All posts by thewinchesterguide

Win guide to the Theatre royal in february

It may be a short and wintry month, but there’s lots of Theatre on offer in Winchester. Here’s our Win Guide to the Theatre Royal in February:

We recommend booking for the revival of the late Andrea Dunbar’s Rita, Sue and Bob Too, 28 February – 2nd March. Originally premiered at the Royal Court in 1982, Dunbar was born on the Butterworth Estate in Bradford and penned her first play when she was just fifteen in green biro on the torn out pages of her school exercise book. The play made its way to the Royal Court Theatre in London and Dunbar’s talent was discovered. By 1987, Rita, Sue and Bob Too was adapted for film, directed by Alan Clarke. Dunbar died in 1990, but her wicked humour and startling insight lives on. Rita, Sue and Bob too tells the story of two teenage girls in the eighties groomed by an older man Bob. Briefly cancelled for its London performances in the wake of the #MeToo campaign and anxiety about the new context in which it would be received, the production was reinstated within two days following widespread support from critics, artists and fans of Dunbar’s work and thanks to an artistic director who listened and changed her mind. You can hear more about this on BBC Radio 4 Front Row. This revival has toured across the UK to critical acclaim and was produced by Out of Joint, Bolton Octagon and the Royal Court. It’s one to watch, think about and talk about in the bar afterwards. For more details, visit the website here.

Robin Hood and the Revolting Peasants will be rampaging at the Theatre Royal, 7 – 8 February, presented by Oddsocks. Join Robin, Little John, Maid Marion and of course Friar Tuck as they take on some of their hardest challenges to date: A conniving king, a sinister sheriff and a downtrodden village of peasants whose ‘get up and go’ has got up and gone. Tickets are available to book here.

If you’re celebrating the end of dry January, why not head along to The Thinking Drinkers on 9 February. It’s a unique ‘Alcohol based comedy’ (The Sunday Times). Enjoy five free drinks as the award-winning experts take you from the symposiums of Ancient Greece to the classic British boozer via Wild West saloons, Victorian gin palaces and the secret Speakeasy. Tickets and details available here. Strictly 18yrs and over for this one.

Tenors Un Limited present their 15 Year Anniversary Tour, 10 February. Dubbed the Rat Pack of Opera, Scott Ciscon, Jem Sharples and Paul Martin have assembled a fabulous mix of songs ranging from opera, pop and crooner classics, old favourites and self-penned songs. Tickets available here.

Yorke Dance Project celebrates 20 years of performing dance by past masters and emerging artists from the UK and USA on 12 February. This celebratory programme includes works by world renowned choreographers Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Robert Cohan alongside emerging Los Angeles choreographer Sophia Stoller and Yolande Yorke-Edgell. One not to miss. Tickets available here.

Winchester from the Crypt on 13 February features some of the best emerging talent from the Creative Writing department at University of Winchester, who have written an evening of horror stories to ‘chill your blood, rattle your bones and yank your chains’, performed by tomorrow’s stars of the future from the Performing Arts department. Tickets are only a fiver, so book while you can here. This one is 18 years plus too so not for those who are easily spooked.

14 – 16 February, Blackeyed Theatre in association with New Theatre Royal Portsmouth and South Hill Park Arts Centre present Sherlock Holmes – The Sign of Four. Crammed full of adventure, romance, comedy and of course one or two rather brilliant deductions, The Sign of Four is Arthur Conan Doyle’s epic second Sherlock Holmes tale, a breath-taking yarn brought to life in this spectacular new stage adaptation. Tickets available here.

RUBY TURNER is in town on 17 February! For many years Ruby Turner has been regarded as having one of the greatest voices the UK has ever produced. . Her career to date has been sensational with major tours, film, TV and theatre appearances.A very prolific songwriter, many of Ruby’s songs have been covered by artists such as Lulu, Yazz and Maxi Priest, while her vocal prowess has been employed to good effect by Bryan Ferry, Mick Jagger, Steve Winwood and Jools Holland. Book here.

Fasten your seat belts, set your ray guns to stun and get ready for a cosmic adventure of meteoric proportions as award-winning ENCORE Youth Theatre present Return to the Forbidden Planet by Bob Carlton. 21 – 23 February, tickets available here. Bursting with red hot rock & roll hits, including Great Balls of Fire, Good Vibrations, Teenager in Love and The Young Ones.

