Tag Archives: Theatre Royal Winchester

Two Hundred Years of Autumn

Event: Mon 07 Oct 2019 at 7.30pm Book tickets here

Autumn 2019 is the bicentenary of the great romantic poet John Keats’s famous visit to Winchester. Keats stayed in Winchester for two months, from August to October 2019. On 19 September, he took a walk along the banks of the River Itchen and, inspired by this experience, wrote his immortal ode ‘To Autumn’, one of the best-loved (and indeed most anthologized) poems in the English language.

Keats’s time in Winchester – his ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ – represented the last great flowering of his creative genius. Shortly after leaving Winchester and moving into a house in London on 8 October 2019, he became ill. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, he was advised to leave England to travel to warmer climes. Sixteen months later, in Rome, he died.

Keats was buried in the protestant cemetery in Rome. The epitaph on his tombstone was one he had requested himself: “here lies one whose name was writ in water”.

But in the years since his death his name and his words and his vision have of course proven rather more permanent than he might ever have dreamed.

In honour of the anniversary of his local sojourn, the University of Winchester is staging ‘Two Hundred Years of Autumn’ at Theatre Royal Winchester on the evening of 7 October, as part of Visit Winchester’s ‘Keats in Winchester’ programme of events.

The University has worked with a wide range of regional, national and international organisations – and local people – to assemble this unique show.

“We’re so grateful to Hampshire Writers’ Society, Hampshire Cultural Trust, Winchester Poetry Festival, Winchester Writers’ Festival, Theatre Royal Winchester and Winchester Youth Theatre, as well as our friends from the Keats Foundation and the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association,” says Professor Alec Charles, curator of the show. “This is a great collaboration between such a lot of people who have one wonderful thing in common – an abiding love of the poetry of Keats.”

The show will include performances of Keats’s work and of the winning entries in writing competitions run to celebrate the city’s Keats bicentenary – both a children’s poetry competition run by Hampshire Cultural Trust and Winchester Poetry Festival, and a special competition run by Hampshire Writers’ Society to provide literary responses to the opening of his great autumn ode.

There will also be new music and songs inspired by Keats’s poetry, and scenes from Keats’s life specially adapted from his correspondence by Peter Phillips from the Keats Foundation.

The show will feature performances from the University’s students and Winchester’s Youth Theatre, as well as guest performances from Blue Apple Theatre, Storm Cloud Theatre and the Bard Buskers.

The show is directed by Cara Honey and produced by Alex Mackintosh.

“Working with such a variety of people on this project has been fascinating,” says Cara. “I’ve found that Keats is really relatable to so many creative artists and performers – we share so many of his ideals and aspirations. It’s incredible what he managed to achieve in his short life.”

“Keats is one of those artists whose reputation has grown and grown since his death,” adds Alex. “The poet who died so young has really lived forever.”

Tickets are only £5 (with proceeds going to Live Theatre Winchester Trust) and are available at: https://www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk/two-hundred-years-of-autumn/

Win guide to hat fair 2019

Hold on to your Hats: Winchester’s beloved Hat Fair Festival takes place this weekend, from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th July 2019. Did you know that Hat Fair is the UK’s longest running festival of Outdoor Arts?

Celebrating 45 years this summer, the festival, which welcomed audiences of over 70,000 last year, is set to host acts from across the region, to international performers, and will entertain all ages. Performances, activities and installations will take place throughout the city centre on Friday and Saturday, with the festivities moving to North Walls Recreation Ground on Sunday.

Ghost Caribou – Credit Ian Hodgson

Hat Fair starts on Friday at 12 noon with Hat’s Fair ‘Fabulous’ Carnival. Hundreds of school-children will leave The Great Hall in brightly coloured costumes they have made for the event. They will be followed by Thingumajig Theatre’s Ghost Caribou – two giant puppets, part caribou / part spirit.

One of last year’s headline acts, Motionhouse, returns with a new piece co-commissioned by Hat Fair, called WILD. Performers will carry out daring moves across a forest of poles. Prepare to be amazed!

WILD – Credit: Dan Tucker
Fantabulosa – Credit: Emma Jones

Audiences will also enjoy Tickertape Parade’s Fantabulosa!, with interactive storytelling, lip-sync, dress-up, games and song inviting them to explore who they want to be. Then on Saturday night, festival goers are encouraged to get involved with a giant ceilidh hosted by Folk Dance Remixed.

