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.
Summer is here at last, and Winchester will not disappoint. Hold on to your summer hats, it’s going to be a busy June:
Remember the band Wheatus? Take a trip into some nineties nostalgia at the start of the month on 1 June with a chance to see them live at the Winchester Guildhall. Tickets are available to book online and the show is advertised for 14+ years old. It’s also a Pin Drop Comedy double edition at the Guildhall this month. The regular Pin Drop open-mic night will take place on Thursday 8 June from 8pm, with free entry and the Wintonian bar open throughout. And on the 15 June there will be a Summer Special event with comedy from Norman Lovett, the original Holly from BBC’s Red Dwarf and also an Edinburgh preview from David Ephgrave. Tickets are £10 and available to book here, although it is advised that the line-up may be subject to change and audiences must be 18+ years.
The Chesil Theatre will be presenting Shell Shock by Neil Warkin, adapted by Tim Marriott, in association with Sussex Armed Forces Network. Shell Shock is described as a stunning personal realisation of one soldier’s experience of learning to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The production is running 31 May until 3 June at 7.45pm.
After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tommy Atkins’ observations on the absurdities of every-day life on civvy street are frequently comic, occasionally absurd, sometimes violent but always poignant.
Festival season is in full force this month. The brilliant Winchester Speakers festival takes place 3-4 June at the Discovery centre, with some big names on the roster. Speakers include Kate Adie, Nick Clegg, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Tom Mangold, Peter Conradi, Iby Knill and Dan Cruickshank among others. For more details or to book talks, visit the website here.
It’s Ginchester Fete time. Hosted by the fine connoisseurs at the Cabinet Rooms, this festival of gin will take place at the Great Hall. Fittingly scheduled for the 10 June (World Gin Day), there will be two sessions available at 12pm or 3pm. Enjoy gin tasting and summer fete frivolities. For full details or to book tickets, visit here.
You can follow this up with Winchestival, a day of music and comedy at the North Walls Recreation ground on 17 June. It’s billed as a family friendly festival in the heart of the city. On the main stage acts include Eliza and the Bear, Richard Morris, Josh Savage, Daughters of Davis, Sean McGowan and many more. In the comedy tent choose from Hal Cruttenden, Rob Deering, Jen Brister, Tom Deacon and more. Tickets are available here.
Hat Fair is here! Starting Friday 30 June and running until Sunday 2nd July, Hat Fair is the UK’s longest running festival of outdoor arts and takes place across the historic city of Winchester. The event is free although donations in hats are welcome. Events take place across the city on Friday and Saturday with a day of food and finales at Oram’s Arbour on Sunday. For the full bumper line-up, visit the website here.
Dulwich Opera Company is returning to St Paul’s Church with a production of Carmen on Thursday 29 June. The Pilgrims’ school Chamber Choir will also be participating in this event. Showcasing some emerging professional artists, this is an excellent opportunity to experience intimate opera on your doorstep. Tickets are available here.
Plenty to enjoy in June and we’ll be bringing you more updates on Twitter @Win_Guide
Welcome to May, one and all. Here’s our guide to what’s on in Winchester this month:
For photography fans, look no further than the Discovery Centre for the opportunity to view this year’s finalists for the Winchester Photographic Societies Annual Exhibition, at the City Space. The event is free and donations are welcome. The event is open until the 7 May, Monday – Sunday and times are available here.
The beautiful Ballet Black will be performing a Triple Bill at the Theatre Royal, 3 May. Now in its 16th year, Ballet Black’s company of British and international dancers of black and Asian descent has been delighting a new generation of dance fans with its “dash, daring and joie de vivre” ( The Guardian). This is a company not to miss.
Sparsholt College will be hosting their annual Countryside day, 13-14 May. The Taste of Hampshire Food Festival will run alongside the Countryside day stalls, rides, animal displays and live music. The medal winning Horticulture Team will present a mock build of their entry to the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show – an exciting opportunity to see this wonderful garden ahead of the prestigious show. Parking is available onsite, disabled access and an early bird discount. For more details and to find out about booking tickets, visit here.
Little people might be interested in visiting the Theatre Royal to see David Walliams’ ‘The First Hippo on the Moon’. The production has been adapted for the stage by acclaimed award winning theatre company Les Petits, sister company to Les Enfants Terribles so this should be a real treat for young space and theatre fans. Tickets and times are available a the Theatre’s website here and the show is running between 25 – 28 May.
For adult theatre fans, don’t forget to visit the Chesil Theatre later this month for After Electra by April de Angelis, directed by Peter Andrews. Running 20 – 27 May at 7.45pm, this is a moving black comedy that re-imagines the meaning of family. April de Angelis’ After Electra premiered at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth in April 2015 before playing at the Tricycle Theatre in London. You can book tickets from the Chesil Theatre here.