Towards the end of the month, enjoy the Chinese New Year Extravaganza! Touring across the country to celebrate the biggest festive event on the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year Extravaganza features a team of performers showcasing amazing Chinese performing arts. From the cheerful spirit of the auspicious Lion Dance, to the awe-inspiring contortion, the show is a colourful display of Chinese cultural tradition. Tickets available here.

Tavern Talks January 2019

On Thursday evening (24 January) Professor Tim Prentki will be speaking in the latest in the University of Winchester monthly series of Tavern Talks – held upstairs at the St James Tavern at the bottom of the Romsey Road.

Tavern Talks feature short informal talks followed by lively discussion. The evening starts with drinks from 5.30, with the talk itself kicking off at about 6.00pm. Tavern Talkers usually stick around for another drink (or two) downstairs after the discussion finishes at around 7.00.

Entry is free, participation encouraged. All are welcome. No booking required.

Tim will argue that, insofar as we process and perform reality in the same ways in which theatre operates, we might all be said to be ‘acting on the world stage’ – and will argue that, when our opportunities to develop as social performers and audiences are thwarted, we lose empathy and resort to tribal identities at odds with our cerebral wiring.

Tim is a playwright and the world’s first Professor of Theatre for Development, as well as being the author of numerous books on such subjects as Applied Theatre and Popular Theatre in Political Culture.

Forthcoming Tavern Talks:

Win Guide to December

That’s right Wintonians, the countdown to Christmas in Winchester is upon us. Let’s face it, our city is pretty good at embracing this season. Here’s our Win Guide to December…

Firstly, have you booked your ticket to panto at the Theatre Royal Winchester? This year’s festive treat is Beauty and the Beast. Oh yes it is. Audiences have been saying great things in response to the opening previews on Twitter and it’s going to be a corker. There are relaxed performances in the schedule and the show is recommended for anyone aged 3+. Booking details, times and prices can all be found online here.  

Young Theatre fans may also enjoy a visit to Santa’s Christmas Party at the Theatre Royal Winchester on Monday 17 December. It’s an interactive family show for children aged 2 – 7 years with a chance to meet Santa at the North Pole and receive a gift! For details, times and ticket prices, visit the website here.

And here’s a trailer:

The Chesil Theatre is hosting A Fun, Funky, Christmassy Musical Entertainment Evening, led by Marcus and Pete Whitfield. Tickets are just £3, and it will be a fantastic social event to celebrate the festive season at the Chesil Theatre. Get ready for some funky festive frolicking fun.

The Waynflete Singers present A Christmas Fanfare at Winchester Cathedral, 8 December at 7.30pm. The programme includes Handel’s Coronation Anthems, interspersed with Gabrieli’s thrilling brass Canzonas, and Heinrich Schutz’s mighty setting for double choir of Psalm 100, Jauchzet dem Herrn. John Rutter’s setting of the Gloria provides a brilliant and joyous opener for the second half, which concludes with a selection of Christmas carols for choir and audience. Tickets and prices are available online here.

Christmas in Winchester wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to the Cathedral Christmas markets and a bit of ice skating. There are over 100 wooden chalets this year, open from 10.30am until 6.30pm Sunday  –  Wednesday and 10.30am – 8pm Thursday to Saturday so there are plenty of opportunities to do some Christmas shopping over a glass of mulled wine or a hot chocolate. For the Cathedral Christmas and Carol service times, visit the website here.

Don’t forget to stroll to Kingsgate Village for Kingsgate Books & Prints, Cornflowers Gift Shop, P&G Wells Booksellers or Kingsgate Wine and Provisions. And there are many more hidden boutiques or purveyors of luxury items so get some walking boots and knitwear on.  Chococo is a must for edible gifts, and we urge you to stop off for a hot chocolate whilst there. If you want pure vintage, climb up the hill to Stardust Years for authentic ladies fashion and accessories.

The University of Winchester Carol Service takes place 11 – 12 December 2018, 6.15pm & 12.15pm.  Traditional carols and seasonal refreshments, as well as the contributions of students, staff, governors and, of course, the University Chancellor Alan Titchmarsh, all combine to make these events a suitably rich conclusion to the University’s calendar. The Service will be held at the University Chapel, King Alfred Campus, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road.

Winchester City Museum will be hosting a Christmas Family Make and Take craft event on 22 December, 10.30am – 1pm. There is no need to book and the event is free but places and resources will be limited.