Hat Fair is so-called due to the tradition of street artists busking or ‘hatting’ after their show. Some international hatters to look out for over the three days include Spain’s experimental juggler, Grumpy Pants; energetic dancer, BBoy illwill (USA); and Australian contortionists, The Maids. Also, festival favourites, Barada Street and Street Comedy return with acrobatics, comedy and live music.

This year the festival boasts a UK premiere with Money for Free by John Fisherman, from Spain. He invites the public to think about capitalism, society and money in a game that explores what extent the audience is aware of society’s ability to work as a team to make decisions and empower themselves.

On Saturday University of Winchester students perform in the Top Hat Competition, to win mentoring from the Hat Fair Director, Andrew Loretto, and return to Hat Fair 2020 as an official act. Plus, last year’s winner, Martin Jakeman, returns with Home Fires, inspired by Second World War stories.

There is plenty of local talent across the weekend, including Marwell Zoo Choir; puppetry from Blue Apple, which supports performers with disabilities; dance from Prince’s Mead School Dance Squad. The public can also play a street piano and keen singers are welcome to join Hat Fair’s Flashmob Choir.

Young audiences will enjoy Magic Glen; arts and crafts and learning to juggle; while St John’s Almshouses Lawn will provide a calm space for older audiences – with free tea, coffee and cake. There will also be mini-golf, a fun fair, an escape room, food, drink and gift stalls too.

For more information, visit www.hatfair.co.uk. Festival programmes are available from Theatre Royal Winchester, Winchester Tourist Information Centre, and other local distributors.

Win Guide to June

Summer officially arrives in June and for Wintonians, whatever the weather, the season will be bustling with festivals and activities for all to enjoy. Here’s our Win Guide to June:

Ginchester

Winchester becomes Ginchester on 8 June, in celebration of World Gin Day. Led by the Cabinet Rooms team, the fourth annual Ginchester Fête takes place in the Great Hall and blends summer amusements with gin tasting. For full details and ticket prices, visit the website here.

AMF

Also on 8 June, it’s the Arlesford Music Festival, a family friendly, one day event in Arlebury Park. The festival is now in its 10th year and the line up includes Next Level, London Afrobeat Collective, Sunscreem and many, many more exciting musicians. This year, AMF has partnered with Hat Fair to support their Top Hat Outdoor Arts competition in 2019, which means emerging artists will be previewing their work at the festival. Mayflower Musical Youth theatre will also be performing in the family arena and other family highlights include circus skills, a climbing wall, music workshops, Silent Disco and bungee trampolines. For more details and to book a festival pass, visit the website here.

Winchester Criterium Cycle Festival

It’s the annual Winchester Criterium Cycle Festival on 9 June. The Criterium is a 1km circuit race around closed roads in Winchester City Centre which starts at the top of the High Street, turns left into St Thomas Street, travels past the Cathedral and the City Council Offices before the long uphill pedal to the start/finish line. Riders must register online in advance. For more details, visit the website here.

Winchestival

Winchestival takes place on 15 June 2019 at North Walls Recreation Park between 11am until 11pm. There will be 4 music stages, with the line up including the Magic Numbers and a BBC Music introducing stage (Solent). The event also includes comedy, family activities and lots of food. For full details or to book tickets, visit the website here.

Winchester Comedy Festival

Winchester Comedy Festival will be hosting their Summer Gala on 6 June. Acts include comedy magician Pete Firman, Tanyalee Davis, Paul Sinha and James Gill. The Gala takes place at the Theatre Royal. For details and to book tickets , visit the website.

The Barricade Boys

There’s a packed programme of comedy, theatre, dance and family shows at the Theatre Royal and we can’t possibly do justice to it all here so head over to the website and start booking. Highlights include the Horrible Histories live stage show on 1-2 June, described as ‘the history of Britain with the nasty bits left in!’, An Evening with Sir Michael Parkinson on 3 June and Ballet Central on 4 June. Enjoy exciting vocals from the stars of Les Misérables, The Barricade Boys on Friday 7 June. Talented NHS staff from across Hampshire will be singing in a charity community event: NHS’ Got Talent on Saturday 8 June. And don’t miss Blue Apple Theatre’s The Tempest 13 – 15 June.

Margot Fonteyn – Centenary Celebration

The Pasadena Roof Orchestra will be in full swing on 16 June. Grammy nominated alternative cabaret act The Tiger Lillies, return with a very special show celebrating their 30th anniversary on 18 June. Finally, ballet fans will not want to miss Ballet Theatre UK’s Margot Fonteyn – Centenary Celebration on 20 June. Also, if you’re curious about what goes on back stage, the theatre is offering family and backstage heritage tours. For more details, visit the website here.