SHOCC Dances will be bringing a Ceilidh to the Winchester Guildhall, 20 May. Doors open at 19:15 for a 19:30 start and the dance finishes at 23:30. There will be a licensed bar serving real ale. Tickets are available here. Whilst you are at the Guildhall, The House of Gin Festival returns 27 May, with a brand new format in association with Winchester Distillery, Twisted Nose Gin and Fentimans / East Imperial tonic and mixers. The festival will have three Gin bars showcasing a wide range of Small Batch and Award Winning Gins. There will also be the Copperhead Gin and De Borgen Cocktail Bar. A £7.00 ticket entry includes your complimentary ‘House of Gin’ Rocking Glass for you to keep and use at the event. For more details, visit the Guildhall website here.
Gin connoisseurs may also enjoy the Spring Gin Dinner at the Running Horse. Gin cocktails to taste, spring dishes to enjoy and lots of fun to be had. The evening will start from 7.30pm where you will be welcomed with a gin tipple with three delicious courses soon to follow. £33.50 per person, Saturday 27th May and you can book here.
Enjoy the spring offerings and we’ll be bringing you more tweets and tips @Win_Guide throughout the month.
Get ready, Winchester, for there are 29 days in February 2016 which means we are in a leap year. Ladies, traditionally this extra day is an opportunity to propose to your significant other if you feel so inclined, a custom dating back to 5th century Ireland and ‘St Bridget’s complaint’ to St Patrick about women having to wait. Partners, if for whatever reason you spurn the proposal, please be ready to pay a fine in the form of a pair of silk gloves. Do keep us posted on any leap year love matches. Here’s our guide to make this February a good one:
This month marks the inaugural Winchester cocktail week, 1 – 7 February. Yes, you heard it correctly, a whole week dedicated to supping cocktails in some of Winchester’s finest establishments. A collaboration between the Cabinet Rooms and Winchester Bid, you can purchase a wrist band for £15 to be entitled to £4 signature cocktails at venues across the city. There are also various masterclasses on offer for wristband holders, so you can learn more about cocktail artistry. Special events include the Luxardo masterclass with Chococo, 2 & 3 February. Expect cherries soaked in Luxardo, chocolate and cocktails – sounds decadent. Entry is free for wristband holders and £5 for others. You can book tickets by popping into Chococo or by emailing Libby here. On 4 February, the Theatre Royal bar will be taken over by mixologist supremos from Hartnett, Holder and Co. Entry is free for wristband holders but do reserve your place in advance. For full details on other events and participating venues, visit the website.
Award winning performance artist Peta Lily will be performing her confessional theatre piece ‘Imperfection’ at the Winchester Discovery Centre, 11 February at 7.45pm. Imperfection takes an unflinching look at the ordinary. An all-waving, all-drowning look at hidden corners of life where Dionysian worship rubs shoulders with Stevie Smith, Charles Bukowski and Japanese outsider art. The show is well worth a visit and tickets are available here.
We’ve got chills and they’re multiplying – Encore Youth Theatre will be singing their hearts out with Grease at the Theatre Royal, 17 – 20 February. It’s also the theatre troupe’s 35th birthday this year, so join them for a rock and roll celebration.
Winchester rotary will be holding a charity swimathon on 20 February in the Winchester College Pool. Teams of 8 are invited to participate in a 55 minute sponsored swimming relay. £25 of funds raised by each team will go to the Winchester rotary with the remainder going to other charities of their choice. To register, visit here.
The Winchester 10k Road Race starts outside the Guildhall on 21 February. Participants must be over 16 to enter and will need parental consent if they are under 18. The route includes a trip to Kingsworthy with a return leg through the village of Headbourne Worthy before the finish line at the Winchester City football club ground, where there will be custom medals, bottled water, bananas and Haribos on offer. Visit here to register.
Little Pickles Market will be taking over the Riverpark Leisure centre on 21 February with over 30 nearly new tables of baby kit: prams, high chairs, toys, books, maternity wear – the works. The market is open from 2-3.30pm and entrance is £1, with kids allowed in for free.
Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium will be hosting an exciting programme of activities for the school holidays, 12 – 22 February. Advanced booking is advised, particularly for the planetarium cinema shows. Opening hours are 9.30am – 5pm. Keep an eye out for Destination Space, a live family show running at 10.45am & 2.45pm focussing on Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Programme.
Leap your way through February, Wintonians, for it is not long now until Spring.
Winter is dragging its heels, isn’t it? But February is not without its charms. It’s a short month, which means Spring is on her way at last. The word February unsurprisingly comes from Latin ‘februa’, a cleansing or purification ritual in readiness for Spring – which explains the rain. The Anglo-Saxons called it ‘Solmonath’, which can be translated as ‘Mud Month’, and according to the scholar ‘Bede’ was also known as the month of cakes, after the old English custom of offering cakes to the gods to promote fertility as they sewed the seeds and ploughed the fields. If that’s an excuse to indulge in the cold, we’ll take it. We’d recommend the gluton-free carrot cake at Chococo, washed down with their classic hot chocolate.
