Category Archives: Arts and Culture

DRAMA AT VALLEY OF ROCKS

“I always thought it was an otherworldly and magical location, a place where imagination meets reality, and I can think of nowhere more fitting to perform in,” enthuses the Creative Director of the Pleasure Dome Theatre Company, Helena Payne, who is putting on a series of theatrical outdoor performances at the iconic Valley of Rocks on Exmoor this summer.

The Importance of Being Earnest is being staged from 8 – 26 August and Lorna Doone from 29 August – 2 September. Lorna Doone was an obvious choice; a local story woven into the very fabric of the Exmoor landscape. The Importance of Being Earnest is perhaps less so. However, Helena liked the idea of trying something completely different. “The play is a parlour farce where the characters engage in glittering witticisms and immaculate manners, so why not stick them on a cliff edge, amongst the goats and buffeted by the elements to see how they cope? By making bold decisions, we force ourselves to be more creative. We are looking forward to staging both plays enormously.”

The Pleasure Dome Theatre Company is a young, professional collective keen to bring accessible, open-air entertainment to both the local community and the many holidaymakers visiting Exmoor. The company also provides outreach programmes and offers local opportunities to work within a professional company to aspiring youngsters and enthusiastic older members of the locale alike.

Helena spent her childhood summers scrabbling up and down the Valley of Rocks, creating plays and dreaming of pirates and fairies, so when it came to finding an outdoor location in which to perform, there was no contest.

Jennette Baxter, Development Manager for Visit Exmoor, welcomes the productions. “We are delighted the company has chosen Valley of Rocks as its setting this summer. The dramatic productions combined with the sheer theatricality of the landscape is a real draw for visitors and local alike.”

Tickets cost £15 per adult, £10 for under 16s and over 65s and £45 for a Family Ticket. Shows start at 7.30pm (or 3.00 pm for the matinees) but visitors are free to arrive at any time to explore valley or enjoy a picnic in the sunshine. A percentage of every ticket sold goes towards CareMoor www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor  for Exmoor.

People can book tickets online by going to the PDTC home page www.pleasuredometheatrecompany.com and click on the links (easy to see) – they can download the tickets to their smartphone or print them off. Alternatively, if they prefer to pay by cash, they can pop in to one of the National Park Centres where their tickets can be booked through the online system.

Please note: It can get chilly in the evening, so bring warm clothing, blankets and cushions.

If rain is due, the production will be moved to Lynton Town Hall www.visitlyntonandlynmouth.com/about/lynton-town-hall (updates will be available on the Pleasure Dome Theatre Facebook page www.facebook.com/Pleasure-Dome-Theatre-Company-1715218008763869/).
More info: www.pleasuredometheatrecompany.com

PHOTO: Valley of Rocks by Mike Watson, from our autumn 2014 walking feature.

GALLERY4ART AT HALSWAY MANOR

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, is proud to present a week of Art inspired by the Somerset countryside in its house and grounds this August. The Somerset group of professional artists, Gallery4Art, will be showcasing their contemporary artworks in a colourful exhibition from Monday 7  to Friday 11 August. Entry will be free to view the work and paintings, and prints and sculpture will be available to buy at affordable prices.

“Gallery4Art never fail to put on a dazzling array of interesting art – we just wish we could take it all home with us.”  Visitor to G4A’s 2016 Halsway exhibition.

Running alongside the exhibition will be a day of workshops so you can try your hand at techniques used by the artists. On Tuesday 8 August you can choose from experimental screen printing with Jim Munnion, textiles with Sarah Meikle, wire and mixed media sculpture with Mel Deegan, wildlife willow sculpture with Sophie Courtiour or whimsical watercolour painting with Alison Jacobs.

The workshops cost £65 per person and this includes materials. No previous experience is required, and full support and advice will be given by the artists who are all experienced tutors. For more information and details on how to book go online to halswaymanor.org.uk/event/summer-exhibition-of-contemporary-art/

To book on workshops or activities please phone Halsway Manor (this is recommended as places fill fast) on 01984 618274


FAUSTUS AT HALSWAY MANOR

Catch Faustus, the pioneering, “bloke folk” triumvirate  of Benji Kirkpatrick, Paul Sartin & Saul Rose as they return to Halsway Manor for a live gig on Thursday 6 July at 8pm.

