Arts News July & August 2015

Snappers celebrate and exhibit

Bridgnorth and District Camera Club held their dinner and prize-giving at Bridgnorth Golf Club, where they saw a presentation of images submitted for competitions by members during the year. The club is always on the lookout for keen photographers, from the raw to the accomplished, and has a full programme running from September to May with competitions, studio nights, presentations and organised outings. Club nights are held on Thursday evenings at Bridgnorth Community Hall in Severn Street. The club will host their Photographic Exhibition at St Leonard’s Church from Monday 3 August until Sunday 16 August. For details visit

Joe Pasquale storms Oakengates

Comedy fans can see Joe Pasquale and his summer tour at Oakengates Theatre @ The Place on Saturday 8 August. Joe made his West End stage debut in 2013 as King Arthur in ‘Spamalot’, and now the squeaky-voiced national treasure is returning to his stand-up comedy roots with this one-man show. Tickets £18 from or call 01952 382382, or in person at Southwater One in Telford Town Centre.

Local artists display work

The annual art exhibition by members of Bridgnorth and District Art Society will be held at St Leonard’s Church, Bridgnorth from Friday 21 August until Saturday 5 September. This is a super opportunity to view the work done by members, with many pieces for sale.

Double take at Wightwick

Bring along your picnics, blankets and folding chairs to enjoy two wonderful open-air productions at Wightwick Manor. ‘The Wind in the Willows’ featuring Ratty, Mole and of course Mr Toad will be staged on Saturday 4 July at 5pm; ‘Hamlet’ will follow on Thursday 13 August and Friday 14 August at 6.30pm. Folksy Theatre’s open-air family productions are filled with audience interaction, high-energy performances and outright silliness. Booking essential; Tickets for adults are £12, children £8, concessions £8, families £35; 01698 854409 or

Jane Austen in apt setting

An outdoor adaptation of Pride and Prejudice will have Attingham Park as a most fitting backdrop on Friday 14 August at 7pm. It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s masterpiece is one of the best-loved stories of all time, dealing with the most important questions in life. The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons Theatre Company give this literary favourite a fresh retelling in this hilarious and innovative new outing. Booking essential; Tickets: adults £13, children £8, family £40, from 01742 708170.

Otis Gibbs returns to Birchmeadow

Otis Gibbs is an American alt-country singer-songwriter hailing from Wanamaker, Indiana. He has a delightful, enjoyable, and amusing way of presenting himself. Despite his gentle and un-pushy style, his strong and meaningful song-writing and musicianship leap out, and are worth every penny of the ticket price, for this, his fifth visit to Broseley’s Birchmeadow Centre on Saturday 18 July. Tickets £9 in advance from or or £10 on the door.

Time travellers’ Ironbridge quest

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and Meadow Arts have secured a grant from Arts Council England to produce ‘Shifting Worlds’, a spectacular programme of contemporary arts events running throughout the summer and winter. To kick the programme off, the House of Fairy Tales, a national children’s arts charity, will be producing ‘The Time Travellers’ Ironbridge Quest’. This is a free family festival taking over Enginuity and Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron on Saturday 22 August. Families will follow a trail with games, clues, tasks, challenges and artist-led workshops. Storytellers, artists and performers will transform the Coalbrookdale site into a giant festival venue. There will be free admission to Enginuity, Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron and the Darby Houses on the day.

Bridgnorth photography festival

Having had a very successful competition last year, the Bridgnorth Music and Arts Festival will be staging another photography competition with the theme ‘YOU’. Judge Ian Bunch said, “We want to know what makes you tick, what makes you the person you are. Create three images that tell us the story of You. This is an excellent opportunity to show off your creative genius… and maybe win a prize too.”

Full details and rules are available at and

Lone Pine Club at Carding Mill Valley

Pentabus Theatre is touring the UK with an adaptation of Malcolm Saville’s beloved children’s book ‘The Lone Pine Club’ and will be appearing at Carding Mill Valley from Friday 18 to Sunday 26 July. Aimed at young people aged 8+ and their families, the play explores the freedom children should have in the countryside. The Lone Pine series started with Mystery at Witchend in 1943, in which five children form a secret society soon to become embroiled in adventures and mysteries. Tickets £15-£7.50 from National Trust Box Office: 0844 249 1895 or

Oliver Twist Weekend

Love ‘Oliver’!? Dress up in character for a themed weekend based on Charles Dickens’ celebrated novel, Oliver Twist over the August Bank Holiday. Watch scenes from the book re-enacted around Blists Hill Victorian Town and expect to meet the Artful Dodger and Fagin, and join in some Dickensian fun. Saturday 29 to Monday 31 August. Museum entrance fees apply. Call 01952 433424 or visit