It’s worth a visit to the Brooks Centre this year to enjoy some Christmas at the Brooks activities. Christmas Wonderland is open between 3 – 8 December. Watch festive films inside an Igloo or visit Father Christmas himself on 8 December. You can decorate a cupcake in Mrs Claus’ Kitchen on 15 December and, on 22 December there will be a chance for some Christmas Face Painting. For details, visit the website here.

If you feel like watching a good old Christmas movie on a big screen, the Everyman Christmas season will hit the spot. There will be a feast of Christmas feel good films on offer throughout December from the Sing-a-long Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Love Actually, Home Alone or the unmissable It’s a Wonderful Life. For times, dates and prices, visit the cinema website here.

The Railway Inn is throwing a Christmas party on 22 December from 8.30pm. Expect Christmas hats, mince pies, DJs, funk ,disco, friends, hip-hop, bass and anything else that gets a party going. To book tickets, visit the website here.

We’ll be bringing you more seasonal tips on Twitter @Win_Guide. Wrap up warm one and all and enjoy!

Heritage Focus: The Theatre Royal at 40

The Theatre Royal at 40 – An Undergraduate explores the historic impact of a community.

We met Sam Jenkins at the celebration of 40 years since the Theatre Royal was saved. Threatened with demolition in the 1970s an action group was formed comprising of six dedicated Winchester residents who wanted to save the building for use as a permanent theatre which Winchester lacked at that time. A charitable trust was formed and subsequently purchased the building in 1977. Theatre Royal Winchester was then opened the following year on 1 November 1978 by the esteemed actor/playwright Robert Morley. Sam has been researching the theatre as part of his studies at the University of Winchester and has kindly agreed to share his experiences and findings with us.

I am Sam Jenkins, a second year history student at the University of Winchester. As part of my degree I am currently undertaking a module called ‘Exploring Past Localities’, where I am exploring a local tenement in the Winchester area, tracing the tenement’s origins as far back as possible, right up to its use in the present day. This will culminate in a presentation of my findings in December. As a keen fan of cinema and theatre-going, I quickly chose the Theatre Royal as my tenement to explore. To fully equip me for the task, I received training to use resources from the Hampshire Record Office, where much historic documentation can be found on the Theatre Royal and the tenement of land it occupies.

One of the key aspects of this module is to consider the importance of ‘history-from-below’, an idea that has emerged in historiographical thought since the 1960s. This is the concept that historical writing should consider the role of ordinary individuals, and the impact of the civic community, rather than just focusing on how history was shaped by those in power at the very top of society. The sense of a rooted community spirit was very evident when I visited the Theatre for its 40th Anniversary celebrations on the 1st November.

Richard Steel, Phil Yates, Lady Jennie Bland, Janet Richardson, David Harding and Richard Chisnell.

It gave me a wonderful opportunity to meet first-hand some of the key people involved with saving the Theatre from being demolished in the 1970s. The guests I met included surviving members of the original ‘gang’ who came together to fight against the building’s planned demolition order, some of the volunteers who helped operate the Theatre when it first re-opened, as well as other members of the Winchester community and their family members who are connected to the Theatre’s history.

As an undergraduate I am expected to thoroughly explore the evidence when completing my assignments – historians are quite rightly expected to justify their “facts” or interpretations through multiple sources. While these sources can take many forms, they are often found in the form of a monograph (book) or journal article. To be able to actually see the theatre as it stands today and directly meet people involved with its development is a real honour, and the greatest joy is that it brings the research I am producing to life, quite literally. It reminds me that the role of the historian is not just to tell stories for storytelling’s sake – history is about real people, and ensuring that the collective efforts and achievements of real people are properly commemorated and appreciated for future generations.

The Theatre Royal would not be standing today had it not been for the generosity, commitment and determination of the Winchester community. This will be reflected strongly when I come to deliver my presentation.

Sam Jenkins

Twitter: @changemakersam

Find out more about the history of the Theatre Royal Winchester here.

The Digital Divide

The University of Winchester presents an inaugural lecture by Marcus Leaning, Professor of Digital Media Education on Thursday 29 November at 6pm (6.30pm start).

The public event is free to attend and all are welcome. Plus there will be wine, soft drinks and nibbles.

In 2001 Kofi Annan, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, announced a redoubling of the UN’s effort to bridge the ‘digital divide’.