Previously nominated for the Best Group Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and Artist In Residence at Halsway Manor Centre for Folk Arts across 2016 supported by funding from Arts Council England, Faustus brings to the stage three of the leading lights of their generation: Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweazel, War Horse), Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast). They have a plethora of experience between them, brought together here in a virtuosic display of musicianship and testosterone representing the best in the current vibrant English folk scene.

Faustus released their acclaimed third album, ‘Death and Other Animals’, in October 2016, tackling head-on subjects from the Dance of Death to the plight of the common man, sand-swallowed ships to mythical black dogs. The album has huge local resonance as it was researched, rehearsed and recorded at Halsway Manor on the Quantock Hills, during Faustus’ time as Artists in Residence. Beastly good” said Folking.com, “Modern day folk Buccaneers… so blindingly dazzling you’ll need to don a pair of RayBans before listening,” said LouderThanWar.com.

Faustus are leading a course ‘From Page to Performance’ halswaymanor.org.uk/event/faustus-from-page-to-performance/  at Halsway in the run-up to the gig, and the evening will open with performances by participants, before the mighty Faustus take to the stage!

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a Charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills Halsway Manor provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. There’s ample free parking onsite, a bar and – of course – beautiful atmospheric settings for concerts with wonderful acoustics, and a chance to catch-up with the artists over a drink afterwards!

Tickets for ‘Faustus’ are priced at £10, with a concessionary price of £4 for children and full time students of any age. Call 01984 618274 (option 1), email office@halswaymanor.org.uk or buy securely online www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

BARNSTAPLE’S ANNUAL BLAST OF SMALL-SCALE THEATRE FUN IS BACK

This year’s Fringe TheatreFest is back in Barnstaple from Thursday 29 June, animating venues across the town in a riot of theatre, dance and live performance.

Featuring over 60 shows from across the UK from Thursday 29th June until Sunday 2nd July, TheatreFest is building on ten years of experience and has added a whole raft of outdoor shows and shows in informal spaces to the long established venue programme: Shakespeare on the grass, hi-jinx in the high street, magic in cafes, dancing on benches and much, much more.

Some old favourites returning to TheatreFest include Monday Collective with A Trip Down Theatre Lane – a journey back to the roots of theatre in Barnstaple, told by minstrels, jugglers and buffoons; Multi Story Theatre Company with Fit for Purpose – a story without words; and Rob Gee with Fruitcake – Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward.

When you hear laughter resounding around the town head down to The Square where you’ll discover The Tent, the venue for family shows. Audiences lucky enough to get a ticket will be able to catch Fractured Theatre with Clowns of the Baskervilles; Lucky Dog Theatre Productions with Hats off to Laurel & Hardy; Seska with Seska Fruit Salad; Wild Toy Theatre with The Fisher-Knight’s Tale and Autojeu Theatre with The Organised Chaos.

Fringe TheatreFest was founded back in 2007 by Bill Buffery & Gill Nathanson of Multi Story Theatre Company. Bill is confident that the 2017 event is the biggest and best that it’s ever been. He says “2017 is going to be huge with double the number of shows! We’ll be in some of our usual places – St Anne’s Arts Centre, The Baptist Hall and back in The Golden Lion Tap where we were for a number of years. And then we’ve got new venues – The Guildhall, an extra space at The Baptist Hall and a big Tent on the Square. Added to that, we’ve got a large programme of work in outside spaces and town centre cafes.

“With The Queen’s Theatre unavailable this year we’re going to miss the support of the Queen’s staff, but we’re thrilled that many of them are volunteering with us to make sure that Barnstaple gets its annual blast of small-scale theatre fun.”

The growth of this year’s Fringe has also meant that more volunteers than ever before are involved in getting the show, literally on the road. Gill is thrilled by the unstinting enthusiasm of this large volunteer force. She says: “Our volunteers are Fringe TheatreFest. And this year there’s a bigger volunteer force than ever – which is just as well because Fringe TheatreFest is bigger than ever. It’s great to have such a big team and this year we’re able to work with younger people too.