February is, of course, Love month, which might explain the exponential increase in bugaboos recently, so with Valentine’s Day looming on 14th February, there’s no shortage of restaurants ready to welcome the lovers in. Lainston House Hotel is offering a £110/head eight – course tasting dinner, including bubbles and canapés on arrival. The Black Rat is offering a sumptuous £50/head set menu, and the River Cottage set menu is £35/head. Booking is obviously advised. Alternatively, folk/punk singer-songwriter Frank Turner will be playing on home soil at the Guildhall.
For some indoor half-term fun, Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium will be holding an exciting, daily programme of special events for the holidays, from Saturday 14 February to Sunday 22th February. Holiday opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday , 10am to 5pm. The City Mill is offering some half-term seasonal baking, to show how the freshly milled wholemeal flour can be combined with a variety of local produce to make tasty treats.
To run off the cakes, the 33rd annual Winchester 10km Road Race with be held on Sunday 22nd February 2015, starting outside the Winchester Guildhall and proceeding up the historic High Street and along Jewry Street before heading out towards the village of Kingsworthy. The return leg passes through the village of Headbourne Worthy and back towards Winchester before finishing at Winchester Football Club ground.
Finally, we suggest venturing to Jane Austen’s house in Chawton on 26th February for the event Stargazing: Poetry with Simon Armitage (CBE) & Moora Dooley. The evening will start at 6.30pm at the museum for readings of star – related poetry before walking through the unlit streets of the village to Chawton House to gaze up at the sky, before finishing with more poetry and refreshments in the Great Hall. Tickets are £10.
As a longtime professional dance critic for The Times and many other publications and websites, I’m a firm fan of Goddard. He’s currently touring the UK as popular culture’s most celebrated bloodsucker in choreographer Mark Bruce’s shivery take on Dracula (a production that won a South Bank Sky Arts Award for dance). I’m also keen on New Movement Collective, especially after having seen them in action in Nest. Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, and staged as a multi-media promenade performance in a converted church on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, this dance-based NMC production was a cultural highlight of 2013. That year the company brought a film installation performance to The Discovery Centre, Winchester. Conceived by visual artist Graham Gussin and featuring six dancers, Close Protection was a three-screen work using the same night vision technology employed by combat camera teams.
Now, this very month and next, NMC is back in Winchester with two productions. The first is a remounting of ‘Casting Traces‘, a 50-minute site-specific performance first seen in a former London dairy in 2012. Presented at Winchester’s historic Guildhall (October 23-25 at 7.30pm, with additional shows at 5.30pm Friday and 2.30pm Saturday), the piece melds movement, film, light and music all in a paper maze environment. ‘Casting Traces‘ could serve as a valuable sort of prelude to NMC’s newest work ‘Please Be Seated’ (November 8, 8.30pm at Theatre Royal Winchester), an ambitious one-off that transfers to London’s Southbank Centre a few days later. But then ambitious – as well as inventive and innovative – could be deemed among NMC’s top creative watchwords.
Donald Hutera: How is New Movement Collective run, meaning how does a many-talented-headed beast like this actually operate?
Jonathan Goddard: The collective is set up as a co-operative of eleven individual choreographers who come together in different formations and groupings to work on projects with exciting collaborators from other creative disciplines. On a day-to-day level there’s a core team of members that keep the company engine running in-between projects. Many of us double up and take on other roles apart from that of performers and choreographers. We’ve worked to acquire other skills such as producing, marketing or graphic design, trying to understand all aspects of what we’re creating to see if there are any ways we can do things differently.
DH: What role do you think NMC fills in either the UK or wider, global dance ecology?
JG: NMC is trying to explore and develop how dance can be experienced, challenging some of the existing structures for presentation and creation. We work collaboratively and take collective responsibility for our work, allowing us to function more like a design house or architectural practice than a traditional repertory company or choreographer-led ensemble. An entrepreneurial approach means we can shift and change, working with the right people to give the best result for each individual project.
DH: What are the risks and/or rewards of presenting work outside of London?
JG: We’re always looking for architecturally interesting or unusual places to conceive or develop work. It’s exciting to feel as if we’re exposing hidden corners of a city or town, and liberating as creators to use architecture as a stimulus or catalyst. We often present work internationally with events developed during our involvement with the Architectural Association. The challenges of touring our larger NMC work are the costs involved, and the difficulty of being able to develop an audience without regular yearly visits.
DH: Where is NMC’s home base or headquarters, and where do the works tend to get created at least initially?
