Category Archives: Feature

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!

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

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

NEW DANCE GOES VIRAL

By our editor in chief, Donald Hutera
Exclusive to The Winchester Guide

This autumn Shobana Jeyasingh Dance brings its latest work ‘Contagion’ to six science, art and war-related sites across the country. The tour opens September 15 and 16 at the Gymnasium Gallery in Berwick-upon-Tweed, a former army barracks where soldiers were sent to keep fit during the First World War. The good news for residents of Winchester and environs is that the second stop of the tour is September 22 and 23 at the Great Hall in Winchester – a truly stirring location.

Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and supported by Wellcome, ‘Contagion’ commemorates the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic which ravaged the world to a greater degree than the Great War itself. Directly exacerbated by troop and civilian migrations from the First World War, the pandemic infected one third of the world’s population and killed over 50 million people.

‘Contagion’ is a promenade performance which underlines the irony that, while human warfare raged in the trenches, a silent and far deadlier enemy was waging war within the human body itself. The choreography echoes the scientific features of a virus: rapid, random, constantly shape-shifting. A cast of eight female dancers contort, strategise and mutate as they explore both the resilience and the vulnerability of the human body. The extraordinary work of artist Egon Schiele, himself a victim of the pandemic, is a powerful artistic footnote to the performance. His depiction of twisted bodies and expressive lines perfectly captures the physical and psychological anxieties of the times.

As a Winchester Guide exclusive, our editor and contributor Donald Hutera interviewed one of the dancers in ‘Contagion’ via email. Avatâra Ayuso is both a long-time member of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and the company’s Associate Artist, as well as being an experienced and celebrated dance-maker herself.

Donald Hutera: How has Shobana Jeyasingh gone about finding movement with the cast of ‘Contagion’ that might correspond to and convey symptoms of the Spanish flu?

Avatâra Ayuso: Shobana has been reading a lot about the Spanish flu and talking to expert virologists to understand the disease. She shared her knowledge with the dancers in the studio, and via a process of creative tasks we gave shape to those words, images and behaviours of the virus and its symptoms.

DH: What determined the casting of eight women in the piece?

AA: Women actively took caring responsibilities during the pandemic. Men were busy at war, but women were fighting another kind of war at home. Most of the information we have about the flu is thanks to the letters these women wrote. They are actually the heroines in this episode of history. Having an all-female cast made total sense.

DH: How is the performance structured over-all?

AA: The audience is going to experience a journey that will take them from the most personal stories to the inside of the virus. The visuals, music, costumes, lighting are in close relation with Shobana’s choreography, helping the audience to travel with us, the dancers.

DH: What is the soundtrack for the show?

AA: That is going to be a very special part of the work! I cannot reveal part of it, but I can assure you it will create a very touching atmosphere. The soundscape is supported by real texts of some survivors of the flu.

DH: What are you wearing in the performance?

AA: Very simple costumes. The body is the protagonist in this choreography. Seeing the muscles in action, the lungs, the face and the backs is very important to understand how the virus affected the body.

DH: Are there any direct historical sources in ‘Contagion’, or is it more of an abstract work? I am wondering how much of its historical time it might be…

AA: As I mentioned, there are some texts extracted from real testimonies made at the time. They are very moving. The work flows from literal sources to an abstract representation of the effects of the virus. Both extremes complement each other very well.

DH: What new discoveries are you making about dance and yourself as an artist as a result of being involved in this project?

AA: More than a discovery, it is a re-confirmation that I love working with set designs – despite the difficulties! Working with an active set design like the one we have is always a challenge for the dancers. The body suffers to start with, as a new element enters your creative life. This means your brain and body have to be in total awareness every single minute to avoid accidents, and to develop a strong relationship with the set. Despite all of this, I love it! Once you and the set ‘understand’ each other, you can deliver the emotional story in a much deeper way.

DH: In what ways might ‘Contagion’ be considered new territory for Shobana? What do you think she might be discovering about her art-making as related to the making of this work?

AA: In the ten years I’ve been with Shobana Jeyasingh Company, it is the first time we have used such a big set design. On its own it is a beautiful work of art that will get ‘re-dimensionalised’ by the dancers in motion. Shobana enjoys any new creative challenge and with every one of these challenges, new movement ideas and relationships with the space emerge.

