Category Archives: Towns Around Exmoor

MINEHEAD & EXMOOR MUSIC FESTIVAL

The Regal Theatre is proud once again to welcome the Minehead and Exmoor Music Festival for a week of rehearsals and performance. This is the 55th season of the Minehead & Exmoor Music Festival, which presents a week of concerts across West Somerset. 

The Regal provides a home where the orchestra rehearses and also hosts 3 major concerts.  (The Young Artists’ Concert on Sunday 22 July (at 7pm) and the Chamber Concert on Thursday 27 July (at 4pm) take place at the Methodist Church opposite the theatre.)

The orchestra, which plays a pivotal role in the Minehead Music Festival, was originally founded by Tim Reynish in 1963. It has been running in its present form for 30 years under Artistic Director and Conductor Richard Dickins.  Once again he has produced a fine programme of music which everyone is sure to enjoy. Every year he manages to persuade eminent international soloists as well as up-and-coming stars to come and perform with the orchestra.

The players are drawn from all over the country but most come from the London area where many of them perform with well-established orchestras and chamber groups. They produce high standards of performance which audiences eagerly anticipate.

Here is the festival line-up…

FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA CONCERTS AT THE REGAL THEATRE
CONDUCTED BY RICHARD DICKINS          

TICKETS: Adults £18.00, Students £3.00

Monday 23 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Mozart:  Symphony No 35 (Haffner)
Paul Patterson: Double Bass Concerto
A world premiere performance
Soloist Leon Bosch
Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 (Scottish)

Wednesday 25 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Rossini:  Overture to The Barber of Seville
Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1
Soloist Maya Magub
Brahms: Symphony No 3

Saturday 28 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
END OF FESTIVAL CONCERT
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
Dvorak: Cello Concerto No 1
Soloist Laura van der Heijden  
Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Tickets are now on sale at the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Friday, 10am – 1pm Saturday.

ILFRACOMBE YOUNGSTERS BECOME JUNIOR PARK RANGERS

More than 100 primary school children from Ilfracombe have made the grade as junior park rangers.

On Tuesday 26 June the 120 children were presented with their certificates after successfully completing the four-week course, which covered topics such as orienteering, tree identification, mini beasts and pond dipping.

The course, organised by North Devon Council’s Parks team, raises awareness about the importance of parks and how we can help look after them. As well as learning practical skills, the children were taught about wildlife, biodiversity and the natural environment. The scheme has been so successful that it is now in its 13th year.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “The idea behind this scheme is to raise young people’s awareness of the importance of parks and why we need to protect them for future generations. It is also just as important to the Parks team that the children have lots of fun while they were learning. I’m told the children showed an enormous amount of enthusiasm and knowledge in all the activities they took part in. They are a credit to both their school and their community.”

Joe Alcock from Ilfracombe Junior School, says: “The Park Rangers course is a fun and exciting way of getting the children to learn about the park and understanding the importance of looking after and using our local park properly. The different activities each week have given children a real insight into just how much the park has to offer and we hope they will use and respect the park more so than ever now they’ve completed the course!”

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer at Bicclescombe Park, there is a very active group on Facebook – contact the council’s Parks team on 01271 388308 for more information.

CHANCE TO HELP MAKE BARNSTAPLE MUSEUM’S NEW EXTENSION AN INSPIRATION FOR THE TOWN

Can you help local artist Taz Pollard create inspiring ceramic work to decorate the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon’s new Long Bridge Wing extension?

The museum is calling for former workers from Brannams Pottery and Shapland & Petter to help with the design of a panel of terracotta tiles, which will adorn the outside of the new building.  A creative workshop is being held at the Pop-Up museum on Friday 1 June with Taz Pollard, who has been chosen to create the work.

The museum has been awarded £14,800 from the Arts Council towards the £25k project, which will include a frieze of tiles around the top of the building inspired by the significant work of the town’s potters and furniture makers, particularly during the Arts and Crafts period.

Taz Pollard runs a studio in South Molton and has carried out extensive research in North Devon potteries. Taz says: “I’m really excited about this project as I will be able to revisit my research into Barnstaple pottery and delve deeper into the designs of Shapland and Petter furniture and C.H. Brannam pottery by working closely with former workers on the designs. It will be a challenge to create something contemporary but which reflects the designs and rich heritage of Barnstaple’s past.”

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “Part of the planning conditions for the new building call for the extension to reflect the artisan trades of Barnstaple and Taz Pollard seems the perfect artist to help achieve this. Taz is a talented and experienced artist who is used to working with children and local communities and I look forward to seeing her weave the traditions of the past into the future of the building.”