JG: Our members are quite spread out across the UK and Europe so we don’t actually really have any set company base. In the past, productions have been created in London because of our links with Rambert Dance Company and the opportunity to use their studio spaces when not occupied, but our most recent work ‘Please Be Seated’ was made in Valencia, Spain as this was the easiest and cheapest for the most amount of people to be in one place at one time.
DH: How is the work created? Obviously with the core team plus guest performers and collaborators, but who leads or steers a project?
JG: It’s an interesting question. We never considered making work collectively until we began developing ideas as tutors at the Architectural Association on their Interprofessional Studio. There we research, create and design a series of yearly spatial project-events that aim to defy categorisation and stimulate debate. This ongoing academic practice leads us to different ways of thinking about creation, and through it we’ve found ways of developing ideas together and creating successful networks across creative disciplines to develop the content for each show. In practical terms at any given time one person steers or leads the group or how the group makes decisions, but who occupies this role isn’t set and this can organically change very quickly. We’ve found a high level of concentration and stamina is needed to work in this way, but the filter the group provides during the creative process is always challenging and invigorating.
DH: How much of a time commitment can be made to NMC when many of you seem to have a lot else going on?
JG: Commitment between members fluctuates. We try to schedule time and look ahead for the big projects but it’s definitely challenging with our busy schedules. Outside projects are vital to allow us to work together and not feel stifled. The company also benefits from the exposure and experiences members bring back from outside commitments. It is, however, challenging to get us all in one place at the same time! I’ve no idea how this’ll evolve in the future, but it’s good that we aren’t trying to fit into any idea of existing company structure. Instead we’re creating something that works for all of us as artists and friends and best serves the type of work we choose to make together.
DH: I don’t know Paul Auster’s trilogy. How much of a springboard was that book, and why did you choose it as source matieral? Also, what did you learn from making that debut piece?
JG: Generally with our creative processes we work with lots of different disciplines and collaborators, so there’s a need for a strong structure or map that everyone can hold onto to guide us through. For our debut piece ‘Casting Traces’ we settled on Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy and, more specifically, the first book of the trilogy City of Glass. The idea for the show initially came from the venue. We were commissioned by the architect Will Alsop to propose a show for an ex-dairy factory event space he helped co-run and curate in Battersea called TestBed1. Our first thoughts were to create a paper maze in the space to alter and explore the perspectives of the audience. From this came the idea that the observer would have to play detective, which in turn led us to the noir meta-fiction of Auster’s fantastic novel.
In doing this piece we learnt that total audience freedom can be a dividing concept. We originally allowed viewers to explore a space and watch the show from whatever perspective they chose. From feedback we gathered that roughly 50% of our audience loved the opportunity to create their own experience, and the other half wanted to be presented set frames of action un-obscured by fellow moving observers. We’ve since sought to create a theatrical structure that uses the physical architecture created by the maze itself to make an experience which seeks to get the best of both worlds.
DH: If Casting Traces had a smell, touch and taste (and you can pluralise these) what would it/they be?
JG: If Casting Traces had a smell I think it would be that of the perfume of someone who’s just left, or it would be something you couldn’t quite grasp like steam rising from a vent. If I had to give it a taste it would maybe be something clean like a gin martini served in an unusual glass late at night, and somewhere you wouldn’t expect to be drinking it.
DH: How is the piece being adapted for or tailored to The Guildhall in Winchester?
Casting Traces is re-imaginged and re-designed for each venue on a tour. We work alongside architect Elin Eyborg to design the maze each time to best suit the space and its characteristics. Staging the show in The Guildhall in Winchester will be quite an intimate and concentrated experience. It’ll be interesting to see how the history of the building affects the tone of the work. We also have some fantastic new dancers joining the cast, so it’ll be exciting to see how they develop and adapt the work with their take on the material.
DH: Please tell me more about ‘Please Be Seated’: the concept behind the production, and how these aims and intentions are going to be realised…
JG:‘Please be Seated’ is our new work for 2014. It’s the first piece we’ve made as a collective for a traditional theatre space. We’re working on the project with the furniture designer Jutta Friedrichs, sound artist Ben Houge and lighting designer Yaron Abulfia. We took as our starting point the absurdity in group organisations, and the challenges of political and architectural structures. We previewed the piece earlier this year in Valencia, Spain where it went down well. We’re showing a brand-new version of the work tailored to the Theatre Royal Winchester before taking it to the Southbank’s Purcell Room in London. Having set ourselves up as group of creators working outside the theatre space, we’re quite excited to try and subvert that by seeing what happens if we explore traditional venues in unconventional ways. The dancing as always will be athletic and intriguing, and again we have some great performers new to NMC who’ll bring their own unique stamp to the work.
The arts & culture guide for the city of Winchester in Hampshire.