Mark Steel is back in town, but this time with his brand new tour show. Tickets go on General Sale at 10.00am on Friday 13 October 2017.
Date: Saturday 12 May 2018
Time: 8 pm show, 7.30pm doors open, 7.00pm bar/café
Price: £15.00 (14+)
A musical double act like no other - Award winning comedian and writer of BBC2’s Hebburn, Jason Cook, together with Newcastle’s swing singer Glen Roughead.
Date: Friday 23 February
Time: 8 pm show, 7.30pm, 7.00pm bar/café
Price: £10.00 in advance £12 on the door (16+)
Award winning (Spirit of The Fringe 2015) comedian George Egg (the ‘Anarchist Cook’) returns with a BRAND NEW SHOW demonstrating more live cooking and laugh-out-loud comedy.
Date: Saturday 23 June
Time: 8 pm show, 7.30pm, 7.00pm bar/café
Price: £14.00 | £12.00 concessions | Suitable for ages 14+
Barnard Castle Mechanics' Institute and & Witham Hall Community Association - 6pm, Wed 27th September 2017.
The Witham Hall Ltd. Wednesday 27th September 2017 at 6.15pm.
Both AGMs will take place at The Witham, 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Casstle, DL12 8LY
To find out more information, visit The Witham between 10am and 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday, book online: www.thewitham.org.uk or call 01833 631107.
On Wednesday Thursday 28 Sept at 7.30pm, the north-east’s premier chamber music ensemble, Royal Northern Sinfonia of Sage Gateshead will be on tour to The Witham, Barnard Castle’s vibrant art centre.
Bringing a wonderful programme of chamber music for strings, the orchestra’s repertoire will include a fantastic feast of Borodin, Shostakovich and Scherzo as well as Mendelssohn Octet in E flat.
Royal Northern Sinfonia has built a world-wide reputation for the quality of its music making and the immediacy of the connections the musicians make with the audiences. Sarah Gent, Marketing and Communications Manager at The Witham says: ‘It’s always a treat to have the orchestra come and perform in Barnard Castle. It really is an opportunity to witness the finest musicianship with such a beautiful set of pieces on offer. It’s true that the orchestra are always so amiable and entertaining- it creates such a personal experience in listening to classical music’.
Another offering of first-class performance is a live broadcast from the Royal Opera House of La Bohème on Tuesday 3rd October at 7.15pm. This will be a unique viewing to see Puccini’s famous opera directed by Richard Jones in a close-up and high-definition experience.
To book tickets and find out more information, visit The Witham between 10am and 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday, book online: www.thewitham.org.uk or call 01833 631107.
Fun in the Oven Theatre Company presented Canary at The Witham on Wednesday 13 September 2017. Our reviewer Evie Brenkley (aged 14) reviews...
With bright yellow faces and dark blue overalls, the highly talented actresses of ‘Canary’ certainly caught one’s eye, and the play was equally striking. Darkly comedic and fabulous, the play was based on the ‘Canary Girls’ - brave women called upon during WW1 in a desperate time of need. When desperate for soldiers, Britain had raided all of its factories for men - and had no-one doing important jobs such as making the weaponry and explosives needed to fight. Once domestic slaves, the girls were now the key to pulling through and winning the war, making munitions and for the front line. Although it gave them illnesses, including yellow skin due to the toxic poisoning, many women enjoyed their new job as it gave them independence and a chance to live their life as their own. The play really gave us an in-depth detail of their lives and the entire thing was really fascinating. If you ever get the chance to go and see it - do, it is very enlightening and well worth watching.
The first part of the play is a sort of advert for the Canary Girls, with a narrator giving the girls life as they go about their daily tasks. This all changes, however, when an air raid strikes and the girls are left alone - just the three of them. When the actresses really discover themselves, we watch some heart-wrenching material whilst connecting to them on an emotional level. The entire play is very well choreographed and put together, constantly hilarious. The script was well written too and really emphasised showing us the women’s lives and also how they were being treated. The majority of it was still applicable to today’s society, making the play really thought-provoking at so many stages.
When the end of the air raid, and then the war was announced, everybody was given a short break, before the audience was allowed back into the theatre for a Q&A session with the actresses and their director. This was very interesting and allowed us all to gain a deeper understanding of the play. They all told us that they had such good fun producing the play, and improvising in rehearsals to discover their characters. They are still working on the final play, to make the whole thing really exciting so that “no one ever leaves the room.”
The audience loved it too, and it struck the teenagers there in particular. One of them told me they “thought the subject matter was very interesting and the physical way it was portrayed was excellent”. Another said, “the lighting flowed very clearly, and it came together well with the sound and the acting”. Certainly, the overriding consensus from all was that the play was incredibly enjoyable.