Later in the year Taz will also be running practical workshops for children from local schools, other local artists and pottery students to help develop the designs of more terracotta tiles, which will flank the outside walls of the new gift shop.

If you worked for Brannams or Shapland & Petter and would like to help inspire Taz’s designs please contact the museum on 01271 346747. The workshop will be held from 11am to 1pm on Friday 1 June.

PHOTO: C.H. Brannam, Litchdon pottery.

AN ARTIST’S TALE FOR MINEHEAD’S MAY DAY

Reader Lewis MacDonald is an aspiring artist who got in touch with us to ask if he could tell his story and show us his embroidery of the Minehead Hobby Horse. This piece of work is quite astonishing (like Lewis’ own path so far), so what better day to tell it than May Day itself! Over to Lewis…

“Don’t study what you love, studying has a habit of making you grow resentful of the subject. So, my advice is to pick the thing you like doing the most and keep it as a hobby, that way it never gets boring.”

This was the advice my late father gave me as I was attempting to decide what to do at university. I couldn’t decide whether to do history or art.

My name is Lewis MacDonald, I am 24 and currently an aspiring textile artist. My focus right now is Free Motion Embroidery, also known as Thread Painting. This is a technique where you take a standard sewing machine and ‘drop the feed dogs’ (this is the term for lowering the little teeth on the base of a sewing machine which feeds the fabric in one direction whilst sewing). If you drop the feed dogs and swap a standard sewing machine foot for a ‘free motion quilting foot’, you have full control over the fabric and can create any design you wish. The best way I find to explain what it is like, is by saying that it is like painting, but instead of moving the brush you move the paper. Each embroidery takes me many hours of focused creativity and precision.

Lewis MacDonald's sewing technique

It’s been a long journey since I first found out that I had a talent for Free Machine Embroidery, unusual as well in that I am male. Many events have also taken place, both good and bad, which have forced me to push back getting into my art.

When I was in Sixth Form, at the West Somerset Community College, I wanted to copy a design that I saw on a collection of Alexander McQueen’s autumn fashion which was military inspired. The lapel on one of the coats had an oak leaf pattern in gold that fitted well with my theme for that term. Unfortunately, the CAD/CAM machine that normally makes these patterns was being used by another student. Impatient, I decided to attempt to make the design myself on a standard sewing machine by setting it up in the way that I have described above. It worked amazingly well, and so I went home that day and attempted something more detailed like a family photo. From that point on I continued to test and improve my skills.

In 2014 my work was part of a WW1 Centenary Exhibition held in St Andrews Church Minehead, which raised money for the Royal British Legion. And in 2015 I was one of the winners of the Marshwood Vale Art Competition and had my work displayed in the Bridport Art Centre. I decided to study history at university, on my father’s advice, and not to ruin my love for art. So, I had to focus more on education than embroideries. Still, all was going well for my art and my life until September of 2015 when I crashed my motorbike travelling home from Exeter University. After this I suffered from a bout of depression and anxiety, complicated by my ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This drastically worsened in October 2016 when I learnt of my father’s diagnosis of cancer and then had to cope with his death only a few months later. 2017 was a difficult year. But with counselling and determination I am finding myself at a new beginning (I hope). I am working on my art, myself and my health, all in the hopes of becoming a better person.

So now you are up to date, what am I doing, and what are my plans?

Currently, I am trying my best to ‘get my name out there’. I’m looking for commissions as well as working on pieces that can be sold. I have discovered that I can replicate most things with very intricate, detailed accuracy. I particularly enjoy sewing images of pets. I’m not too bad at humans either.

Also, on the subject of animals but perhaps more topically, I’ve always had a love of the Hobby Horse. For me, it heralds a time of happiness and celebration in Minehead, especially with its crazy dancing and music, that I only wish it could be a bigger event.

One day, I would like to see the Minehead Hobby Horse not just as a small march around the town, but expanded into a whole festival for a day, with markets, music and fireworks. It could be a big tourism event that would draw people from all around, as does the Padstow ‘Obby oss.’ But anyway, I also enjoy sewing the Hobby Horse as a challenge, it is such an intricate thing to be able to get right, particularly with the massive variety of colours and its movement of the dance.

Happy May Day!

Lewis MacDonald

You can read more on Lewis’ website: www.sewingloon.uk

INVITATION TO TENDER: HARBOUR MARKET AND CONCESSION DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Minehead Coastal Communities Team has levered Coastal Community funding to develop a new harbour market and attract suitable seaside concessions for Minehead seafront.