“We’re also incredibly grateful to our partners and supporters including Barnstaple Town Centre Management, Barnstaple Town Council, The Bridge Trust, Samuels Solicitors, Smiths Solicitors, Rosie Bracher Solicitors, Barnstaple Museum, Golden Lion Tap, Park School, Barnstaple Coffee Shop, The Bike Shed and St John’s Garden Centre. We were also fortunate enough to secure a grant from the Celebrate England Big Lottery Fund which has allowed us to present so much outside work.”

 The full line-up for Fringe TheatreFest 2017 can be viewed online at www.theatrefest.co.uk.

Tickets and Frequent Fringer Vouchers for cash or cheque are available from Re:Store in Boutport Street, Barnstaple
and from Fringe TheatreFest venues from the opening day of the festival – Thursday 29th June.

ACTOR JIM CARTER ANNOUNCED AS PATRON OF SHROUDS OF THE SOMME

The Shrouds of the Somme team are delighted to announce that Jim Carter is Patron of the project.


Jim Carter is perhaps best known to today‘s audiences  for his portrayal of Mr Carson, the butler, in ITV’s hit drama Downton Abbey, for which he has received four nominations as Best Supporting Actor at the Emmy Awards.  Jim has also worked extensively in film and television  – A Private Function, Brassed Off, Shakespeare in Love, The Singing Detective and Cranford being amongst his personal favourites.

Shrouds of the Somme is an extraordinary arts remembrance installation, depicting 72,396 hand-stitched shrouded figures laid out in perfect rows. Each figure represents a soldier who died at the Battle of the Somme but whose body was never recovered from the battlefield.

Jim says:

Last summer I was part of a very moving recital in Exeter Cathedral with Show of Hands to commemorate the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Running in tandem with the recital was one of the most extraordinary artworks I have ever witnessed.  It was called ‘Shrouds of the Somme’. It was an acutely moving depiction of loss and remembrance.

Artist Rob Heard had created 19,240 individually shrouded figures, each about 12 inches tall, and laid them out in symmetrical lines that seemed to stretch forever in an Exeter park. Alongside this memorial was a tent with lists of names of those 19,240 figures – all those who had lost their lived on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

When The Last Post was played over those figures, over those lists , over those lost lives, it was one of the most moving depictions of loss and the folly of war that one could have imagined.

And now Rob Heard is working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week to complete this act of remembrance. To mark the centenary of Armistice Day in 2018, he is hand stitching 72,396 individually shrouded figures which will be laid out in perfect rows to represent the British and South African soldiers killed at the Battle of the Somme who have no known grave.

Each figure represents a named soldier. Each figure is unique.

The scale of Rob’s task is unimaginable but then so is the scale of the loss of life 100 years ago.

This artwork is stunning because it represents grief in such a graphic manner and it gives those lost lives a name and a place in our memories forever.

I support this project and would urge others to support it too in the hope that devastation like this will never happen again.

We will remember them.

Artist Rob heard is crowdfunding to pay for the materials to create the exhibition, to help support him go to www.shroudsofthesomme.com

PHOTO AT TOP: By Mark Thurkettle.

NEW MUSEUM OPENS TO CELEBRATE SOMERSET”S HERITAGE

A celebration of Somerset’s heritage is taking place at Somerset Rural Life Museum when it re-opens on Saturday 3 June. Local people are invited to join the South West Heritage Trust for opening day at the refurbished Museum, which tells the rich story of Somerset’s rural and social history.

The day will begin with an opening ceremony at 11am. It will mark 100 years since George and Louisa Mapstone took the tenancy of Abbey Farm in 1917. Their granddaughter, Margaret Shreeve, who grew up on the farm, will be part of the opening ceremony. She will be joined by children from Elmhurst Junior School in Street. Based on Margaret’s recollections of farm life the children have created a painting which is on permanent display in the Museum.

Following the ceremony, the Museum will be open for the first visitors to explore the new galleries in the farmhouse and former cowsheds, as well as to see the farmyard, the orchard and the magnificent fourteenth-century Abbey Barn. There will be traditional village games, music, and delicious local food to enjoy. Families can discover the history of the farm on a fun family trail around the site. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the museum’s first exhibition, ‘FARM’, a collection of paintings and drawings by local artist Kate Lynch who will be there on the day.

The Museum is re-opening following completion of a £2.4 million redevelopment project led by the Trust. Visitors to the Glastonbury museum will be able to explore rural life from the 1800s onwards and discover more about the county’s heritage including its landscape, food and farming, working life and rural crafts.

