a portrait painter, will be running workshops exploring a variety of techniques and tools. With over 600 visitors last year, the show aims to raise the profile of the arts in the region. Nick Pettingale of Ellesmere College says, “This is a super opportunity to see the work of local and national professional artists and sculptors, with something for every taste and pocket as much of the art will be for sale.”

A preview hosted by patron Algy Heber-Percy, Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, will kick off the exhibition on Wednesday 27 May. Opening hours are 11am to 9pm.


Persuasion at Severn valley

Hotbuckle Productions Theatre Company will be staging an outdoor theatre performance of Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’ at Severn Valley Country Park on Friday 19 June. Hotbuckle are based in Shrewsbury and are known for their adaptations of classic literature. The story is a timeless one: Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth are hopelessly in love. Persuaded by her family that he is not the man for her, Anne ends their engagement and a heartbroken Frederick leaves for sea. Anne spends eight years regretting her decision – but when her beau returns, having made his fortune and seeking a wife ‘with strength of mind and a resolute character’, he treats Anne with cold indifference. Will he ever forgive her?

Grounds open for pre-performance picnics at 6pm, show starts at 7.30pm. Bring your own low-backed seating. Tickets are £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and £6 for children 01746 781192.

Midge Ure at Theatre Severn

Ten years after Band Aid and Live Aid, Midge Ure wrote his fourth solo album ‘Breathe’. In a departure from the electronic sound of Ultravox, this album has a Celtic feel, using acoustic instruments from uilleann pipes to mandolins and accordions alongside Midge’s trademark soaring riffs. The album went triple platinum and was a massive success all over Europe.

Midge will perform the whole of ‘Breathe’, accompanied by musicians from India Electric Co, as well as hits such as ‘Vienna’ and ‘Dancing with Tears in My Eyes’ at Theatre Severn on Thursday 7 May. Tickets £19.50 – call 01743 281281 or visit

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming’

From the land of the Northern Lights, Bålfolket – ‘people of primal fire’ – will be performing at Highley’s Severn Centre on Sunday 7 June. Also playing will be Andy Letcher from the band Telling the Bees and Philip Shallcrass, also known as Greywolf. Bålfolket, many of whom live within the Arctic Circle in their home country of Norway, will be making their Shropshire debut. Drawing their inspiration from Sami, Kven and Norse as well as from rivers, mountains, fjords and the wonder of the Northern Lights, they play traditional Sami-style shamanic frame drums with reindeer-hide skins and sing in the traditional style called ‘joiking’. Tickets £12 from 01746 860000; call Elaine on 01746 861992 or visit

Peter Duncan in Birdsong

Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan is set to appear as a miner Jack Firebrace in the gritty WW1 drama ‘Birdsong’, based on the Sebastian Faulks novel. Peter will be joined on stage by Max Bowden from BBC television’s Waterloo Road in this moving adaptation. Faulks said, “This is the definitive version of ‘Birdsong’ on stage…there is something about the way the production works which makes people identify and think – “it could be me”…”

‘Birdsong’ runs from Monday 22 to Saturday 27 June. For tickets, call 01743 281281 or visit

Childrens art workshops

American artist Angela Edwards-Sowdon of Elemental Arts is offering workshops and classes for children at the Fusion Centre at Jackfield, as well as drop-in sessions during school holidays. Angela says “My workshops allow anyone to paint; no experience is needed. I love seeing the way children get more creative as they build confidence.” Classes for ages 6 and up are held the first two Thursdays of the month from 4.30-6.30pm and from 11-4pm during school holidays. It’s wise to contact Angela beforehand on 01952 371896 or book online at

Royal ballet in Shrewsbury

The Birmingham Royal Ballet, the UK’s premiere touring ballet, will be performing at Theatre Severn at the end of May. The varied programme features work from new choreographers through to some of the greats of British ballet, all performed to live music from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. The three ballets include the very technical ‘Les Rendezvous’ by Frederick Ashton which was first performed in 1933; ‘Kin’, an exciting work from Royal Opera House choreographic consultant Alexander Whitley which received its premiere at the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014; and ‘Elite Syncopations’, a brilliantly coloured ballet with vibrant ragtime favourites by Scott Joplin. There is a pre-show talk on Wednesday 27 May at 6.30pm. Tickets can be booked via or call 01743 281281.

Comedy at the Edge

If you fancy something a little left of centre, why not pop along to The Edge to see Ian D Montford, the renowned psychic who’s not quite what he seems… Ian is the brainchild of comic Tom Binns; he’s a quick-witted comical character whose connection with the spirit world seems spookily accurate… The show won Best International Act at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Saturday 13 June 7.30pm at The Edge, Much Wenlock; tickets £8 from 01952 728911 or

‘To check the tide of prejudice’

A fascinatingly-titled exhibition at Coalbrookdale Gallery, near Ironbridge brings together John Cooke Bourne’s lithographs, original sketches and wash drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway during the 1830s. The exhibition explores the picturesque yet political tone to the works, which depict a world about to be connected in a wholly new way – to the displeasure of many of the landed gentry through whose estates the new routes cut. Bourne’s illustrations were deliberately designed “to check the tide of prejudice against us and display the powers, capabilities and effects [of the railway].” The show is particularly fascinating in view of the current debate, some 180 years later, surrounding HS2. Open 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday until Thursday 10 September. Free. For details call 01952 433424 or visit

Callaughton rocks!

A rock’n’roll evening featuring ‘Buddy Holly and the Cricketers’ will be held at Callaughton on Saturday 13 June, organised by the Wheatland Hunt. The band will be playing a couple of sets with a disco inbetween. Doors open at 7.30pm with the first set starting at 8pm. Tickets £20, or £15 for under 25s, to include a barbecue. Licensed bar and prize for best 60s costume. Contact or call 07970 659697.

Boyzone play Telford

Irish Pop sensations Boyzone are set to play a headline show at the QEII Fields In Trust Town Park Arena, Telford on Saturday 27 June at part of the T-Party. Heartthrob Ronan Keating says, “We love the chance to play outdoors through the summer so I’m looking forward to a great night in Telford.” Twenty one singles, seven albums – four of which were number one – 25m record sales, hundreds of gigs, millions of memories and twenty two years into their career, Boyzone are going strong and will be performing numbers such as ‘Love Me For A Reason’ and ‘Picture of You’.

“It’s real coup for Telford to be welcoming yet another major international act,”said Councillor Shaun Davies. Tickets £35/£30 from in person at the theatre and Southwater One or call 01952 382382.

Media city madness

A trip to BBC Media City in Salford was enjoyed by students from the Pauline Quirke Academy. Older students visited the main studios while the younger ones toured the CBBC studios. The tours explored newsrooms, radio studios, the Blue Peter set and a sound recording studio, where students learned about sound effects and techniques for changing voices. The highlight was the opportunity to sit in the chair of a judge’s from The Voice. The students also recreated a news and weather report using green screen technology and links by the stars of BBC and CBBC News. “It was fabulous to have the chance to use equipment themselves,” said film and TV teacher Kerry Rousell.

Shropshire Hills Arts Week

The Shropshire Hills Arts Week kicks off on Sunday 31 May and runs till Monday 8 June. The event features 40 artists and designers opening up their studios for visitors to view their work; participants range from embroiderer Mary Campbell in Leintwardine to painters Steve Keating, Ian Collett and Rose Perry in All Stretton; stonemasons Will and Lottie O’Leary in Knucklas to muralist Martin Jordan in Horderley and painter Susie Church in Ludlow.

Organiser Jules McRobbie says, “There is such a wealth of talent in Shropshire and I’m hoping visitors will enjoy meeting the artists face to face, be inspired by the artists’ stories and maybe take an original piece of art home.”

The event is sponsored by local brewer Hobsons and exhibitions are free; many are family friendly and offer refreshments.

See or pick up an Art Trail Map from libraries.


Calling Shropshire artists and designers

A new Bridgnorth-based company has been set up to champion artists and designers living and working in Shropshire. Buy-From Brightcore is an online store for gifts, gadgets and home products and is the brainchild of local lass Louise Welsby. “I’m passionate about the county and the creativity it inspires,” explains Louise. “I’ve been working hard to source products that are innovative, clever, creative and local!” If you’re interested in selling your work online, or in buying unique local items, visit or contact Louise on 01746 765452 or

Community pop performance

The Bridgnorth Community Pop Choir will perform their second concert at Bridgnorth Leisure Centre on Saturday 9 May starting at 6pm. The concert is in aid of Oak Farm at Ditton Priors and the Choir hopes to build on the success of their first event, which saw an audience of 200 raise £400 for charity. Organiser Simon Whitmore is keen to showcase emerging talent and Sam George of Womborne was the previous guest performer. This time round a Bridgnorth youngster, 15-year-old Katrina Themans, currently a scholarship student at London’s Barbara Speake Stage School, will perform songs from much-loved musicals. Tickets £3 on the door or from 07904 556763 or email

Make a date for Festival

2015 marks a significant milestone in the history of the Bridgnorth Music and Arts Festival as it celebrates its 10th year. Running from Friday 28 August until Sunday 6 September, the festival is now the biggest free event of its kind in Shropshire. When the Bridgnorth Folk Festival moved to Shrewsbury in 2005, it left a musical void that needed filling…and the Bridgnorth Festival was born.

It spans 10 days, supports a local and a national charity and accommodates a diverse selection of artists and entertainers; it features music, photography, art exhibitions, comedy, film, poetry and literary evenings and spreads across pubs, cafes and bars. It all culminates on Quayside, Castle Grounds and the Edgar Davies Ground. Put the date in your diary now! For previews visit or see the Bridgnorthmusicandartsfestival on facebook.

Emmerdale’s villain

Jason Merrells, who played Emmerdale villain Declan Macey, is to lead the cast in an upcoming tour of ‘Twelve Angry Men’. Following a record-breaking run in London’s Garrick Theatre, where the production was hailed by The Sunday Telegraph as ‘the classiest and most intelligent show in the West End’, the show is playing at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from Monday 18 to Saturday 23 May.

Jason will play juror number 8, the role made famous by Henry Fonda. Taking his place on the jury alongside Jason is fellow TV bad guy Andrew Lancel, best known for playing villainous businessman Frank Foster in Coronation Street. The plot follows 12 jurors who have a life in their hands as they decide the fate of a young delinquent accused of killing his father. But what appears to be an open and shut case soon becomes a dilemma, as prejudices and preconceptions twist and turn until the nail-biting climax…

Tickets from £12.50 to £27 from


Artists studios at centre

North Shropshire MP Owen Patterson recently visited The British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry to view the studios available to help budding artists, particularly sculptors. During the visit, centre chairman Clive Knowles explained, “To attract talented artists we offer free facilities, use of tooling expertise and sharing of resources, which enables artists and other micro businesses to cooperate, and offers an environment of collaborative support.”



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