The digital divide refers to the differences in people’s opportunities to access and use digital media and has been understood to be a barrier to development that stops individuals and countries from achieving their potential. Since Kofi Annan’s announcement, billions has been spent on seeking to address the digital divide. This lecture looks at these efforts, the nature of the problem itself and whether we are actually any closer to solving the digital divide.

Marcus Leaning is Professor of Digital Media Education and teaches on the Media and Communication degree. He is a National Teaching Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. He is the author or editor of seven books and has written numerous articles, book chapters and magazine articles on various aspects of digital media education and related topics. He has lectured and given papers in 25 countries and has been a visiting researcher and visiting professor at Hokkaido University, Japan; the University of Limerick in the Republic of Ireland and the University of Costa Rica.

Booking is required in advance:  book here

Date: Thursday 29 November
Time: 6pm for 6.30pm start
Location: The Stripe, King Alfred Quarter, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 4NR

Win Guide to November

Remember, remember, it’s time for a Win Guide to November. From fireworks to film festivals, here’s our guide to some sizzling events in the city this month:

It’s the 60th Charity Winchester Bonfire & Fireworks on Saturday 3rd November. Starting at 6pm on The Broadway by King Alfred’s Statue, the torchlight procession makes its way through the historical streets of Winchester to the fields behind River Park. At 7.15pm, the Bonfire will be lit, and at 7.45pm you can enjoy the legendary Fireworks Spectacular. Visit the website here for more details or to book tickets.

The Winchester Film Festival takes place from 3 – 10 November. Enjoy feature film premieres and award-winning short films selected from over 50 countries, at venues across the city of Winchester. For a full programme of films including dramas, thrillers, documentaries and animations, visit the 2018 programme here.  To find out more about the Winchester Film Festival or to book tickets, visit the website here.

You Are Here! closes at the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium on Saturday 4 November. Join the hosts of Wow Tours on an out-of-this-world immersive adventure as they attempt to put everything in its place – in our Solar System, the Universe and beyond! It’s a 30-minute show designed for children and their families. Be inspired to look up at the night sky and it could be the start of a lifelong adventure. For more details, visit the website here. And here’s a trailer:

On 7 November, there’s a special screening of War Horse in the Nave of Winchester Cathedral. Tickets are £10 (£7 for under 16s) available from the Cathedral Box Office 01962 857275.

The annual Christmas Light switch on, takes place on 15 November! Celebrate the start of the festive period and join Heart Radio’s Rich Clarke, who will be hosting an evening of live entertainment and fun, with the city’s wonderful Christmas lights being switched on by local Winchester heroes nominated by members of the public. The festivities start at 4pm and will end by 7pm (lights switched on at 6pm).

And whilst we are in the festive mood, the Cathedral Christmas markets and ice rink will open on 16 November. The official opening includes professional ice skating displays and music from the Cathedral Choristers along with the blessing of the tree. Following the Opening Ceremony, you will be free to explore the Christmas Market until 8pm.

Don’t forget to get booking for the Panto at the Theatre Royal which opens 1 December and runs until 6 January. This year, it’s Beauty and the Beast. Can Fairy Fifi bring Belle and the Beast together in time or will the evil Malevolent win the day? There’s only one way to find out. Visit the website here for times and tickets.

Speaking of the Theatre Royal, it’s a bumper month following on from the 40th anniversary celebrations since it was saved from demolition and re-opened as a performance venue. The one and only Nicholas Parsons will be starring in Just A Laugh A Minute on Saturday 3 November at 7.30pm. Book online here. The Winchester Musicals and Opera Society will be presenting Singing In The Rain from 7 – 10 November at 7.30pm.  Tickets are available here.

The Armistice Centenary Recalled takes place on 11 November at 7.30pm featuring Michael Pennington, Pamela Miles and John Miller. Exactly a hundred years after the Armistice marking the end of the First World War, this dramatic recital draws on the contemporary writings in poetry and prose to recreate the moods and passions of those involved at the time. For more details, or to book tickets, visit the website here.

Also commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the end of World War I, Scamp Theatre’s award-winning production of Private Peaceful is full of vivid detail and dramatic narrative, superbly brought to life by Andy Daniel. For tickets, visit the website here.

BBC TV wildlife presenter and cameraman Gordon Buchanan will be sharing insight into his incredible experiences with some of the world’s most fearsome and majestic animals on 12 November. Book here. 