‘Canary’ has an excellent mix of fact and fiction, funny and heartbreaking; and the contrast between happy and sad is excellently portrayed. It is very well put together, with wonderful character development and the plot line is almost faultless, with every concept flowing together nicely. Considering this is still a work in progress, I can’t wait to see it develop and flourish in the future.
Date: Friday 6 April 2018
Time: 8 pm, doors open 7.30pm
Price: £14.00 (ages 16+) Concessions £12
Promoters’ Training Day
It’s approaching that time of year again, when The Witham will be welcoming the much anticipated Highlights Contemporary Craft Tour for 2017. Entitled “Luminosity”, this year’s exhibition is based around the theme of light and how the seven artists involved manipulate light as a crucial element or medium in their work.
In preparation for the exhibition The Witham staff members, Sarah and Halle, and volunteer, Marilyn, attended a Promoters Training Day to learn more.
After a pleasantly scenic journey across the tops to Shap, The Withamites joined a mixed group of staff and volunteers from other organisations, to be welcomed by Highlights Craft Tour officer Karen Babayan. One of the artists featuring in the tour, glass engraver Heather Gillespie, was also present and had brought along an exquisite vase, Zostera. An indication of the quality of Heather’s work is that it is sold in shops such as Harrods and Liberty. Karen has the unenviable job of transporting Heather’s precious vase from place to place and we were very careful to view it from a respectful - and safe - distance. After all this was a vase with a name!
Karen began by giving an overview of the exhibition and the artists and craftspeople involved. These include five exhibitors who are based in the North of England and two International artists, Statira Jazayeri from Sweden and Evagelia Hagikalfa from Greece. The ‘homegrown’ artists are Heather, Stuart Langley, Jason Taylor, Jan Hopkins and Sandra Balmer. Their work is very diverse and includes sculptural textiles, film and projection, glass, electronics and neon installations. The examples Karen showed on screen indicated that this will be a very special event of a kind we don’t often see in Teesdale and certainly whetted the appetite of all present.
It was interesting too, to hear the stories behind some of the works. There is the artist inspired by DH Lawrence’s Women in Love, and another who references genetics in her work, almost as an homage to her father and his interest in rabbit breeding. As Heather was present, she was able to describe the influences behind her own work which are largely marine based, such as the lovely seagrass-inspired engraving on her vase. Zostera, by the way, is a Japanese seagrass.
Heather went on to talk about her path as an artist and her year in the Czech Republic learning the ancient art of copper wheel glass engraving. Although this was no longer taught in the UK, thanks to Heather there are now a number of people practising this demanding craft.
Then came the hands on part of the day, as everyone was given the chance to try glass sandblasting. Following Heather’s instructions we tried to channel our inner artist by cutting a design on sticky plastic wrapped around a small glass. This was then sandblasted in Heather’s portable machine and judging by the smiles everyone enjoyed the activity and the results.
Following a delicious lunch - with many thanks to those responsible – the nitty-gritty of hosting the exhibition was mapped out, with considerations from risk-assessment, to selling work, the associated education programme and workshops being discussed. Thoroughly briefed and looking forward to seeing the exhibition in the flesh, the day ended as we left an anxious-looking Karen carefully re-packing Zostera in reams of bubble wrap and polystyrene.
At some point during the day, everyone had the opportunity to cross the road to The Old Courthouse, Shap’s own community arts building. An unloved building due to be demolished to make way for housing, it was saved by community action and brought back into use as a multi-purpose space. After a lot of hard work it now houses a library with computers, a gallery area and meeting spaces and is a facility the community can be proud of.
As Karen explained in her introduction, Highlights rural touring scheme aims to promote professional events in rural places, so that people living outside the main centres have access to high-quality arts experiences. And why shouldn’t we? Running from the 14th of October until the 4th of November, “Luminosity” certainly promises to be an outstanding exhibition and we in Teesdale are very fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy it. Spread the word and we’ll see you there...
Thank you to volunteer Marilyn Normanton for this blog post about the day!
Following the publication of The Witham's Autumn 2017 programme, it has come to our attention that there is an error in the Rotary Club of Barnard Castle's email address in their advert, due to an error.
Whole-hearted apologies to the Rotary Club of Barnard Castle for this mistake. We appreciate the support of all our advertisers and this does not reflect our usual high standards of service. The Rotary Club of Barnard Castle has been a loyal and generous supporter of The Witham over the years.
Please note that the correct email address for correspondence with the Rotary Club of Barnard Castle is as follows:
Thank you for your understanding in this matter.