The opportunity is for a self-motivated market, event organiser or similar, with marketing and PR experience and excellent communication skills. The position will be a varied, and be on a self-employed basis. The contract will be to develop, market, promote, manage and coordinate delivery of Harbour Markets and Concessions in Minehead. This part-time contract opportunity is over a two year period, with an expectation to become self-sustainable following that period.

Please click on the links to view the job descriptionperson specification and draft contract containing more detail of the role.

If you have any questions please email tender@westsomerset.gov.uk. Please note the closing date for applicants is 24 April 2018, at 12 noon.

WATCHET’S COASTAL COMMUNITY TEAM BECOMES ONE OF 20 NATIONAL SOCIAL ACTION PARTNERSHIPS

Watchet Coastal Community Team are delighted to have won a bid from the Big Lottery Fund and Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to become one of 20 partnerships countrywide to take part in the first stage of the Place Based Social Action programme.

Watchet CCT will now receive support to develop social action plans designed to address issues important to the local community.

The Placed Based Social Action programme is funded using £4.5 million of Government and National Lottery money. It aims to support communities to put social action at the heart of plans which make a positive difference in the local area. It gives people the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and delivery of local services by bringing together communities, local authorities, public sector organisations, service providers, civil society organisations and businesses to address local priorities.

Between now and December 2018, Watchet CCT will work with New Economics Foundation and Locality, the national network for community organisations that bring local people together to meet local needs, to design their local social action plan.

In early 2019, up to 10 of the 20 partnerships taking part in the first phase of the programme will go on to be awarded funding of up to £240,000 for three years to put their plans into action. Following this, up to five of these partnerships will be awarded further funding of up to £255,000 to develop and expand their plans for another three years to December 2024.

Watchet Coastal Community Team is a partnership organisation made up of 30 local organisations, businesses, community groups and Town, District and County Council. The team work collaboratively to help further initiatives that help to benefit the town both economically and socially. To find out more visit: www.watchetcct.co.uk

Peter Murphy, WCCT Chair, said: “We are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the Place Based Social Action partnerships and look forward to working with local people and authorities to design a plan that will have lasting and far reaching benefits for our local people. Our plan will aim to bring people together and design a system for collaborative working across all facets of local life. We very much look forward to devising it.”

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “This programme is about supporting communities to work together to tackle the social issues that matter in their area. It is designed to ensure solutions are created by local people for local people and we’re looking forward to seeing how these plans develop over the next year.”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sports and Civil Society, said: “Communities lie at the heart of our commitment to build a society that works for everyone. This investment, bolstered by partnerships, will create positive change as people work together to develop solutions to overcome local issues in their area.”

Place Based Social Action will run until 2025 and is administered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with DCMS.

DR WATSON & THE ENIGMA OF MARY KELLY AT THE REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

From 19–21 April, Waterfront Theatre Company takes to the stage at the Regal Theatre in Minehead with their latest production –  Dr Watson & The Enigma Of Mary Kelly, written and directed by Fred Owen.

The year is 1901 and Whitechapel is gradually recovering from Jack the Ripper’s 1888 Reign of Terror. The new Whitechapel Art Gallery has opened on the High Street and the great and the good are in attendance to toast its success, including Dr John Watson who runs a clinic nearby.

Watson bumps into his old friend retired Inspector George Lestrade, who is attending the launch with William Wiggins, a reporter. Wiggins claims to have sensational information obtained from the stolen memoirs of Melville Macnaghten – the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Watson, Lestrade and Wiggins set out to prove him right or wrong before publishing the scoop of the new century. However, the search for one answer throws up a variety of new questions, some of which threaten to unleash a wave of despicable new horrors on the ever-brooding East End.

Performances Thursday – Saturday, 19 – 21 April begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £8 are available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Saturday.  Book online at www.regaltheatre.co.uk.

 

CALLING ALL ‘SHAPPY BOYS’ AND BRANNAM’S WORKERS

WOW! The next theme for the Pop-Up Museum’s memory workshop is the ‘World of Work’. A series of targeted workshops are running during April and May at Barnstaple Pop-Up Museum in Bridge Chambers, to gather information and stories about various aspects of Barnstaple and North Devon’s trades and industries.
The museum is calling for ex-‘Shappy boys’ from Shapland and Petter and ex-Brannam’s potters and workers to come and spend some time with them and share their memories of these well-known Barnstaple firms.

