The Witham community arts centre launched an exciting new season (January to April 2019) on Tuesday 11 December, with the support of Comedian Justin Moorhouse.
Following the fundraising campaign to secure its long-term future that saw the public, The Witham is forging ahead with more events in 2019 that demonstrate a response to the audience feedback about what works well at The Witham and what else people would like to see happening there.
As a result, The Witham now has a wider range of events including tribute acts, films selected by the public, accessible screenings and more sing-alongs. However, the programme also continues to deliver cultural and artistic experiences that otherwise would not be available to visitors to Teesdale and the surrounding area.
The Funny Way to Be Comedy line-up includes amazing performers such as Justin Moorhouse, who brings his Northern Joker show on Saturday 25 January. Justin gave a fantastic introduction to the whole comedy programme at The Witham in person at the launch event, which includes An Audience with Cannon and Ball (Friday 12 April) and Strictly Dancing Star Seann Walsh on Wednesday 10 April.
Music highlights include the Lindisfarne Story on Saturday 16th March, the UK’s best David Bowie tribute act, Jean Genie on Saturday 30th March, complete with dazzling flamboyant costumes and stunning effects with live band. A sensational show on tour from Blackpool celebrating the music of Frankie Vali & The Four Seasons, The Jerseys – Oh What a Nite! is on Saturday 13 April,
The film programme has been selected by public poll and includes The Children Act, starring Emma Thompson. Following pubic feedback, Sing-Along films are booked in – The Sound of Music on Thursday 21st February and Mamma Mia 2 on Thursday 18 April – and dressing up is actively encouraged. Relaxed, accessible screenings of classic matinees are a welcome addition for those who don’t like to go out at night and for whom regular cinema conditions are challenging, including those living with dementia. This includes classics such as The Wizard of Oz (Thursday 24th January) and Brief Encounter (Thursday 18 April) on the big screen.
Theatre performances include the award-winning production of The King and at the London Palladium on the big screen on January 5 at 2pm, the hilarious Dad’s Army Radio Show on Tuesday 26 March and a darkly comic performance of The Death Show on Wednesday 27 February.
The Witham is also hosting a series of fundraising events in the new season that include artist Ann Whitfield’s creative workshop on Saturday 5 January (only 2 places remaining), David Williams’ A Wild Life photography talk on Tuesday 29 January and the St Patrick’s Day Festival on Sunday 17 March. There is also a showcase of local talent event on Sunday Night at The Witham on 14 April – an evening of fun. Laughter, music and verse for all ages hosted by Britain’s Got Talent’s Cal Halbert.
As Sarah Gent, Marketing Manager at The Witham, says, ’We have listened to the feedback of our visitors and local community – we are working to put on more of what you’ve told us you’d like here at The Witham, including tribute bands and a film programme that was selected by the public.
‘However, we aren’t getting rid of what people already enjoy so there will be fantastic folk, a range of exciting theatre performances, comedy with the Funny Way To Be Comedy Club, arts workshop and classical music too. Please do come to see what’s on offer and spread the word – The Witham community arts centre has something for everyone!’
The Witham are delighted to be part of this year's Co-op Local Community Fund which helps to support local projects that Co-op members care about. Since its launch in 2017, Co-op members have raised £39 million pounds for over 12,000 local causes.
With your help, The Witham will now be able to access this funding opportunity.
Our goal is to subsidise tickets for live theatre, dance and music for young people (aged 12-20) in Barnard Castle, Teesdale and Weardale. We will reach out to community groups, schools, The Hub and the YMCA to encourage young people to access performances. The workshops and masterclasses will help to form new social networks for young people. We will recruit young people to be ambassadors for the project and young volunteers to steward events and run the Box Office. Q and A sessions will provide a space to discuss issues.
How the fund works
Every time members shop at the Co-op, you can choose to give 1% of what you spend on Co-op branded products and services helps fund community projects. Members can shop at any Co-op Group stores across the UK to raise money for our cause.
Members can choose which causes to support by signing into their membership account or by calling the membership helpline on 0800 023 4708. The Witham will be available for members to select until November 2019.
As part of a series of events organised by The Witham for our Fundraising Campaign Teesdale’s TV antique expert, David Harper will be presenting a show on Sunday the 9th December at7.30pm.
The show will feature funny behind the scenes anecdotes from TV, exciting antique finds, huge profits, even bigger losses, disaster stories from celebrity TV appearances and historical journeys through time are all part of what makes this show like no other.
David Harper is a BBC TV presenter. Bargain Hunt, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Flog It, For What It’s Worth and The Antiques Road Trip are all shows he presents. These hugely popular BBC programmes are shown in over 50 countries worldwide. David has appeared on many other BBC TV programmes too from The One Show to Celebrity Masterchef, Through The Keyhole to Countryfile, Celebrity Eggheads to The Heaven & Earth Show!