To mark the opening weekend the Trust is offering special free admission on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 June. The Museum, on Chilkwell Street, will be open from 11am on Saturday and 10am on Sunday and closes at 5pm.

The redevelopment project was chiefly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Viridor Credits Environmental Company, Somerset County Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation and other generous funders. The Trust is also most grateful to Somerset Building Preservation Trust and the Friends of the Somerset Rural Life Museum for their consistent support. Building work was undertaken by Ken Biggs Contractors Ltd.

For more information visit www.swheritage.org.uk/rural-life-museum.

 

 

 

Kind regards,

ART TREK CALLS FOR ARTISTS & MAKERS TO TAKE PART IN SEPTEMBER OPEN STUDIO EVENT

Back in 2003, a small group of artists across the area decided to throw open the doors to their homes and studios as part of the North Devon Festival. 14 years on and this successful, established open studios event will showcase work from some of the best artists and makers in the area as they again open their homes, studios, gardens and shared venues.

The call is now out for artists and makers to take part in the September 2017 Art Trek. Last year over 50 artists were featured, exhibiting their work, offering insights into their working practice and discussing the techniques used in their creative processes. Bideford based artist and ceramicist, Michael Storrs, took part in Art Trek for the first time in 2016.

Broken Face Michael Storrs (c) John Andow

Michael says, “I was amazed how many people came to see my work and it was interesting to get people’s comments and take on things. I found that overall it was a very positive experience and I also sold some work! Plus, to my great delight, I have been offered an exhibition of my work in Paris at the end of this year.”

Barnstaple-based artist Mike Woollacott has participated in Art Trek since 2007. He says, “I have taken part in North Devon Art Trek for nine years and have always enjoyed the experience. Over the years I have found it very rewarding to meet lots of interesting people, whether they are local, or, in many cases, have travelled considerable distances. Obviously selling my art is a bonus, but I have found the contacts I make are extremely beneficial, in that people may purchase at a later date or even recommend me to friends and family.”

Yet another artist who opened her studio last year was ceramicist Fiona Matthews. Fiona’s comment on taking part: “A great experience – you never know who will walk through the door and where a conversation might lead. Not to be missed!”

For the first time in 2017, Art Trek will be produced by White Moose Projects CIC, formed to offer free and accessible opportunities for people from all backgrounds to engage with visual arts. One of its founders, Stella Levy, has been involved with Art Trek since its inception. Stella is confident that Art Trek has a bright future under White Moose Projects: “This North Devon open studios event is much loved in the area, both by the artists taking part and visitors to the event and with White Moose now supporting the annual Art Trek, it will ensure the open studios goes forward with a renewed vitality, but not losing the trust in the event, developed over the last 14 years.”

Artists and Makers wanting more information and to take part in the September 2017 Art Trek, please apply for an Entry Form to info@arttrek.co.uk. The closing date for completed forms is 1 June 2017.

Top: The River Taw at Chapleton by Mike Woollacott.

JEREMY COOPER: POSTCARDS – THREE POSTCARD EXHIBITIONS

From the collection of Jeremy Cooper comes an installation of over 4,000 postcards at Podshavers restaurant on the outskirts of Bishop’s Lydeard. Postcards by Ian Hamilton Finlay will also be shown at Watchet Boat Museum, together with an installation of postcards at Watchet’s Market House Museum. The three shows, all of which are curated by Contains Art, will run until the end of June.

PODSHAVERS
Installation of over 4,000 postcards

Pound Lane, Bishop’s Lydeard, Somerset TA4 3AD, Tel: 01823 433556
Open evenings Wed. to Sat., Sunday lunch from 12 midday.

This is the final show in a series of installations of mint commercial postcards which Jeremy Cooper has mounted over the last three years, the first having taken place at Contains Art in Watchet in October 2013. Most of Cooper’s store of over 4,000 modern postcards are mounted in flush patterns across the walls of Podshavers, a family-run restaurant in an open-beamed Edwardian milking parlour on the outskirts of Bishop’s Lydeard.

These postcards have been gathered since the early 1980s, when Cooper began the practice of buying at least two of every postcard he liked, one for keeping, the others for sending. Since 1999 he has stored the postcards in categories, seeking out over the last decade standard commercial postcards in his favourite fields, such as shoes, country churches, chairs, toys, aerial landscapes, writers, shells, bridges, and many more.