If you missed our feature on the fantastic Welsh National Opera workshop for young people aged 10 – 18 years, you can read it here. The workshop takes place on 17 – 19 November. And, the Welsh National Opera cordially invites you to the World Premiere of the rip-roaring, uproarious musical comedy Rhondda Rips It Up!  The production takes you on an unforgettable journey through the life and adventures of that unsung heroine of the Welsh Suffrage movement, Margaret Haig Thomas, the Viscountess Rhondda. Tickets are available to book online here.

Fans of comedy will be delighted to hear that Stewart Francis, star of Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo and Crackerjack embarks on a brand-new show, Into the Punset on 21 November at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available here.

The Chesil Theatre will be presenting Honour by Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by Heather Bradford, 17 – 24 November. Honour is a provocative drama that challenges our notion of honour, our sense of decency and our belief that love will prevail. The Singer by Nick Joseph will also be hosted 28 November – 1 December. After the sell-out success of ‘The Railway Plays’ in 2017, award-winning writer-director Nick Joseph presents another foray into the absurd and the unpredictable with the story of a man, so cut-off from society that his name has become a musical note (so cannot be written). For more details and to book tickets, visit the website here.

On Thursday 22 November, Dr Vanessa Harbour will be talking about the issues writers face when ‘Writing History as Fiction’ as part of the University of Winchester Tavern Talks. Dr Harbour is a writer whose recent novel Flight was published by Firefly Press in August and was described by the New Statesman as “an adventure mixing horses and Nazis” which balances its “gripping plot” with “real-life inspiration”. She will suggest that, as a writer, she aims to create narratives that engage the imagination using voices that are unlikely to have left any written records behind them, as she tells the stories of the invisible characters of history.

Finally, The Kings Chamber Orchestra are on a journey exploring time and space on the road to Christmas, 24 November at 3pm at The Middle Brook Centre in Middle Brook Street. Under 3’s go free and tickets are £5! What did the shepherds actually see? Why? How? When? What has that got to do with the note “C”? What is the most dazzling music of all?All these questions and more will be considered through a musical journey with fun for all the family in our day time teddy concerts, presented with wit and spontaneity by cellist Gerard Le Feuvre. Bring a Teddy! Tickets are available here.

It’s going to be quite a month in Winchester. We’ll be bringing you more updates on Twitter @Win_Guide. Enjoy one and all!

Win Guide to Half term

It’s half term in Winchester and time for some entertainment ideas. Here’s a Win Guide to what this week has on offer for families:

It’s all gone Boo at the Zoo. That Zoo of course is Marwell, where a resident wizard Lowedalf will be assisting aspiring flyers to earn their Level 3 broomstick license. Sessions last 20 minutes and will be taking place on the front lawn of Marwell Hall. For more information about this and other special events, as well as details about admission prices, visit the website here.

The Winchester Science Centre will be Firework and Fairground themed for half term week. What gives fireworks their different colours? Why do they go whizz and bang? Explosive live science shows will run hourly from 11:00am until 15:00pm. Visitors are invited to create fairground rides from recycled materials in the inventors studios. The week will finish with a big flourish on Friday 26 at 5pm in the form of a sing-a-long screening of The Greatest Showman in the  planetarium. It will be a relaxed screening for younger viewers and costs £2 if you have paid to visit the centre, or £5 if you just want to sing like you’re Keala Settle or Hugh Jackman.

There’s a lot of entertainment on offer at the Theatre Royal this half term.  Pigtails Productions, Polka Theatre and Oxford Playhouse present How to Hide a Lion based on the story by Helen Stephens, 22 – 23 October. Iris embarks on a mission to squash her new friend into a variety of sneaky tight spots as the misinformed town folk try and track him down. Suitable for viewers 3 years and upwards. Check out the trailer here:

Young Theatre Royal is offering a musical theatre workshop, Sing it in A Day for children aged 8 to 18 years on 24 October.  All abilities are welcome.

Milkshake! Live arrives at the Theatre Royal on 25 October, 11.30am and 2.30pm. Starring Milkshake! favourites; Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Shimmer & Shine, Pip from Pip Ahoy!, Winnie and Wilbur, Wissper, Milkshake’s very own Milkshake! Monkey and two Milkshake! presenters, this all singing, all dancing, musical masterpiece, will take audiences on a journey through the world’s favourite fairy tales. And just in case all those celebrity character names didn’t give you a flavour, here’s a trailer:

Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West return to the stage with a marvellous magic show full of crazy capers for the young, old and everyone in-between! Morgan & West: More Magic for Kids is recommended for children aged 5 years + but all are welcome. And you can round a week of family theatre off with the 45th Anniversary of Pam Adams’ best selling book There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.  It’s the perfect treat for anyone aged 2 to 102. For more details or to book tickets, visit the Theatre Royal website here.