The show is unscripted and very much audience led with involvement in the form of questions from the audience or questions and challenges from David throughout, as the talk develops. Audience members are even invited to bring items along (small antiques or collectibles) which will be used, discussed and valued during the evening.
Talking about the show David Harper said, “I loved hosting the Fundraising Showcase of Local Talent in September and was delighted to be asked by the Witham team to present a solo evening to help this vital community asset continue to develop.
“The audience does not need to have a particular interest in antiques to enjoy this show, as subjects ranging from how to build the confidence to appear on TV, money making schemes, meeting of famous characters and humorous real life experiences from TV and the world of art and antiques are shared…and sometimes fabulous stories are unexpectedly shared by an audience members too!”
Sarah Gent, The Witham’s Marketing Manager said, “We are absolutely delighted that David is supporting The Witham with for this brilliant evening of entertainment. Sunday night at The Witham was a very popular evening and we anticipate this selling quick so please book your ticket to avoid disappointment. Thank you, David for your ongoing support.”
Tickets priced £10.00 (£5.00 for concessions) are available here:
Statement from Durham County Council
A fundraising campaign to secure the future of an historic community arts centre has been given a £60,000 boost.
Bosses at the Witham, in Barnard Castle, launched the Investing in the Witham campaign in August with the aim of raising £150,000 by the end of the year. Now the council and county councillors from the town have shown their support for the initiative by agreeing to contribute almost half of the fundraising total - match-funding the amount raised by the community.
Durham County Council said "We will be contributing £35,000 with the remaining cash coming from the neighbourhood budgets of Cllr Richard Bell, Cllr Ted Henderson, Cllr George Richardson, Cllr James Rowlandson, Cllr Stephen Hugill and Cllr Heather Smith. The members' contributions will be distributed through Teesdale AAP. We will also be working closely with the Witham's board of trustees, staff and volunteers to ensure the centre is sustainable in the long-term."
Cllr Carl Marshall, our Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: "The Witham is not only an important community facility, it is also an historic building with a rich heritage, so we are particularly pleased to be able to support it. The funding we are providing will support the centre over the next six months but, more crucially, we will be offering advice and guidance that we hope will help secure the Witham's future for the longer-term."
Bob Garton, Chair of the Witham Trustees, said: "The trustees are delighted to receive the news that Durham County Council has agreed to support the Witham. The decision came at a very critical point indeed for us and, together with the overwhelming support from the local community, means that the Witham is now in a strong enough position to move forward.
"Our particular thanks go to councillors who have jointly recognised that the Witham benefits the economy, the livelihoods and the wellbeing of people right across Teesdale."
Situated on Horse Market, the Witham is comprised of a collection of Grade II listed buildings dating back to 1846. As well as a former music hall, it features an art gallery, box office shop and café
In 2013, it was the subject of a £3.2 million regeneration project delivered by the council, the Witham Trustees and Barnard Castle Vision.
The Witham Board of Trustees announce that the Investing in The Witham arts, culture and community centre in Barnard Castle has raised in excess of £42,121 in 30 days , thanks to a huge effort by trustees, staff, volunteers, supporters and visitors.
The Investing in The Witham campaign has seen supporters investing to build a financial future for The Witham. The campaign has included a wide variety of events and activities to help achieve the target including:
- a volunteer-led Morrison’s Bag Pack which generated over £570 on Saturday 1st September;
- the donation of goods for sale in the shop including artworks, scarves and jewellery that have the dual benefit of increasing donations but also, increasing the range of goods for sale;
- individual campaigners contributed with sponsored challenges including Café Manager Suzanne Wallace 15km sponsored run, Marketing Manager Sarah Gent’s Creative Chalk Challenge and former Audience Development Officer, Maddy Sutton undertaking a sponsored Peak trek.
On 9 September a variety evening, Sunday Night at The Witham which raised more than £2000 through ticket and programme sales, the raffle and the auction of a watercolour painting kindly donated by artist Chris Mouncey. The evening was hosted by TV Antiques expert David Harper and featured performances from Star of Britain’s Got Talent ‘Mimic Men’ Cal Halbert, international dramatic coloratura soprano Penelope Randell-Davis, singer singwriter Toni Sidgwick, The Castle Players, musicians’ Jane Ford and Nicky Tulloch, virtuoso ventriliquist Eileen Thompson and young harpist Joshua Greenwell.
As the campaign demonstrates, The Witham has built a strong reputation, providing a rich and varied programme of quality performances and visual arts, as well as offering activities for all age groups – from toddlers through to elderly people, from families through to people who live alone. All of this costs money and public funding is tight. There is an on-going programme of fundraising activities to ensure the Investing in The Witham is an enduring campaign. The focus is also on corporate sponsorship and grant funding in order to ensure The Witham has a sustainable future on Barnard Castle high street.