Podshavers is owned and run by Rob and Tara McNeish, chef and front-of-house, who co-founded the restaurant in 2000 withJeremy Cooper, who was at the time responsible for the financial and contractual arrangements, as well as organising a series of music recitals. They named Podshavers after the cricket bat makers who used to work in the adjacent barn, shaving willow pods. Later, due to illness, Cooper passed Podshavers wholly over to his partners.

WATCHET MARKET HOUSE MUSEUM
24 postcards of Watchet, Williton and Washford

The Market House, Market Street, Watchet, Somerset TA23 0AN
Open daily 10.30am-4.30pm.

The 24 early postcards of Watchet and nearby Williton and Washford in this select show in Watchet Market Street Museum reflect a recent interest of Jeremy Cooper’s that has rapidly become a semi-obsession: pre-1920 postcards of Somerset, mostly hand-tinted by unnamed artists either in the negative or directly onto the lithographic stone. The display includes different views of Market Street, featuring the Museum itself, and also a fine tinted postcard of the paper mills, with St Decuman’s church on the hill behind, both published by N.G. Helliker in their premises opposite the museum, now a café serving excellent fish and chips.

The harbour at Watchet continues to be a favourite subject for postcard publishers and its changing formations are fully recorded, mostly in black and white – the earliest postcard on show of the harbour is dated 1903, and the alterations to landscape and buildings, often dated by the postmark or message, are part of the attraction of postcard gathering. This museum, built in 1820 as a covered market, is shown in a 1927 postcard to be occupied by Morse’s Distempers – the building was not opened as a museum until 1979.

Of particular interest are the social activities illustrated in postcards, the different dress people wore, as well as the carriages and bicycles used in the earliest years of the twentieth century. Worth noting are postcards of buildings in their original use: the mill in Williton, now the Bakelite Museum, and the radio station in Washford, now a children’s adventure ground.

WATCHET BOAT MUSEUM
Ian Hamilton Finlay

Harbour Road, Watchet, Somerset TA23 0AA
Open daily 10am-5pm

Jeremy Cooper’s collection of artists’ work with postcards has been accepted by the British Museum as a gift, accession of the collection in 2019 to be marked by a major exhibition in the Department of Prints and Drawings, provisionally titled The Postcard as Contemporary Art. The collection includes over 100 postcards designed by Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006), printed at his own Wild Hawthorn Press in Scotland, which he set up in 1961.

Finlay was particularly keen on boats, which he incorporated in a number of works, and Cooper has gathered 14 of his boat postcards, mounted in two frames, here on their first public display as a permanent gift to the Boat Museum. All 14 postcards are in perfect condition, purchased direct from Wild Hawthorn Press, stored since each of the first edition printings of between 200 and 250. The Tate, which owns a representative group of Finlay’s postcards and folding cards, describe him as “one of the most original artists of the twentieth century”, noting that “early in his career he was Britain’s foremost concrete poet and his approach to his work – whatever material he used, whether wood, stone, neon, bronze or paper – remained that of a poet giving form to ideas.”

He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1985, and James Campbell, in a Times Literary Supplement book review of September 2016, described IHF – he was widely referred to by his initials – as “one of 20th century Britain’s most unexpected artists”. A large number of postcards were included in the solo Ian Hamilton Finlay show at the Arnolfini in Bristol in 2013. The Boat Museum’s group of postcards were specially mounted behind museum glass to protect from fading, in frames made of cardboard by local artist Helen Knight, who has been awarded the installation residency at Contains Art in spring 2018.

SHROUDS OF THE SOMME LAUNCHES IN LONDON

Shrouds of the Somme, an extraordinary commemorative art project, has been launched in London with a crowdfunder campaign which began on Wednesday 10 May, asking people to be part of this awe-inspiring installation.

A total of 72,396 shrouded figures will be laid out in rows in London to mark the centenary of Armistice Day in 2018. Each 12-inch figure represents a British serviceman* who died at the Battle of the Somme but whose body was never recovered. Every one is bound by West Somerset artist Rob Heard into a hand-stitched calico shroud and made to a name identified by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Rob will spend a total of 15,000 hours to achieve this staggering feat. He must work for 15 hours every day to get the memorial done in time for the centenary of Armistice Day.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Mr Kenneth Olisa OBE, said, “Shrouds of the Somme is a very imaginative and special piece of commemorative art. We are delighted and honoured that this installation is coming to London to mark the Centenary of the end of the Great War.  The Shrouds will be of huge significance.”