The Discovery Centre is offering some Gruffalo storytelling and craft sessions all week. Half term is a great time to get down to the library. On 20 & 27 October, join the Let’s go! Construction Club for all budding lego builders aged 5 years and over. Duplo and colouring will be available for younger construction fun seekers. Nick Cope will be performing his family concert on 27 October at 10.30am. Nick has over 20 years of experience in music, including international success as lead singer and songwriter with The Candyskins in the 1990s. He now writes and records music for families. Tickets are £6 and available to book online here.

Join the #SpookyWinch Winnie the Witch word search trail around the city organised by Winchester Bid. Pick up your trail from the Winchester Tourist Information desk or the Discovery Centre, or download one here.

Winchester Cathedral is offering a Family Stained Glass trail this half term. Pick up a trail from the entrance desk and discover the beautiful shimmering stained glass that can be found around the Cathedral. Finish up at the craft table where you can create your own ‘faux’ stained glass window. Children under 16 go free but must be accompanied by an adult. For more details and times, visit the Cathedral website here.

Visit Winchester City Mill for the Hansel and Gretel trail. Things are getting spooky with the tale of Hansel and Gretel and their battle with the Wicked Witch. Explore the Mill  to spot the trail of hidden breadcrumbs that Hansel has left. Use these to solve the cryptogram and lead you to the Wicked Witch’s cottage where there might be something sweet to take away. There will also be some Halloween pumpkin carving, 23 & 25 October from 11am – 3pm. Don’t forget to bring a pumpkin! Mike Rogers will be telling spooky stories on Friday 26 October. For more details, times and prices, visit the mill website here.

We’ll be bringing you more half term tips on Twitter @Win_Guide. Enjoy, one and all!

Feature: University of Winchester Tavern Talks

The University of Winchester’s Faculty of Arts has teamed up with St James Tavern at the bottom of Winchester’s Romsey Road to launch Tavern Talks, a new series of public conversations aimed at bringing people together to engage in lively discussions about the creative arts and contemporary discourse in the contexts of cultural history and modern politics and society.

These Thursday evening meetings will convene once a month in the upstairs room of the St James Tavern, and will feature short informal talks on intriguing topics designed to prompt further discussion. The evenings will start with drinks from 5.30, with the talks kicking off at about 6.00pm.

There’s no charge for entry and everyone is welcome, space permitting.

“We’re not planning to lecture people for an hour,” said the University’s Dean of Arts, Professor Alec Charles. “We’re offering something a bit different – something much more social and interactive, an opportunity for everyone to speak, share and learn.”

Tavern Talks has now announced the first three events in its autumn/winter programme.

On Thursday 25 October, Professor Peter Billingham will be introducing the idea of ‘Putting the Demo into Democracy’. A playwright and the author of many books and articles on theatre, television and music (including recent work on Leonard Cohen and Edward Bond), Professor Billingham will discuss the relationships between democracy and civil disobedience in these politically turbulent times. He will ask how far the limits of conventional democracy might stretch, and under what circumstances demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience might come to seem desirable and necessary.

On Thursday 22 November, Dr Vanessa Harbour will be talking about the issues writers face when ‘Writing History as Fiction’. Dr Harbour is a writer whose recent novel Flight was published by Firefly Press in August and was described by the New Statesman as “an adventure mixing horses and Nazis” which balances its “gripping plot” with “real-life inspiration”. She will suggest that, as a writer, she aims to create narratives that engage the imagination using voices that are unlikely to have left any written records behind them, as she tells the stories of the invisible characters of history.

On Thursday 24 January, Professor Tim Prentki will propose that, insofar as we process and perform reality in the same ways in which theatre operates, we might all be said to be ‘Acting on the World Stage’. Tim Prentki is a playwright and the world’s first Professor of Theatre for Development. The author of numerous books on such subjects as Applied Theatre and Popular Theatre in Political Culture, he will argue that, when our opportunities to develop as social performers and audiences are thwarted, we lose empathy and resort to tribal identities at odds with our cerebral wiring.