Lino workshop

Local artist Amanda Hillier will be holding a linoprinting Workshop at Jackfield Tile Museum, near Ironbridge, on Saturday 11 July from 10am to 4pm. Participants will have the opportunity to create a unique print from hand-carved lino. Amanda has her own studio at Fusion at the Museum. Pre-booking is essential; £45 per person including tuition, materials, lunch and refreshments; suitable for those aged 14 and above. Call 01952 929032 or visit

The Bridgnorth alphabet

Bridgnorth artist Lisa J Wilson chose an interesting way to photograph Bridgnorth – and her print became an internet sensation. Lisa, who is a third year graphic design student at Wolverhampton University, was tasked with creating an unconventional alphabet as part of a project. So she set about finding shapes and objects around the town that made various letters. “There are some lovely, decorative parts of Bridgnorth that are quite hidden or can be passed by unnoticed. It was a fun project to do – although some letters were easier to find than others!”

When she posted the results on social media, the response was overwhelming, “People kept asking if they could buy a copy,” Lisa told What’s What! “So I’ve had some printed in both black and white and colour as A3 posters.” Posters cost £5 and all proceeds will be donated to Stacey’s Trust, a local charity which offers bereavement support for children and young people. Find Lisa’s shop at

Bukafest at Crown

On Sunday 30 August ‘BukaFest’ will take over The Crown in Bridgnorth for what is set to be its biggest and best event so far. This year, the five friends from popular local band Midset Buka have chosen to support local parents Gemma and Ashley Brown in raising money and improving awareness for Cameron’s Fund at Asthma UK. Midset Buka will be hosting BukaFest from 1pm, welcoming other local artists to the stage such as The Newsmen, Rhi and Ed, and Living Proof.

Theatrical masterclass sell-out

Theatre Severn recently played host to local specialised Theatre Compan, Key Theatre Academy, who organised a masterclass for budding performers and theatre lovers of all ages. The sell-out event featured top professionals including West End and Broadway star Kerry Ellis, RSC associate Jonjo O’Neill, ‘Les Mis’ director Christopher Key and Alfonso Casado, Musical Director of ‘Miss Saigon’ in London.

Students of Key Theatre Academy Much Wenlock are due to perform in ‘Comedy Tonight’ on Thursday 2 July, while students from Shrewsbury will be making their debut in a theatrical showcase on July 18, with both events at The Edge, Much Wenlock. Tickets from or call 01952 728911.

Cinema date for students

PQA Theatre group are set to hire out Bridgnorth’s Majestic Cinema on Sunday 5 July for a special screening of 10 films created by students. “We plan to give students a full red carpet experience at the showing, with a film crew from the sister academy in Wolverhampton documenting the event,” said director Julian Elcock. “Students have been working under the guidance of a film and TV teacher and professional actress, Kerry Rousell, and have spent the last 10 months producing films ready for the show which include animation, thrillers and comedies.”

Band marks milestone with Queen’s composer

The Alveley village band celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and to mark the milestone there will be a special concert in the town’s Saint Mary’s Church on Saturday 18 July at 7.30pm. The concert will feature a piece specially written for the band by the first female Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir, as well as favourites by Nicholas Jones and Vaughan Williams. Tickets £7.50, children free, from 01746 780478 or on the door. The band are also providing the musical accompaniment to the Open Gardens event in St Mary’s Street, Bridgnorth on Sunday 12 July.

Summer soiree with a twist

A fan of Desert Island Discs? The Severn Singers will be performing live versions of te Paralympic gold medallist Danielle Brown’s favourite tunes at Astbury Hall on Saturday 4 July. The evening, put together by David Carr and Madge Shineton, was borne out of the pair hearing Danielle’s compelling and inspirational story. She was struck down with an auto-immune disease when she was 11 years old, leaving her paralysed from the waist downwards. Undeterred, Danielle took up archery, winning gold at the Beijing and London Olympics. In-between Olympics she also completed a first class law degree. The evening will raise funds for the Severn Hospice and guests will be welcomed with a drink and music from a jazz band. Tickets, to include BBQ, £35 from Cleobury Hospice Shop: 01299 271391 or 01299 270555.

The Tempest al fresco

The Rain or Shine Theatre Company is presenting ‘The Tempest’ to audiences at open-air venues around Shropshire this summer. Shakespeare’s magical and mysterious masterpiece 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 dry clothes. This is no ordinary isle, it is one ruled by a sorcerer who controls minds and can conjure up spirits at will. Bring your own seating.