Last year Rob created 19,240 shrouded figures to represent each soldier killed on the first day of Battle of the Somme. These were laid out in Exeter and Bristol, giving a powerful and poignant reminder of the loss during the anniversary of the battle. Now Rob needs to make 60,000 more shrouds to represent each of the 72,396 British servicemen whose bodies were never recovered from the Somme battlefields.

Taking five years to create, Rob’s work is a feat of endurance and an act of humility.  The idea for the artwork behind the shrouds, in which figures representing the dead are laid out in rows on the grass, came to him in 2013 while he was recovering from a car crash which damaged both his hands. He began thinking about military fatalities in history and how impossible it was to visualise the huge numbers involved.

Rob said, “The idea for stitching 72,000 shrouds came when a man at the display in Exeter told me that his great uncle was killed on the first day of the Somme but his body was never recovered. He said ‘this feels like he is back on British soil for the first time in 100 years.’ That got me thinking that if anybody should come home, it should be those whose bodies weren’t recovered. Some were blown to bits, others buried where they lay with no known grave.”

As he makes the shrouds, Rob refers to a list of names of the British servicemen recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves commission and engraved on the Thiepval Memorial in France.  Each figure is associated with a name so that each one is individually acknowledged and remembered. Rob works his way down the list, crossing off a name for each figure created. He cuts and hand-stitches their calico shrouds, then covers and binds the figures in the shrouds in a ritual of creation, remembrance and personal introspection. As each figure is wrapped they take on their own form, twisting and bending into their own unique shape.

Chairman of The Shrouds of the Somme Committee, Commodore Jake Moores, said: “Rob’s work is one of the most powerful acts of Remembrance I have seen throughout my military career. This exhibition touches the hearts of all those who are privileged to witness it.”

We need the public’s help to bring this important installation to London for the Centenary of the end of the war so that the nation can experience, unflinchingly, the true scale of the losses in an extraordinary display of remembrance. The Shrouds team have chosen to raise the money through crowdfunding because it is a communal effort towards a common aim. The money raised will pay for the figures, the calico shrouds and associated costs with the project. By raising funds in this way, we will collectively honour the men who made the ultimate sacrifice for our shared freedom.

Help make this vision a reality and be part of this incredible act of remembrance, find out more at: www.shroudsofthesomme.com

The short launch film is at: https://vimeo.com/214206396/7606127165

* This number includes 829 South African infantrymen

PHOTO: Rob Heard, by kind permission of Bowater Communications

ALISTAIR ANDERSON AT HALSWAY MANOR

Alistair Anderson – internationally acknowledged as the master of the English Concertina and a fine exponent of the Northumbrian Pipes – will be performing an intimate gig at Halsway Manor on Saturday 13 May at 8pm.

Alistair delights audiences with traditional music from Northumberland and beyond, as well as his own music, which has grown out of his love of these traditions. As a touring soloist, he has no less than 37 tours of the USA, 5 trips to Australia and countless European tours to his credit.

“Anderson is a treat to watch, as well; his own involvement and delight in the music are infectious. Beautiful music, played with skill, taste and affection. His own tunes are particularly welcome; recognisably working from traditional styles he nevertheless introduces quirky personal touches which give them a real charm and individuality. My only complaint is that the slow airs never last quite as long as I want them to.” fRoots

Alistair has a very wide range of experience as a musical catalyst and educator. He is visiting Halsway for this weekend to lead a concertina master class; inspiring a whole new generation of musicians. Be sure to experience the energy and skill of this master musician at work and expect a thrilling and memorable evening in picturesque and historical surroundings.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills Halsway Manor provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. There’s ample free parking onsite, a bar and – of course – beautiful atmospheric settings for concerts with wonderful acoustics, and a chance to catch-up with the artists over a drink afterwards!

Tickets for the gig are priced £10 / £4 for anyone in full-time education. To book, call 01984 618274 (option 1), email office@halswaymanor.org.uk or buy securely online www.halswaymanor.org.uk.