Sadie Green, Activity Plan Co-ordinator at the museum, says: “On 10 April we would love to hear from people who work, or used to work, in offices, banks and finance and the public sector. We have a 1950s BT switchboard and it would be great to meet any ex-BT workers! On 17 April we want to meet ‘Shappy boys’ from Shapland and Petter, as we have lots of objects from the company. Also, on 24 April we want to hear from any ex-Brannam’s pottery workers who are willing to share their stories. If you can’t make those dates, please call in and see us any Monday or Tuesday in April and May – enjoy a cup of tea and bring your stories to write down on the day. Our volunteer story collectors look forward to welcoming you.”

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “The Pop Up is always looking for community experts – everyone is welcome to visit, especially if you have lots of knowledge about any of the workshop topics or if you used to work for one of the companies mentioned and are willing to spend a bit more time with them to share your stories.”

The Pop-Up is open to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays (except public holidays) from 11am to 3pm. Please visit the Pop-Up Museum to find out more, share your story with our volunteer story collectors, or become a community expert.  Get in touch with Sadie at the museum on 01271 346747 to find out more, or visit the Facebook page at PopUpBarnstaple.
Both photos used here are from Shapland and Petter, an outing and a group shot of Shappy apprentices, although we do not have any more details – do you recognise anyone?

HAVE YOUR SAY ON MINEHEAD ESPLANADE

People in Minehead with an interest in seeing the resort’s visitor appeal strengthened have the chance to help shape the Enterprising Minehead project.

The aim during the next phase is to enhance the Eastern Esplanade – the section near the West Somerset Railway terminus – with ideas starting to come forward.

Minehead Coastal Communities Team (MCCT) – the organisation that has the funding to spend – is now inviting people to come forward and have their say before any hard and fast decisions are made.

An initial meeting has been held with community groups’ representatives when some positive ideas were tabled – now the consultation is being opened up more widely.

Mood boards featuring concepts that could be brought to life will be on show at Minehead Tourist Information Centre (TIC), along with a questionnaire for feedback and suggestions.

The consultation will run from 10-15 April and the TIC’s opening hours are: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm and Sunday 11am – 4pm.

“I really hope people will come along, share their ideas and get involved. A tremendous amount of hard work went in to winning the funding in the face of some strong competition.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to harness that funding and make it work hard for the benefit of Minehead, its residents and economy. We have great community spirit here in West Somerset – let’s see it in action,” said Cllr Roger Thomas, who chairs MCCT.

Details of the consultation and background information and images can be found on MCCT’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MineheadCCT

ROTARY CLUB GIFTS 50 TREES FOR TIVERTON

Tiverton Rotary Club has gifted 50 tree saplings to the Council in support of the Rotary Tree Challenge.

The Rotary Tree Challenge is a nationwide challenge encouraging each Rotary member to plant at least one tree to help save the environment in time for this year’s Earth Day on 22 April 2018.  With over 47,000 members in Great Britain and Ireland, the potential number of trees planted would be equivalent to a forest the size of 100 football pitches!

To initiate the challenge, 6 trees were planted during a joint ceremony on Thursday 22 March as part of a wider planting programme in and around Tiverton.  The ceremony took place along the old railway line near Manley Bridge.  In attendance were Rotary members Sue Godfrey (organiser), Tricia Collier and Les Rendell along with the Council’s Leader Clive Eginton,  Darren Beer and Mick Jelliman  from the Grounds Maintenance team.

Further potential sites are being planned and agreed by the Council to enhance existing woodland and open spaces, including Elmore Football Club, Market Walk, West Exe and along the BMX track.

The tree saplings include a mixture of species, including beech, oak and hornbeam  and were supplied by the I Dig Trees planting scheme (a collaboration between OVO Energy and The Conservation Volunteers).  Once all 50 of the trees have been planted, the Council will maintain and accept responsibility for them throughout their life.

Rotary member and organiser Sue Godfrey said: “We are delighted that Mid Devon District Council welcomed the offer of trees by the Rotary Club of Tiverton. We all need to get involved in caring for our environment. This not only benefits wildlife but also enhances the quality of life for all of us in the Tiverton area.”

Clive Eginton said: “I’d like to thank the Rotary Club of Tiverton for this magnanimous gesture; it really is fantastic that they’ve donated 50 trees of 5 different varieties and I hope that the people of Tiverton and the surrounding areas will enjoy these trees for many decades to come.”

The environmental benefits of this campaign will replenish forests and ensure habitats for wildlife are restored. The challenge is also a great way to involve communities, with activities varying from extending and under-planting existing woods to enhancing parks and open spaces.

If you would like to get involved in the Rotary Tree Challenge, grab your wellies and make contact with your local Rotary Club using the Rotary Club finder. Alternatively, check the Rotary tree-planting schemes and take part without getting your hands dirty.