In Praise of Love

For those of you who may be interested in treading the boards, auditions take place for the Chesil Theatre’s production of Terrence Rattigan’s In Praise of Love on 23 & 24 June ahead of the stage show in September. There will be a reading in advance of this on 21 June. If you are interested in getting involved with the Chesil Theatre, please visit the website here.

A reminder that entries close on 7 June for the CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards 2019! There are 4 categories open to Hampshire applicants doing great work across the following categories: Community and Voluntary, Rural Enterprise, Making Places & Young People. Now in its 13th year, the Countryside Awards recognise community and voluntary organisations and enterprises, celebrating the innovative, diverse and sustainable work being done to support and enhance a thriving Hampshire countryside. Apply now http://www.cprehampshire.org.uk/awards 

We’ll be bringing you more updates throughout the month on Twitter @Win_Guide. In the meantime, enjoy, one and all!

Win Guide to April

Happiness is a place called Winchester, according to the Royal Mail UK Happiness Index. The survey carried out in early 2019 measured happiness according to eight factors: well-being, life expectancy, earnings, inequality, carbon emissions, crime, deprivation and access to health services. So with our happiness top spot confirmed, let’s find out what’s going on to keep us smiling this month…

Tickets have sold out for Martin Kemp who will be presenting 80’s gold at the Guildhall on Friday 5 April. If you missed out, fear not because the Magic of Motown returns for its third year on 12 April at 7.30pm. Listen to 36 classics amid glittering costume changes, dazzling dance moves and superb musicianship. For details and to book tickets, visit the website here.

Whilst we are on the subject of glitzy costumes, the fashionistas of Winchester will be delighted to hear that Winchester Fashion week takes place this month, 29 April – 4 May. Details will be announced on their website soon so keep an eye out for them here.

The Theatre Royal Winchester have an exciting programme of cultural treats. Rambert 2 will be performing on 2nd April at 7.30pm. Rambert is world famous as Britain’s original dance company. Rambert2 takes the company’s reputation for bold moves with technical virtuosity, and introduces a new generation. Check out the trailer below and visit the website for more details.

David Baddeil’s ANiMALCOLM looks great on 11 & 12 April. Described as a vibrant, energetic and gloriously funny musical from the award-winning Story Pocket Theatre, ANiMALCOLM combines physical theatre, puppetry and the company’s outstanding storytelling style to bring David Baddiel’s magical and wonderfully comic story to the stage. There’s also a Young Theatre Royal workshop opportunity attached to the touring production. Young people aged 7 – 11 years are being invited to the theatre on 10 April to develop animal characters, working as an ensemble and then present a piece on stage. The workshop costs £50 and includes a ticket to see ANiMALCOLM. For full details, visit the theatre website here.

The Winchester Science Centre will be exploring the Science of Sweets this Easter holiday. Tickets are free when you pay for general admission. Described as an epic live science show featuring a sugar flame thrower and exploding fat, the sugary fun takes place daily at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm between 5 – 23 April. For more details, visit the website here.

For some egg-citing Easter holiday fun, head over to the Westgate Museum for an Easter trail, 10am – 4pm over the school holidays, 6 – 20 April. The City Mill will also be hosting its annual trail, in partnership with Cadbury, 6 – 18 April. Winchester Cathedral is offering a free Easter trail for children aged 4 – 11 years. Chawton House will also be hosting an easter egg hunt and other appropriately themed activities.

Last but not least, don’t forget to visit Sparsholt College for their annual Easter Bunny Event. This year, Superbunny is visiting the village, 19 – 20 April. Meet real rabbits, dress up as your favourite superhero or villain and enjoy games and craft activities. There will also be a trail on offer too with a chocolate prize. For more details, visit the website here.

We’ll be bringing you more updates on Twitter @Win_Guide throughout the month. Have an eggcellent time, one and all!

Stories of Love and Human Frailty

Local writer Ron Owen has donated copies of his new book, Stories of Love and Human Frailty, to Theatre Royal Winchester. They are available from the Box Office for a suggested donation of £5 – 10 and all proceeds go to Live Theatre Winchester Trust – the charity that runs Hat Fair and Theatre Royal Winchester. Ron hopes it will inspire readers to reflect upon what makes humans tick.