As Shelagh Avery, Interim Director of The Witham arts centre, says, “Our heartfelt thanks to all who have supported this campaign – from the board of trustees, the staff, volunteers and visitors, everyone has pulled together to achieve this remarkable result. It has been truly inspirational to be a part of this team of people working to ensure that Barnard Castle has an arts, culture and community centre long into the future.
The Investing in The Witham campaign continues.
Thank you to our MP Helen Goodman for speaking up for The Witham in parliament this week. It is wonderful to have your support and amazing to hear The Witham mentioned in the Houses of Parliament.
The public response to our fundraising campaign has been fantastic and we are working to secure grant funding from various sources to support our work going forward, including the Arts Council.
It is only by working to generate funds through three channels (public giving, corporate support and grant funding) that The Witham's long-term future can be secured.
Thank you to all who are supporting The Witham.
Find out more about our wonderful fundraisers on our BT My Donate page.
Thanks again to everybody for supporting Investing in The Witham - read on to discover the latest news on the campaign.
At 4pm on Wednesday 5th September the thermometer rises to £26,044. There are one or two amounts that are still to clear and we think we are within sight of our target. There are several events still to take place and because they were planned during the 30 days, even though they will happen afterwards we can still count them towards the total.
If you have been thinking about making a one-off investment, or setting up a standing order - no amount is too small, no date is too late, and you can still make a difference.
If you have already made a donation but done so anonymously through Barclays Bank, the final sum will be boosted if we can claim Gift Aid against your name and postcode. We will keep your identity a secret, but we would very much appreciate you completing this Gift Aid form (paper copies are available from the Witham). We would also need you tell us the amount of your donation. You can do this confidentially by giving your form to either Caroline Maughan who looks after our accounts or Hazel Spencer who is the Trustee responsible for this campaign.
The next fundraiser challenge takes place this Saturday as the Witham's Marketing Manager Sarah Gent and her two daughters target raising £1500 with their Creative Chalk Challenge.
Find out more about our wonderful fundraisers on our BT My Donate page
A great big thank you to everyone who attended the open house session on 1st September. It was lovely to chat to you and to gather your feedback and ideas.
Another great big thank you to all the people doing their shopping in Morrisons on Saturday and our volunteer bag packers who had a great day and raised over £570 for the Investing in the Witham appeal.
Join us for 'Sunday Night at The Witham', a wonderful, fundraising evening showcasing local talent. Tickets are available now, click here to book.
Did you know you can donate your unwanted books to the Witham? All money raised from the rehoming of second hand books is donated to the fundraising appeal.
Drop your books in Tuesday to Saturday, 10am - 4pm.
We are now 14 days into our 30-day Investing in The Witham campaign and we wanted to update you with some facts about how it’s going, and thank the many who have contributed.
So far, 71 people have donated £12,001 counting Gift Aid. A number of people have set up standing orders so that they can make regular donations. In the longer term, this will make a big difference. For example, if we were able to find 100 people to make a regular donation of £10 a month, that would be worth £15,000 a year. This would allow us to programme events for almost a whole month. If you decide to set up a standing order with your bank, please be clear to tell them when you want it to start.
People have started to add Fundraising Events to our BTDonate web page so if you have had an idea for something you can deliver yourself and which you think would help us to generate additional funds towards the campaign, please consider setting up your own challenge through that site. Fundraising challenges that are already on the site are:
Suzanne Wallace who is looking for sponsorship to run 15km in 2 hours and has already received pledges for £230 of her £500 target.
Madelene Sutton sought to raise £200 of sponsorship for her Lakeland 10 peak challenge and has already reached above her target, but her page is still open. It was an amazing solo walk.
Sarah Gent and her two daughters were targeting £500 for the Creative Chalk Challenge on Saturday 8 September and have already raised £970.
Donations can be made here BTmydonate
Via BACS Barclays Bank Sort Code 20-45-45 Account Number 40524050
By cheque made payable to The Witham Hall Ltd
Thank you again for your support for The Witham
Chair of Trustees: Witham Hall Ltd.
The Witham introduces an autumn programme packed with over 70 excellent arts and cultural events for all to enjoy from September to December 2018, sponsored by Darlington Building Society.
The Witham’s music gigs this autumn include an exciting blend of different genres including Eddie and The Hot Rods (15 Sept), the return to The Witham of acclaimed songwriter Bella Hardy + Support (4 October), a spectacular new show called Light and Shadow featuring live music and contemporary dance based on familiar rock/pop songs (22 Sept). You can also enjoy the Cliff Richard Live Screening (12A) (12 October), celebrating Britain’s Ultimate Pop Star with 60 years in the music industry.