DH: Is there anything else you think it might be useful for a prospective audience member to know about ‘Contagion’ or Shobana’s work?

AA: It will be very moving and visually stunning. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this work. We, the dancers, are looking forward to meeting you. And remember, Shobana is one of the greatest choreographers in the UK!

Contagion is being performed on Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 September at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm in Winchester Great Hall, The Castle, Castle Avenue, Winchester SO23 8UJ.

Booking: 023 8065 2333 / www.thepointeastleigh.co.uk

Tickets: Contagion is included in the entry fee to Winchester Great Hall – £3 for adults, £2 for children under-16 with concessions and family tickets available.

For information on Shobana Jeyasingh Dance:
https://www.shobanajeyasingh.co.uk/

For information on AVA Dance:
http://www.avadancecompany.com/

Win Guide to June

There’s lots going on in our fair city this month, from festivals to theatre costume sales and of course our beloved Hat Fair. To find out more, here’s our Win Guide to June.

Head on down to the Chesil Theatre for some folk music on 1 June, performed by the Itchen Folk band. The Compton & Shawford based group will play music from the British Isles and the US. While we’re at the Chesil Theatre, don’t miss their costume sale on 9 June. There will be a range of items on offer from various periods reflecting the range of repertoire that has been dressed over the years. Prices range from just 50p to £50 so get ready to rummage.

The Theatre Royal has an exciting programme on offer this month. Events include Germaine Greer, 3 June and her talk on the inevitability of ecofeminism.  Robert Habermann will be Mad about Movies on 7 June in his history of Hollywood musicals. The show climaxes with a marvellous medley of 20 Oscar winning songs. Shappi Khorsandi will be portraying Emma Hamilton in Mistress and Misfit, 8 June. Dance-wise, you can book to see the sizzling Flamenco Express on 9 June or Ballet Central on 12 June, featuring work by world renowned choreographers.  Families can enjoy the Integr8 Dance school showcase, 15 – 17 June.  Le Navet Bete & Exeter Northcott Theatre bring us Dracula: The Bloody Truth on 13 – 14 June. Kids will be interested in Tall Stories The Snail & The Whale, 10 – 11 June.

Blue Apple Theatre will be filling us in on some history with Winchester! The First 100,000,000 Years, 21 – 23 June. Where did those first settlers on the banks of the Itchen get a decent cup of coffee and did Jane Austen ever get caught up on the one-way system? And finally, don’t miss Reflections of Johnny Cash, Karen Carpenter, Judy Garland & Eva Cassidy, 24 June.

Winchester Cathedral has a packed June full of events to enjoy. Here’s a list of what’s on:

Stone Festival 2018 Friday 15 – Sunday 17 June 2018,

10.00am – 4.00pm Daily. Free Entry – All Welcome

Jane Austen: Tour and Tea Saturday 2 June,10.00am
Tickets: £12.50 Includes hot drink and a slice of cake

Garden Tour  Saturday 2 June, 10.00am Tickets: £6.50

Spiritual Tours with Rev’d Katie Lawrence
Monday 4 June & Wednesday 6 June, 7.00pm – 9.00pm Tickets: £5

Lunchtime Recital – Mikhail Lezdkan (Cello)
Tuesday 5 June, 1.00pm Free to attend

Modern Art Tour and Tea Saturday 9 June, 10.00am
Tickets: £12.50 includes hot drinks and a slice of cake

Britten’s War Requiem Saturday 9 June, 7.30pm
Tickets: £20- £35

Film Night: Stations of the Cross (2014)
Tuesday 12 June, 7.00pm Tickets: £5

Lunchtime Recital: Paul Turner (Piano) & Enigma 14.
Tuesday 12 June, 1.00pm Free to attend

Shipping Festival Service
Thursday 14 June, 7.30pm

Tour: Magnificence Revealed
Saturday 16 June, 10.00am
Tickets: £12.50 includes hot drinks and a slice of cake

Lunchtime Recital: Winchester College Music Scholars
Tuesday 19 June, 1.00pm
Free to attend.

Yanomamo – Featuring Winchester Cathedral Junior and Youth Choir
Saturday 23 June, 7.30pm Tickets: £15 & £20

Professor Alister McGrath – On the Trinity
Tuesday 26 June, 7.00pm
Tickets: £5

Lunchtime Recital – Wells Cathedral School Specialist Music Department
Tuesday 26 June, 1.00pm Free to attend

First World War – In my end is my beginning: Tour and Cream Tea
Friday 29 June, 2.00pm
£12.50 includes a cream tea

For the wordsmiths among us, it’s the Winchester Writers Festival, 15 – 17 June. The festival includes some interesting networking opportunities, including the chance to meet editors and agents.  The keynote speaker for this year’s festival is the novelist Patrick Gale. To book your place, visit the website here.

Winchestival takes place 16 June in North Walls park.  There will be music, comedy and street food to enjoy with the 1980’s synth pop band Fickle Friends headlining the event.  Winchester Comedy Festival will be ensuring that there will be plenty of giggles on the day.  To book tickets for beats, eats and comedy treats, visit the website here.

Hat’s at the ready, the UK’s longest running outdoor arts festival Hat Fair takes place Friday 29th June – Sunday 1st July. On Friday and Saturday there are two jam-packed dates of arts and culture all around Winchester city centre. On Sunday, all are welcome to picnic on North Walls recreation ground where there will be more entertainment to enjoy. For the full programme, which includes an inflatable Whale venue and dancing on giant Jenga, visit the Hat Fair website here.

With so much culture on offer this June, it’s going to be a great month in the city. We’ll be bringing you more updates on Twitter throughout the month. Have fun one and all.

Win Guide to March

March started with the Beast from the East and an Amber weather warning. We hope our fellow Wintonians managed to stay warm and dry in the snow.  A big thank you to Trinity Winchester, local carers, emergency services, public sector staff and neighbours who cared for the vulnerable during an unexpected freeze.

As the snow melts and we return to the beginnings of Spring, here’s our Win Guide to March:

Handbags at the ready, The Original Theatre Company will be visiting the Theatre Royal Winchester with a delightful production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, starring Gwen Taylor, 5 – 7 March.  For more details or to book tickets, visit here. Other theatre highlights this month include Slightly Fat Features, think Monty Python meets Cirque du Soleil, 11 March. Lloyd and Rose Buck will be giving a talk, Our Life with Birds, 13 March.  There will be a rare opportunity to meet Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, hawks, owls, starlings and many more, in the theatre! Jason Donovan will be at the Theatre Royal on 16 March, along with his mid-life crisis.  For the younger audience members, don’t forget to book for Peppa Pig, 17 – 18 March.  The Winchester Comedy Festival will be presenting a Comedy Gala, 17 March.

The University of Winchester students will be teaming up with the Theatre Royal for Scratch Shakespeare on 19 March.  With four directors, four theatre companies and four performances inspired by the Bard himself, be there or be a poisonous bunch-backed toad. Our insult (Richard III) not theirs! There is also the chance to see Wessex Dance Academy, 22 March, and the Young Theatre Royal showcase on 27 & 29 March. Oh, and the Swansea City Opera will be bringing the Barber of Seville to the Theatre Royal stage on 20 March.  For full programme details and to book tickets, visit the website here.

Craig Charles, the beloved Red Dwarf actor, will be bringing his Funk & Soul Club to the Guildhall on 9 March from 10pm.  The event is for 18+ years. Support comes from The Soul Rays and Jimi Needles. For full details and to get booking, visit the Guildhall website here.

Don’t forget it’s mother’s day on Sunday 11 March.  There are still a limited number of tickets left for the Great British Gin Festival, which could be a treat.  To snap the last tickets up and find our more, visit here. There are also various offers on offer throughout the city to spoil mums with lunches, dinners or afternoon tea.  Hotel du Vin has an afternoon tea with Champagne deal on, £50 for two. Or the Holiday Inn will be offering afternoon tea with unlimited Prosecco. An 18+ age guidance of course applies.

For some more theatre fun, The Venetian Twins by Carlo Goldoni will be on at the Chesil Theatre, 17 – 24 March directed by Mark Frank.  Goldoni’s timeless comedy is a wonderful whirling confusion of frustrated lovers, bizarre fights between mistaken adversaries and devious plots that go off the rails – with a surprising bitter-sweet twist at the end. Check out the trailer:

Don’t forget to book tickets here.

Whilst we’re at the Chesil Theatre, the 10×10 Playwriting Competition is open for submissions until 30 March.  The theme is Hidden Worlds.  Ten plays will be selected for performances at the 10×10 New Writing Festival to be held in October 2018. The aim of 10×10 is to discover, promote and produce the very best new writing of ten-minute plays. 10×10 has provided a platform for playwrights and played a small but significant role in their continuing successes. For more details and to download the submission form, visit the website here.

Finally, we recommend a trip to Winchester College to hear the Winchester Symphony Orchestra and pianist Ivana Gavric on 24 March, 7.30pm conducted by Nicholas Wilks. The programme includes Jean Sibelius – Finlandia, The Swan of Tuonela, Lemminkainen’s Return and En Saga. Felix Mendelssohn – Piano Concerto no. 1 and Johannes Brahms – Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn.

We’ll be bringing you more updates throughout the month @Win_Guide.  Have a fun month, one and all.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

As the ‘dark pleasure’ of the multi-award-winning Mark Bruce Company’s Macbeth arrives at Theatre Royal Winchester (Jan 31 & Feb 1) as part of a national tour, veteran dance-theatre critic Donald Hutera learns more about this compelling new take on Shakespeare’s most notorious couple – and, in a Winchester Guide exclusive, speaks not just to the show’s creator but to the two dancers cast in the leading roles.
MARK BRUCE, choreographer and director
Q. What are your thoughts on Macbeth?
MARK BRUCE: It hits you fast, cuts through to the bone, and for me it’s the least ambiguous of Shakespeare‘s plays. Its darkness opens our nightmares; we recognise fundamental traits inside ourselves, and the consequences of acting upon them. The vicious pursuit of power to fill a void will always be relevant. The Macbeths are everywhere in every age, because they’re a part of us.
 
Q. When did you discover Macbeth and what did you think?
MARK BRUCE:   I first read it as a teenager and, returning to it now, the images and atmosphere it evokes haven’t changed. Its power lies in a relentless tale of supernatural horror told with a beauty and symbolism that reaches to the tragic state of the ‘other.’   The supernatural is always present in Macbeth, bending our own thoughts and perceptions as well as those of the protagonists. It infects us, always one step ahead, and Macbeth’s decisions are made in the world of a nightmare as if there’s no separation between thought and action. Murder is done and descent is rapid.
 
Q. Why choose Macbeth?
MARK BRUCE: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I had a vision of Macbeth’s world and some of the cast in mind. It was the same with my company’s previous shows, Dracula and The Odyssey.  The choreographic language of Macbeth is very specific and detailed, and I felt I had the right dancers at the right time in their careers to pursue this vocabulary.  I do feel there’s a time when you are ready to do a production, and you can’t really contrive that.
 
Q. Your production puts Lady Macbeth centre-stage with Macbeth himself. Please say more…
MARK BRUCE: The Macbeths are mere playthings of the evil they set free, and in the madness and emptiness that ensues they become but walking shadows, or – as in my adaptation – simply clowns of sound and fury.
Q. Are you influenced by other artists?
MARK BRUCE: Influences always begin subconsciously and often it’s only in retrospect that I identify them. I also don’t expect to completely understand why an influence has imposed itself. I do think I’ve been affected by the films of David Cronenberg for this production: their pace, his economic shot selection and the film Eastern Promises especially. The brooding atmosphere, the colour, the darkness seem to marry with the world and characters I saw Macbeth taking place in. Compared to a production like The Odyssey, in which there was a myriad of influences, Macbeth is far more lean. It’s written for the stage. My approach has been quite simple so I can really explore the text, and get deeply into the characters and the world in which it is set. 
Q. How do you choose your dancers for Mark Bruce Company productions?
MARK BRUCE: Sometimes I’ll have particular dancers in mind for a production and this will have a bearing on whether I pursue it or not – whether it’s an established narrative or something I’ve written myself. With Macbeth I had a combination of dancers I already knew and some new ones. I held an audition for which we had over six hundred and fifty applicants. From this I took three dancers. They needed to be strong dramatically and in contemporary and classical technique.
 
Q. Your music choice for Macbeth is classical and doesn’t involve any of your own compositions, unlike many of your other productions.
MARK BRUCE:   The music of Arvo Pärt was a fundamental decision in realising a through-line for Macbeth. I was instantly drawn to how it captures something deep inside us. It can be sparse and refined, and for me Macbeth is a refined play. Like Arvo Pärt’s music, there’s so much going on with every line, every suggestion, and this enables our imagination to transcend to the state of what’s inside the protagonists, what they are missing, and the state of their souls. I felt the combination of the subject matter and this music created something beautiful and tragic. These two elements were the basis of my interpretation of Macbeth.
ELEANOR DUVAL and JONATHAN GODDARD, dancers
 
Q. What are the pleasures (and any perils!) of working for and with Mark Bruce?
ELEANOR DUVAL: This process has been a pleasurable one. We started with some R&D a year ago with a few dancers in the studio, where Mark tried some ideas out and started working on the relationship between the Macbeths. He’s taken his time to create these characters, which has also given us time to inhabit them. Everything has been very detailed, and the ‘conversations’ between Jon and myself are crucial to the plot. The new studio the company has in Frome is a game-changer. There all the creative team have been around, and we’ve had the set up in the studio from day one of rehearsals, so a real sense of atmosphere and excitement has been apparent from the beginning. I guess the only peril working for Mark is that I seem to have very disturbing dreams!
JONATHAN GODDARD: This is my third production with Mark, and I enjoy trying to bring the visions he has into the world. It’s always interesting to see how a director imagines a character, and I relish the darkness of the roles – thankfully quite different to my own temperament and life.
 
Q. What sorts of things have you discovered during the creation period about the character you play?
ELEANOR DUVAL: Lady Macbeth is extremely manipulative and will do anything to gain power. I feel during the creation time I put a lot of work into how I could make this clear to an audience. The result has been an editing process where ‘less is more.’ The calmer she remains the stronger she comes across. The detail in every look is crucial. Mark spent a long time with Jonathan and me on our physical and mental reactions to the various situations we find ourselves in during the piece. One thing that surprised me was the vulnerability in my character. Obviously I know the play, and the ‘washing of the hands’ scene is well-known. Her insanity, however, builds throughout this production. Lady Macbeth remains strong for her husband until her stubbornness, pride and denial finally cracks, and everything spirals out of her control.
 
JONATHAN GODDARD: It’s been interesting to give myself over to a character that seems to aspire to total freedom, but who also has to negotiate and bear the extreme repercussions and effects of his actions and fate.  I love that Shakespeare makes everything happen right away, right that minute. If Macbeth decides to murder someone he’ll do it straight away; if things go wrong, they spiral fast. It makes the journey a thrilling one, and demands real on-the-spot commitment to some quite extreme moments.
 
Q: What have you discovered about yourself as an artist and a person?
ELEANOR DUVAL: Worryingly, I’ve discovered that I enjoy being an incredibly awful person! It’s been a real treat to dip into something this evil. I’ve also found the detail and precision of the choreography an enjoyable challenge. We’ve worked closely from the script in creating a choreographic language. Every nuance and accent is specific. Of all the productions I’ve danced in for Mark this has been a very different approach, and therefore I’ve learnt new skills at the right time in my career.
JONATHAN GODDARD: That I’m still enjoying dancing in my late thirties. It takes longer and longer to warm up, but I’m still curious and my body is just about doing what I want it to.
Q. If this version of Macbeth were to be experienced with all the senses, how might it smell, feel and taste?
ELEANOR DUVAL: This production would definitely taste metallic and smell of flesh. However there are sweet tastes along the way as I feel Mark has created a lot of beauty within the harshness.
JONATHAN GODDARD: I think it would taste metallic, and feel as if someone has just left you alone in a car park at night!
Q. What will it sound and look like?
ELEANOR DUVAL: Truly beautiful. 
JONATHAN GODDARD: It sounds very beautiful. Mark has worked with a lot of Arvo Pärt for this production. I think this music captures Macbeth’s sort of transcendent state and the constant presence of the supernatural in his world.  
Q. In a nutshell, why does this Macbeth need to be seen and experienced?
ELEANOR DUVAL: It’s a unique production that touches all the senses. Audiences will ultimately find it cathartic. Mark has created a world which we have all delved into, from the dancers to the creative team – lights, costumes and set. The audience will have a chance to be drawn into this world and experience Shakespeare’s savage tragedy in all its beauty.
JONATHAN GODDARD: I think Macbeth always feels very modern and current to audiences. It definitely speaks to now and the perils of power unchecked. It’s a brilliant introduction to dance-theatre if you haven’t seen any before and, hopefully, a dark pleasure if you have.
Company and tour info: http://www.markbrucecompany.com/
  

Win Guide to January

Happy New Year, Wintonians. The christmas festivities may be over but we’re very excited about 2018 in Winchester. Here’s our guide to some invigorating arts and culture in the city this January.

To start the year off with some live music, take a look at the Railway Inn’s programme.  Events include Riteoff (12 Jan), Who Killed Nancy Johnson? (13 Jan), Lucy Bernandez and Friends (19 Jan), Blackstone Jones (20 Jan) and the Department electro party (26 Jan).  For full details or to book tickets, visit the website here.

From the Jam will be taking the Guildhall by storm (26 January) whisking you back to the early 80s.  The band is comprised of legendary former ‘The Jam’ bassist Bruce Foxton, vocalist & guitarist Russell Hastings, drummer Mike Randon, and Andy Fairclough on Hammond and piano.  Tickets (14+) are available here.

For a different aesthetic, Index Cantorum will return with an immersive musical performance at Winchester Cathedral 20 Jan, 12pm & 1pm.  Experience the music in a promenade or sit in the nave whilst the singers encircle the audience. The event is free with a retiring collection.  For details, visit the cathedral website here.

Tom Kempinski’s ‘Duet for One’ is a thought provoking piece at the Chesil Theatre (20-27 Jan). The play which premiered starring Frances De la Tour in the 1980s is inspired by the story of Jacqueline du Pre and her conductor husband, Daniel Barenboim.  A virtuoso violinist, Stephanie has lived for music since the age of four. She and her composer husband appear a golden couple until she is struck down with multiple sclerosis. Can she adjust to a different life? The story is told through successive interviews with a psychiatrist whose quiet probing unveils the true picture. For ticket details, visit the website here.

The Theatre Royal will be hosting the World Premiere of Mark Bruce’s dance theatre adaptation of Macbeth 31 January. That’s right, you can see it here first.  Goaded by the whispers of demons, the Macbeths unleash murder for their own gains and set in motion their path to madness and self-destruction, unravelling events in a nightmare they cannot control. To book tickets, visit the theatre website here.

Trailer:

Macbeth Trailer from Mark Bruce Company on Vimeo.

We’ll be bringing you more highlights throughout the month on Twitter @Win_Guide.  Have a great start to 2018, one and all.

Review of Peter Pan by Sophia, aged 6

Sophia went to see Peter Pan with her primary school. Here is her review of this year’s Theatre Royal Winchester pantomime:

I went to the Theatre Royal and the show was called Peter Pan.  It was so fun!

So there were some characters and one of them was called Tiger-Lily.  I liked her because she was good and she had a costume that looked like a tiger.  There was a really amazing song that I really liked and it had the word ooh-ahh in it.

There was Tinker Bell and it was actually amazing because she really looked like a fairy, she was small and green and she glowed.  There was someone who was Peter Pan and it looked like he was flying.  There was a crocodile and it went on its feet and the feet were sideways.  It looked really good!

There was someone called Wendy and she had brown hair like me and she went to Netherland with Peter Pan.  Captain Hook had a golden bit in the middle and it was shiny.  He was funny and he had a beard.  And there was a disco ball.

At the end we sang a song and it was a really funny Pirate song.  If I could have been in the pantomime I would have been the ballerina.

Sophia and her class had a brilliant time at Peter Pan.  Don’t miss out! To book tickets, visit the Theatre Royal Winchester website here.