Stories of Love and Human Frailty – by the writer who has lived in Winchester with his wife, Colleen, for 40 years – is a collection of short stories about love of all kinds – paternal, lustful, forbidden; and human frailty – a failure to keep promises, keep passion under control, put duty before indulgence.

Ron’s characters are based on people he has met, like the young teenage girl he confronted on holiday in Rome, after she stole his wallet. They find themselves in situations he has either experienced or developed for them, in places he has been to, including America and Italy.

His favourite story in the book is about a rich restauranteur that pays for a local painter’s daughter to continue her studies. He enjoyed writing about Malaga, in Spain, which he visited around two decades ago.

Ron, who started writing around the same time he moved to Winchester, has produced poems and a short play about two British and German soldiers who bond during half-time of the 1914 Christmas Day truce football match.

Ron said: “All the stories in the book have a bit of me in them and were triggered by people or situations in my life. When you’ve been around as long as I have, you don’t have to invent.

“I hope it provides a compelling read for people whose main interest is human nature and what makes us tick.”

Copies of Stories of Love and Human Frailty are available from Theatre Royal Winchester’s Box Office.

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.

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!

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!

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

Preview – Exploded Circus at Theatre Royal Winchester

The big top at the end of the world

Theatre Royal Winchester will be welcoming the formidable Mimbre and their touring production Exploded Circus, 7 – 8 September, 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Here’s a preview for the must see event:

Mimbre is a female-led contemporary circus company. They use their unique blend of physicality and narrative to tell intimate stories about human connections.

Featuring a breath-taking mix of acrobatics, surprising aerial feats and masterful juggling, The Exploded Circus weaves a story without words, where six women come together to seek order in the chaos and create a new normal. In this new production, Mimbre’s Joint Artistic Director Lina Johansson joins forces with critically-acclaimed designer Loren Elstein and experimental composer Quinta.

The Exploded Circus invites audiences into a moment where an explosion has been frozen in time, the remnants of a big top caught mid-air – with everything from the circus ring, sequins and fairground horses suspended above the ground. With striking imagery and subtle humour, the show explores themes around change, hope and belonging.

Director Lina Johansson comments, With a feeling that the world around us is on the cusp of big changes, I want to create a performance reflecting on this in a microcosm. Be it Brexit, global warming or the refugee crisis, there is a strong feeling of change and upheaval around us. I want to use the show to reflect, as well as imagine what could come from this change and how we can use it to grow. I want audiences to feel the palpable uncertainty around us, but also nurture a feeling of hope. The Exploded Circus mixes spectacle and visual impact with heart and personal stories. The risk and trust inherent in circus – the falls and the balances of the performers – allows me to explore a physical narrative that the audience feel in their bodies as well as follow with their minds.

Mimbre’s work pushes the boundaries of contemporary circus with a cast made up of six versatile artists: French performer Alice Allart on trick bike and slack rope (Stumble Dance Circus, Keziah Serreau, Ilmatila, Osborne&What); physical theatre actor and aerialist Farrell Cox (London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies, Charles Chipperfield Circus, LAS Theatre); physical performer Coral Dawson who specialises in corde lisse and aerial harness (Cirque Bijou, Citrus Arts and Full Tilt Aerial), Canadian acrobat Arielle Lauzon with Chinese hoops and slack rope (Festival Montreal Complètement Cirque, Cirque Eloize), aerialist Rebecca Rennison (Upswing,The New Vic Theatre, The London Cabaret Club) and juggler Lynn Scott (Gandini Juggling, Upswing).

Composer Quinta (The Paper Cinema, Rambert/Cunningham, Ockham’s Razor) creates an ethereal score – combining her flair for improvisation, non-conventional scoring, electronic interfacing and work with new instrumentation. Designer Loren Elstein (Rent, Hangmen, The End of Longing) ingeniously creates a three-dimensional world inspired by artworks such as Cornelia Parker’s Exploded Shed, David Spriggs’ Half Explosion and Ori Gersht’s Time after time photographs.

The show is supported by Arts Council England through a Strategic Touring grant, Foyle Foundation, PRS Foundation, 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space, Worthing Theatres, Imagine Luton, Merchant City Festival, Brewhouse Arts Centre Burton upon Trent, Lancaster Arts and Circus250.

Fri 7 – Sat 8 September
Fri 7.30pm
Sat 2.30pm, 7.30pm

To book tickets, please visit the theatre website here or telephone 01962 840440.