Tag Archives: Creative Cow

A Glimpse Inside Creative Cow

by WinGuide editor  Donald Hutera

Travels with my AuntCreative Cow is a theatre company that specialises in fresh stagings of classic  plays or literary adaptations, from  Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Brandon Thomas’s Charley’s Aunt, and Dickens’ Hard Times to Harold Pinter’s The Lover, John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, Sheridan’s The Rivals and Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer.

Currently the company is touring the UK with Travels With My Aunt, a co-production with Malvern Theatres that includes performances March 28-April 2 at Theatre Royal Winchester.

The play was adapted in 1989 by Giles Havergal from Graham Greene’s 1969 novel, which had already been turned into a 1972 film starring Alec McCowen and the Oscar-nominated Maggie Smith. Greene’s unlikely hero is Henry Pulling, a retired and rather boring suburban bank manager and bachelor whose quiet, safe and risk-free life is completely turned around thanks to his eccentric Aunt Augusta.

The latter is an eccentric sexual adventuress and small-time swindler who harbours quite a significant secret. She persuades Henry to accompany her first to Brighton then Paris, Istanbul and beyond. Through this marvelous, madcap relative he encounters a twilight society of hippies, war criminals, CIA operatives and art smugglers and, in the process, is himself transformed.

The plotline not only mirrors Green’s real-life obsession with travelling, often to danger spots, but also takes the reader – and the theatre-goer – on a whirlwind tour of the fictional world the author had conjured in his previous writing.

Prior to the start of the tour, WinGuide editor Donald Hutera flung a few questions about both Creative Cow and the show in the direction of company co-founder Katherine Senior. Here’s what she had to say…

Donald Hutera: How and when did Creative Cow start, and where it its home?

Katherine Senior: Creative Cow was formed by two actors, Matthew Parish and me, and the director Amanda Knott. We’ve learnt to work very closely over the last nine years, so that what we hope to deliver always comes from a very organic place. We’ve been told that Creative Cow has a style which isn’t been forced upon the work we do, but grows out of our partnership. We rehearse in Exeter at the moment, but depending on the show we might rehearse in a barn on a farm in Devon where the cows live…

DH: Beyond the fact of 2016 being the 25th anniversary of Graham Greene’s death, why choose to stage and tour this source production now?

KS: We actually produced Travels With My Aunt in 2009 and have been looking to tour it again ever since. We managed to secure the rights for the most recent version of Giles Havergal’s stage adaptation, which was updated for London’s Menier Chocolate Factory a few years ago. The script has had various incarnations all over the world, some productions with four actors and others with as many as 30. We’ve opted for the four-actor version.

DH: What can audiences expect of the show?

SH: It’s a lively, skillful, inventive and highly entertaining evening that’s also true to Greene’s novel. It’s a pretty timeless piece, with many references and ideas that resonate still.

DH: What are some things you’ve learnt from working on it?

KS: It’s taught us a great deal about the true meaning of ensemble. As our director Amanda Knott – who was a professional ballet dancer in a previous life – has said, it’s like being in a ballet where you have to watch everyone else to create a true synchronicity. This is what our production has at its core. It’s hard work! But our aim has always been to present the most exciting, daring and fun night out possible.

To book tickets, please visit the Theatre Royal website.

Win Guide to Easter

king_alfred_perfectEaster greetings, “practically perfect” Wintonians.  Our secret is out, Winchester has been recognised by the Sunday Times as the number one place to live in Britain.  We are an “historic, cultured, foodie city”, with a strong sense of community, great restaurants and schools. With this extra spring in our step, here’s our Winchester guide to what’s on this Easter.

Chococo Chococo milk chocolate C181 robot eggLooking to buy THE egg?  Chococo’s C181 Chocholate Robot Egg has been featured in the BBC Good Food 2016 great taste test. Alternatively, the Milk chocolate Heavenly Honeycombe Easter Egg has been featured in Hello Magazine’s ‘Ultimate Easter Egg & chocolates gift guide’. And just to make the dilemma a little more perplexing, the Studded milk chocolate Butterfly Egg has been featured in Great British Chefs – ‘The best chocolate Easter eggs for 2016‘ and the Woman & Home’s Easter Collection 2016. 

Easter BrioThe Easter bunny hop returns over the Easter weekend.  Pick up a trail sheet from the Tourist Information Centre or from Chococo and search the city for egg-shaped clues in order to crack the bunny hop clue. Participating locations include Chococo, The Entertainer, Childhood’s Dream, Winchester Discovery Centre, The Old Fashioned Sweetie Shop and Creative Crafts.  Aside from the trail there will be Montezuma’s goody bags (while stocks last) and a Brio Play Event in The Brooks shopping centre offering children the chance to play with wooden railways 31st March – 2nd April. Watch out too for some singing Eggs on Legs and Egg Decoration on Saturday 26th March 10am – 4pm. Finish the trail at Chococo to claim an Easter treat whilst entering a draw for the chance to win a celebrated Chocolate Dinosaur egg.

National Trust Cadbury's Egg HuntWinchester’s Museums also have some Easter activities planned for some egg-ducational bunny and chick related activities.  The Westgate Museum will be holding an Easter spotter quiz throughout the easter holidays.  There will be some bunnies hiding throughout the museum and children can win a small tasty prize if they spot them all.  The museum is open 10am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday and 12pm – 5pm on Sundays. The Gurkha Museum will be offering an Easter chick hunt with a treat for explorers and normal admission fees apply. Winchester City Mill will be offering a Cadbury’s Easter egg hunt with clues hidden around the 17th-century working corn mill, part of a UK National Trust Cadbury’s egg hunt.

Marwell egg huntFor egg-splorers willing to travel that little bit further, Hinton Ampner will be inviting young Indiana Jones’s to hunt for giant eggs in the grounds with a Cadbury’s Egg head as their egg-grail.  There will be free face painting on offer over the easter weekend too. Marwell Zoo is advertising its Wild Egg Hunt for a chance to meet the Easter Bunny in his burrow and enjoy a free chocolate egg. Again, normal admission fees apply.

Cathedral Easter Buscuits
Cathedral Easter Buscuits

For a guide to Easter holy week at Winchester Cathedral, please visit here. Aside from the services on offer, the Cathedral have also hidden ten giant eggs for ‘eggspert’ egg hunters to find, with a chocolate prize to collect from the gift shop at the end.  The trail is available during normal visitor opening hours, Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 5pm and on Sunday 12.30pm – 3pm. Cathedral entry fees apply. Free for annual pass holders (£7.50 adult annual pass, free entry for children under 16 visiting with family). The Cathedral refectory will be offering a ‘drop-in’ easter biscuit decorating session, Sat 26, Sun 27, Mon 28 and Sat 2 and Sun 3 Apr. There is no need to book in advance with a suggested donation of £1 offering exploring adults the chance to sit down with a cup of something whilst the sugar-seekers get creative.

Henry-VFor some theatrical tonic to relieve the easter overload, and while you are visiting the Cathedral, don’t forget to book your tickets to see Antic Disposition’s Henry V by William Shakespeare on 18 April at 7.30pm.  The play marks both the centenary of the First World War and the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

Travels with my AuntFor another evening of entertainment, book tickets to see Creative Cow’s Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene, adapted by Giles Haverga at the Theatre Royal.  The production, directed by Amanda Knott, takes us on a journey with Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager with a penchant for dahlias, in a madcap dash around the world. Our Win Guide editor will be bringing you some more details soon on the production, running 28 March – 2nd April.

Enjoy the bountiful easter experiences our number one city has to offer, city folk, and stock up on toothpaste.