The tour includes performances at The Lock Inn, Wolverley on Sunday 5 July at 4pm, call 01562 850581; Severn Valley Country Park, Alveley on Friday 14 August at 7.30pm – 01746 781192; Witley Court nr Worcester on Saturday 15 August at 7.30pm; Stokesay Castle, Craven Arms on Thursday 27 August at 7.30pm and Wenlock Priory, Much Wenlock on Saturday 29 August at 7.30pm – 01452 521575 for tickets for latter three venues or for all venues go to

Brassed up

The Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival will take place over the weekend of 11 and 12 July on the Green at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron. Now in its 11th year, this free family event showcases some of the finest brass bands from Shropshire and the surrounding counties. With some 20 bands performing, it’s the largest, non-competitive brass band festival in the country. Performances begin at 10.30am on Saturday and continue until 5.30pm, while on Sunday they take place from 10.30am until 6.30pm. Bar drinks and light refreshments will be available to purchase.

A ticketed charity gala open-air concert in aid of the Severn Hospice will take place on Saturday 11 July from 7.30pm featuring the Jaguar Land Rover and Jackfield Elcock Reisen brass bands; covered seating will be provided, or bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic on the grass. Tickets cost £10 from 07583 279 608; find out more at

Local artist in stock at Roobarb

Cards by Burwarton artist and illustrator Meg Hawkins are now being stocked in Roobarb, the lifestyle and gift shop on Waterloo Terrace, Bridgnorth. Meg, who took the thumb shots for What’s What! on page 3, is a full-time photographer and started drawing after encouragement from family and friends. Since then, she’s developed a range of cards featuring animals including stags and owls, quirky characters and angels and is now moving into framed pictures and a range of china mugs.

Marcia Dale from Roobarb said, “The first time we saw Meg’s illustrations, we were very impressed. Her designs are just up our street, and complement our current card range. We’re also very pleased to be supporting a local artist.”

William Tell live

An afternoon treat for opera lovers will be a live screening of The Royal Opera Company’s new production of Willam Tell. The opera is considered by many to be Rossini’s greatest music, with its harmonically daring and fiercely difficult score. Italian rising star Damiano Michieletto makes his Royal Opera House debut. The showing will be at 2.45pm on Sunday 5 July at the Edge, Much Wenlock and also at Bridgnorth Majestic Cinema.

Choral society’s summer concert

Bridgnorth Choral Society will be performing music for a summers evening on Saturday 4 July at Bridgnorth Baptists Church. The choir will be singing uplifting songs including old favourites such as ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story and the popular ‘You Raise Me Up’. Musical director Derek Westwood has arranged many of the songs for the choir and soprano soloist Jayne Davies will perform Mendelssohn’s ‘O for the Wings of a Dove’. The choir will be joined by Encore, the vocal group from Oldbury Wells School. Tickets £6 from That’s Nice, Bridgnorth.

Free street ceilidh at festival celebrations

Shrewsbury’s annual Folk Festival will introduce a free street ceilidh as part of this year’s town centre celebrations. The ceilidh will take place in The Square on Saturday 29 August following a colourful parade of morris sides and dance teams that will travel from the Castle through Pride Hill and the High Street. The dance, which is suitable for all ages and abilities, will be open to everyone and is free.
Headliners at this year’s four-day event include two acts who have previously appeared at Broseley’s Birchmeadow, Steve Knightley and O’Hooley and Tidow, as well as Richard Thompson Electric Trio, Oysterband, Kate Rusby, Los Angeles-based folk-rockers Dawes, The Spooky Men’s Chorale, The Young’uns, world music duo Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, False Lights and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
The festival has four music stages, a dance tent, more than 100 workshops, children’s and youth programmes, a craft fair, and real ale and wine bars. Tickets can be booked through or direct at
pics folk festival


NT Live: Everyman

BAFTA winner and Academy Award® nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) takes the title role in this dynamic new production of one of English drama’s oldest plays, directed by the National Theatre’s new director Rufus Norris. Everyman is successful, popular and riding high when Death comes calling. He is forced to abandon the life he has built and embark on a last, frantic search to recruit a friend, anyone, to speak in his defence. But Death is close behind, and time is running out.

One of the great primal, spiritual myths, Everyman asks whether it is only in death that we can understand our lives. A cornerstone of English drama since the 15th century, it now explodes onto the stage in a startling production with words by Carol Ann Duffy and movement by Javier De Frutos.

Thursday 16 July, 7pm at The Edge Much Wenlock and Bridgnorth Majestic Cinema.

Merchant streamed live

Grab your chance to see the Royal Shakespeare Company in action with this live streaming of the Bard’s great tragedy, ‘The Merchant of Venice’, which deals with themes of money, trust and simmering racial tensions and features characters Portia, Antonio and Shylock. Hot from her lavish production of ‘Treasure Island’ at the National, Polly Findlay tackles Shakespeare’s troubling and complex work.

Wednesday 22 July, 7pm at the Edge Much Wenlock and Bridgnorth Majestic Cinema.


On Key

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