Classical music concerts at Barnard Castle’s arts centre include the Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist Award pianist Clare Hammond (5 Sept) and the Remembrance Requiem conducted by Simon Dearsley (11 November) to mark the centenary of the end of WWI with Elgar’s Spirit of England and Bliss’s Morning Heroes. Opera North brings the Whistle Stop Opera (Sat 20 October) when lively singers and accordionist introduce you to the fascinating world of Opera in a live, interact experience. Celebrate the start of the festive season with Barnard Castle’s Choral Society presenting Handel’s Messiah (2 Dec).
World class Screenings continue to show at Barnard Castle High Street live at the time they are occurring at the Royal Opera House including Mayerling (15 October), The Nutcracker (9 December) and also English National Ballet’s Akram Khan’s Giselle (15 Dec). The National Theatre brings a host of amazing performances including The Madness of King George III (Thursday 13 December) starring Mark Gatiss, a multi-award-winning drama by Alan Bennett.
Two fantastic evening talks this autumn include the return of the Dales vet Neville Turner for a fundraiser for The Witham on 26 Sept and AONB Dark Skies Festival brings The Science of the Moon and the Stars with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE. Head to the Café Bar for the launch of local poet Judi Sutherland reading from her exciting new book, The Ship Owner’s House (27 September)
There is a wealth of live theatre this season the return of The World of the Wars (28 Sept) inspired by H. G. Wells classic iconic novel, set in the North East and presented by Northern Stage. Award-winning Hull-based theatre company, Middle Child are bringing gig theatre piece One Life Stand (recommended 16+ years, Friday 5 October) as part of the REACH project, with music by James Frewers and Honeyblood, and starring Ed Cole.
The Castle Players present Flare Path (Friday 9 & 10 November), Terence Rattigan’s classical of love & duty set in the 1940s, and there are classics to enjoy with Kindred Theatre presenting The Haunted Man (5 December) inspired by Charles Dickins and Christmas with Steptoe and Son (12 December).
Family theatre include the comedy Me and My Bee (31 October), presented by ThisEgg who invite you to save the world – one bee at a time. The Christmassy Christmas Show (Sunday 9 December) is an over-stuffed stocking of seasonal surprises crammed with puppets, songs, quizzes and slapstick comedy.
The Funny Way To Be Comedy Club continues to deliver fantastic quality laugher from the very best in the business, including Iain Stirling (18 Sept), Jeremy Hardy (23 Oct) and Roughead and Cook (Friday 7 December).
Film Thursdays continue at The Witham including critically acclaimed The Shape of Water (27 September), A Fantastic Woman (11 October), Journey’s End (1 November) and Murder on the Orient Express (20 December).
Exciting exhibitions include Age Does Not Define Us: Re-thinking of Age & Ageing, a collaboration between the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and The Age of No Retirement (Tues 4 Sept – Sat 6 Oct), the Highlights Contemporary Craft Tour, Craft and Conflict (13 – 21 November) with the chance to work with Textile Artist, Morwenna Catt for the Maps and Mayhem! workshop (17 November).
Teesdale Art Network are bringing their showcase exhibition featuring over 30 local artists (9 Oct – 6 Nov) and you can enjoy working with TAN member artist Sharon Loddey for a six week Introduction to Linocut Printing (every Weds for six weeks from 12 Sept). Arts workshops offer you the chance to learn or hone your skills in Acrylic painting a Hare with Anne Mason (Sat 8 Sept) and you can create your own design in Linocut at the Print a Tote Bag workshop with artist Sharon Loddey (Sat 6 October).
Designer Makers Market brings the very best of regional designers and craftspeople (17 & 18 November) and there is also Northern Craft Market (15 Sept, 6 Oct, 10 Nov, 24 Nov, 1 Dec) and the Handcrafted Fair (1 Sept, 3 November, Sat 1 December).
Sarah Gent, Marketing Manager at The Witham says, ‘The Witham autumn programme includes something for everyone and shows that we are listening and responding to feedback to ensure there are events on that people will be interested in coming along to enjoy. The Witham now has a wider range of music events from Cliff Richard on the big screen to Eddie and the Hot Rods. Come to not only support Barnard Castle’s arts centre but also have a brilliant time while you’re here!
We also now have a community notice board to help find out what else is going on in our wonderful community. So please, come into The Witham, grab a programme and have a cuppa in the café while you plan your autumn nights’ out here on Barney high street.’
The Box Office is open from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturdays. Call 01833 631107 or head to what's on to find out more.
The Annual General Meetings for both Barnard Castle Mechanics' Institute and Witham Hall Community Association will be held on Thursday 13th September at The Witham, 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Castle, DL12 8LY. The meeting starts at 6:00pm.
This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend.