Category Archives: Towns Around Exmoor

NEW GRANT TO PAY FOR WATCHET SUMMERTIME FESTIVAL

Watchet Coastal Community Team (CCT) is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £4,200 by the Big Lottery’s Awards for All. The bid for the grant had been put together by a team comprising Watchet CCT, Watchet Summertime, Halsway Manor and Pebbles Cider bar, and is intended to celebrate the heritage of Watchet. The activities will be run by Watchet Summertime, and will include music, walks and workshops to celebrate Watchet’s heritage for everyone to enjoy.

The Watchet Summertime Team have been beavering away and, thanks to this grant and local sponsorship, the activities can now be seen in the brochure and posters which are being widely disseminated.

Music

The week starts (11 August) with a concert in St Decuman’s Church by the well-regarded Kitty Macfarlane, who is supported by Hannah Cumming and Jon Dyer (both of whom played a fantastic concert last at St Decuman’s last year).

The week continues with lots more music, starting with a Sea Shanty Workshop for all in The Boat Museum on Sunday, and gigs in local pubs and bars during the week. Lost Coyotes will play in Pebbles on Sunday evening, the talented Lukas Drinkwater in The London Inn on Monday evening and David Milton will be singing outside Contains Art on Wednesday evening (at the opening of the Summertime Art Exhibition).

Tom Moore and Archie Churchill Moss sing on Wednesday evening, The Open Mic Sessions, with lots of local musicians are in The Marquee behind the Star on Thursday evening, Martyn Babb, Tony Piper and crew will be ‘Hauling on the Halliards’ with their sea shanties on Friday evening at The Boat Museum, and there will also be a Family Ceilidh with Gadarene in Knight’s Templar School on Friday 17th in the evening.

The week comes to a musical close with Andy Barratt and friends, Jessie and The Skunknecks and Turnette Doone and the explosive and celebrated Summertime Firework Display by Fire Magic on Saturday 18th . Most of the music events are free for the audience except for the Opening Concert and the Family Ceilidh.

Walks
This year there are three walks, suitable for families who want to know more about the area. On Monday afternoon The West Somerset Mineral Line Association will start from The Market House Museum. David Milton will be your guide on his inimitable Watchet History Walk on Thursday early evening, and Paul Upton will talk you through Watchet’s Architectural Walk around the town with the option of extending your walk up to St Decuman’s Church and Well on Saturday morning.

Workshops
The Lottery Grant has enabled Watchet Summertime to hold several workshops during the week, all of which are free for participants; starting with the aforementioned Shanty Workshop with Pete Truin on Sunday 12 August. Two Rivers Paper Company will be on The Esplanade on Tuesday and showing all ages how to make paper. Watchet Market House Museum are running a workshop with the subject ‘Watchet and The Civil War’ in the Methodist School Room on Wednesday morning (15th).

There are also  two workshops geared up to 12 + young adults this year. Alice Maddicott is running a Poetry Workshop in the Library ‘Mythical Creatures and Alternative Realms’ on Wednesday 15th in the afternoon, and on Saturday morning 18th Cat Mills will run a Jewellery Workshop on The Esplanade (it will be free for participants to work with copper but there will be a small charge for items made of silver). On Friday afternoon, 17 August, Jan Martin will run a Book Binding Workshop outside Contains Art, which will be suitable for older children or adults.

Here are the listings issued by the organisers.

Monday 13th August
Watchet Summertime is running ‘A Day for Change’ on the Esplanade between 10am and 4pm. This will be a mixture of workshops and demos, information stalls and activities for all ages on the theme of positive changes we can all make in our lives. Come and find out more and get involved!

Tuesday 14th August
Tuesday is Family Craft Day, with workshops and demos all day, for all the family to have a go! Find your inner craftsperson, and make this the year you try something new. In the evening Watchet Summertime Art Exhibition will be launched (6pm onwards). Come and mingle with local artists and listen to David Milton sing.

Wednesday 15th August
As well as the workshops, Alexandra Simson (Story Well) will be doing two session of Storytelling, ‘Summer Magic with Story Well’ at 11am and 12 noon, in The Library. Her earlier session will be for younger children (up to 6 or 7) and the second session for children slightly older.

Thursday 16th August
Watchet Summertime’s Open Mic will be on The Esplanade from 10 am until late afternoon (then moving to the marquee behind The Star) with a host of local musicians. There will be Charity Stalls on The Esplanade all day, come and find out about local charities and spend to help them. In the evening Watchet Community Cinema are putting on an open air film, Grease on The Esplanade. Bring a chair and suitable clothing (though we hope for a lovely evening!). Maybe break out your fifties clothing and join in with the fun.

Friday 17th August
A day for children of all ages! In the morning Lyn Routledge will be demonstrating her Trapeze skills and encouraging the brave to join in. Watchet Town Council Fun Day starts at 12 noon and there will be Punch and Judy and Pirates, Storytelling and Puppets, Balloons and magic, Popcorn and candy floss, a ball pool and Sumo suits! Watchet’s Super Ducks will be competing in A Duck Race, in the afternoon. Which one will be the winner!

Saturday 18th August
Watchet’s celebrated Fireworks go off with a bang at 10pm, but before then there will be music of all types galore from 2pm and a Hog Roast from 6pm.

PLUS!

Monday 27th August Bank Holiday Monday
This year we will be holding our beautiful Candle Float on August Bank Holiday Monday (when tides are more suitable) but we will be selling the candles during Summertime week. Don’t miss out.

Please see the attached poster and listing for our full programme, or check out our FB page for Watchet Summertime or the webpage

www.watchetsummertime.btck.co.uk/

COMING UP THE REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

GUYS AND DOLLS
A Musical Fable of Broadway
Based on the Story and Characters of David Runyon
Music and Lyrics by FRANK LOESSER

The Regal Theatre presents it 2018 Summer Show at the Regal Theatre Monday 8 – Saturday 18 August with Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser.  Opening on Broadway in 1950, the show received unanimously positive reviews from critics and won a raft of awards.  Frequently revived with star casts, this popular musical comedy is now performed at the Regal Theatre with an all-star cast of local talent

All the hot gamblers are in town, and they’re all depending on Nathan Detroit to set up this week’s incarnation of “The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York”; the only problem is, he needs $1,000 to find a safe place for the game. Throw in Sarah Brown, who’s short on sinners at the mission she runs; Sky Masterson, who accepts Nathan’s $1000 bet that he can’t get Sarah Brown to go with him to Havana; Miss Adelaide, who wants Nathan to marry her; Police Lieutenant Brannigan, who always seems to appear at the wrong time and you have a set-up for a cracking show.

Based on the story and characters of David Runyon and with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, this is a popular musical which includes favourites like ‘Fugue for Tinhorns’; ‘Luck Be a Lady’ and ‘Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat’.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets priced at £9 (adults), £8.50 (Friends of the Regal), £4.50 (16 and under & ES40s) and £20 (family ticket), are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Friday. Opening night offer £5 per ticket. Hurry before tickets sell out!  No performance on Sunday 12 August. No matinées.

Apologies that online booking is currently unavailable. The service will be restored very shortly.

Also coming up…

The first of a monthly Sunday afternoon Jazz club
PETE ALLEN HOT 4
On Sunday 12 August from 3pm to 5.30pm in the Regal Theatre Bar

The Pete Allen Hot 4 gather to present the first of a monthly Sunday afternoon Jazz club.

For those who love jazz, this will be an entertaining musical selection of happy traditional jazz that everyone can enjoy and understand. A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to Pete on saxophone accompanied by drums, bass and piano or guitar/banjo.

Tickets all cost £12.00 and are now available from the Regal Box Office (details as above).

The Jazz Club will continue to meet on the second Sunday of each month.  Next date will be Sunday 9 September

MINEHEAD TO WELCOME TOP UK AND EUROPEAN JET SKI RACERS

P1 AquaX Championships will serve up two days of high-speed marine motorsport action at the Minehead Summer Festival on the weekend of 4-5 August.

More than 40 jet ski riders from seven countries will head to Minehead Bay on the West Somerset coast to compete for UK and European P1 AquaX titles. This will be the first visit to Minehead by P1 AquaX since the race series was launched in the UK in 2011, and it now stages events in the USA, Malaysia and mainland Europe.

The Minehead Summer Festival has come about through a partnership between the Minehead Events Group, Minehead Coastal Communities Team, ThunderCat powerboats and P1 AquaX. It is hoped that the weekend will become an annual event to entertain residents and attract visitors to the town to raise its profile and boost the local economy. The double bill of fast and furious jet ski and powerboat racing will be free to watch and Andy Hadley, chairman of the Minehead Events Group, said: “As a fun weekend for all the family to enjoy, we are hoping to attract visitors from far and wide to watch the top class jet ski and powerboat racing, and I want to thank local sponsors Amicus Law, Beaver Ford, CJ Lynch & Sons, Autohaus and Jewson for their support in making this event possible.”

Mayor of Minehead, Cllr Norman Hercock, is looking forward to the Summer Festival: “I’m sure all the sporting action that will take place on Minehead seafront will deliver a special and entertaining weekend for both local residents and holidaymakers alike.”

Former world champion jet skier and now Global Head of P1 AquaX, Lisa Barsby, explains: “Our events take place on the sea with simple, wide-open race courses that give riders the chance to open up their throttles and enjoy the full performance of the craft. The racing includes both sprint and endurance classes, lasting about 10 minutes and 30 minutes respectively, with the racers reaching speeds of up to 80mph.

The four-venue P1 AquaX EuroTour series kicked off on France’s Mediterranean coast in May – following the announcement that Experience Kissimmee, the travel and tourism authority in central Florida that promotes the destination, had become the title sponsor of this season’s tour – and then visited Normandy last month. After Minehead the racers will travel to Port Balis near Barcelona for the final round in October. The UK Championship has raced in Torquay and Porthcawl this Summer and Minehead now hosts the finale.

One of the competitors with only a short journey next week will be Simon Gill, the experienced and successful jet skier from Bristol who is the reigning UK and European champion in 2-stroke sprint. “Minehead is just down the road,” says Simon, “And I often ride that coastline. There’s a very fast rise and fall tide there, with a range of more than 12 metres in the Bristol Channel, so it could make for some exciting racing especially if there’s a bit of wind about to produce some interesting conditions.”

The jet ski action will start at 9.30am on Saturday (4 August) and 11.30am on Sunday (5 August), with the podium presentations to the winning riders taking place on The Esplanade at 4pm on Sunday. The racing will be filmed for television and shown internationally on leading sports channels and also on P1AquaX-YouTube.

For information about the weekend follow this link… p1aquax.com/Race-info/Minehead/2018/86196

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.