Tavern Talks are aimed at providing a space for constructive discussion and creative interaction that shifts the emphasis from the fusty to the fun, and welcome all who’d like to take part.

For more information, please contact: inga.bryden@winchester.ac.uk

Workshop with the Welsh National Opera

Welsh National Opera hosts bespoke workshop course in Winchester

This autumn Theatre Royal Winchester is partnering with Welsh National Opera, Mayflower Theatre and University of Winchester to offer young people the opportunity to take part in a two-day musical workshop course.  The Opera Engage weekend is inspired by Welsh National Opera’s new uproarious musical comedy Rhondda Rips it Up!

Rhondda Rips It Up! tells the story of the unsung heroine of the Welsh Suffrage movement, Margaret Haig Thomas, the Viscountess Rhondda. As well as campaigning tirelessly for women’s suffrage, she became the lightning rod for women’s efforts during World War One, survived the sinking of the Lusitania and created the radical feminist magazine Time and Tide.

Opera Engage will take place across two days on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 November. The course has been created to offer young people aged 10-18 a supportive environment to develop new skills in composing, singing, acting and designing. Participants will work with a professional creative team from Welsh National Opera and the weekend will culminate in a devised performance inspired by Rhondda Rips it Up! on stage at Theatre Royal Winchester. Young people who take part in the course will also receive a ticket to see the sold-out performance of Rhondda Rips it Up! at the venue on Tuesday 20 November.

With 70 years of experience and an international reputation for performing and touring world-class productions, Welsh National Opera is dedicated to providing a springboard for the next generation of talent, delivering unique workshops and courses around the country.

Working with Theatre Royal Winchester, Welsh National Opera’s Opera Engage will provide local young people the opportunity to take part in a transformative experience through music, delivered in partnership between Hampshire’s leading arts venues.

The cost to take part is £50 per person and bursaries are available.

Opera Engage: Rhondda Rips it Up! takes place on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18, with a performance on Monday 19 November, at Theatre Royal Winchester. More information and tickets are available online at theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk and from the on Box Office 01962 840 440

Fagin’s Twist comes to the Theatre Royal Winchester

Avant Garde Dance and The Place present

Tony Adigun’s Fagin’s Twist at the Theatre Royal Winchester.

Following the critically-acclaimed 2016 premiere of Fagin’s Twist and last year’s highly successful tour, Avant Garde Dance and The Place collaborate once again to present the 2018 UK autumn tour. The story unravels and explodes into a captivating performance and ambitious dance show, based on Charles Dickens’ much-loved classic. Fagin’s Twist is the untold story of a notorious and complex villain with a mischievous twist.

This explosive retelling throws a less sympathetic spotlight on orphan Oliver. Fagin’s Twist follows the gang leader in his youth, driven by greed and ambition in the face of overwhelming poverty. The dark Victorian streets are a place of little comfort and fairy-tale endings are hard to find in this poignant coming-of-age tale.

Tony Adigun’s dynamic choreography uses dance motifs taken from the streets to bring to life this adaptation set on the streets themselves, flipping the audience’s expectations of the five familiar characters – Oliver, Fagin, Nancy, Bill Sykes and the Artful Dodger – with an unmatched hip-hop contemporary style.

Tony Adigun comments, I’m excited to be bringing back Fagin’s Twist this autumn with new cast members, new energies, new spirit. I can’t wait to share this show with new audiences and surprise those who have seen it before. I’m motivated to bring hip-hop and physical theatre to inspire a new generation.

Fagin’s Twist is a daring, dynamic and hugely enjoyable rethink of a much-loved Victorian tale seen through the eyes of its infamous villain. (★★★★ The Times).

Fagin’s Twist was originally commissioned by Theatre Bristol, East London Dance, Pavilion Dance South West, Dance East and The Place, and co-produced by The Place. Fagin’s Twist has already performed around the country to critical and audience acclaim, including a run at leading London contemporary dance venue The Place and was performed in August 2017 at Edinburgh Fringe as part of the British Council Showcase.

Continuing to push the boundaries of Hip-Hop Contemporary dance, Avant Garde provides an intensive participation model for people all around the country to give easy access to dance industry. Fagin’s Twist is generously supported by Arts Council England.

Check out the trailer here:

Dates: 2nd – 3rd October

Theatre Royal, Winchester
Book here: www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk
01962 840440