The Witham launch the new summer season running from June to August this week with a sizzling line-up of live acts, exhibitions, the summer of stories inspired by BIG and small, as well as world-class screenings. The Witham’s summer programme is sponsored by Darlington Building Society - thank you so much for your support. Thanks too to the many advertisers who help enable the physical programme to actually be printed!
This seasons’ theatre offerings include an encore screening of An American In Paris (Friday 22 June), as part of the Barnard Castle 1940s weekend. The stage production features many of George and Ira Gershwin’s most iconic songs including "I Got Rhythm" and "They Can't Take That Away from Me". It’s a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war. You can also come to The Witham for Ballroom dance classes (Saturday 23 June) that weekend.
The musicals continue with a screening of the new award-winning five-star hit musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Thursday 5 July), and with a live musical, Beyond the End of the Road, (Friday 27 July) bought to The Witham by Northern Heartlands and presented by Northumbrian performing arts company, November Club. The storytelling rabble weave their midsummer tale about the residents of their village P L A C E, their loves, their losses and their deepest secrets. Inspired by folk and traditional music, performed by a professional cast of 10 actors and musicians, with special appearances from local talent at each venue. The evening will end in a ceilidh which is included in the ticket price.
As Gyles Brandreth comments in his introduction of the programme ‘Barnard Castle is blessed in The Witham. And those of us, like me, who are privileged to follow in the footsteps of the likes of ‘Wee’ Georgie Wood are blessed, too. It’s a privilege to come to Barney and perform in The Witham – a hall with a glorious heritage, a special atmosphere, a lovely audience, and, I hope, a future that’s as packed with variety and surprises as it’s fascinating past been. Give the Witham a gong. It deserves it.’
Gyles Brandreth is bringing his one man show ‘Break a Leg!’ show to The Witham on 28th July as part of the Funny Way To Be Comedy Club season. Other comedy not to miss includes George Egg (Sat 23 June)_, and the Edinburgh preview shows on Saturday 14th and 21st July when you can see comics on their way up the Comedy Festival…. before everyone else! The line up for the 14th July includes Nish Kumar, Alex Edelman, Lucy Pearman and Steve Bugeja. Enjoy Lauren Pattison, Adam Hess, Tom Wrigglesworth and Ed Night on Saturday 21st July at The Witham, thanks to the Funny Way To Be Comedy Club.
The folk music at The Witham this season includes JUNO award-winners The East Pointers known for mixing dynamic transatlantic Celtic sounds (Tuesday 26 June), the young lively folk duo The Drystones (Thursday 12 July) and ending with the foot-stomping folk rock legends, Sheelanagig (Friday 31 August) with their a bagful of joint-jumping tunes, these boys from the South-West England create a real dynamic which is inherent in both their furious dance medleys as well as their interestingly arranged original pieces. This is a standing gig and dance is highly encouraged!
Saturday 7 July sees The Witham team up with Mr Haydrake himself, Neil Diment to celebrate National Haymeadow Day and the launch of our new Hay Meadow Interpretation boards. Ecologist Rachel will be running a family workshop – Minibeast Adventure - to learn about minibeasts in the meadow.
The Summer of Stories at The Witham this year is inspired by BIG and small, in connection with the BFG exhibition at the Bowes Museum. We have an exciting blend of workshops with Dance from Project D – little Dance Workshop (Wednesday 1st August) and BIG Dance workshop (Thursday 23 August) and Creative workshops with Suitcase Studios - Create an Elf Garden (Wednesday 25 July, Build a Giant's Garden (Wednesday 8 August). There is also a Clowning workshop with Fun in the Oven – The Playful Clown (Saturday 11 August). The fancy dress caravan and story chair for families to come and enjoy too.
In the gallery, visitors can enjoy The Auckland Project’s Pop-Up Museum (Tuesday 29 May to Sunday 3 June) where you can delve into history as well as I love Durham Because….. a countrywide initiative to create an artwork to celebrate County Durham (Thursday 1 June – Sunday 3 June). Yorkshire photographer Lucy Saggers brings her exhibition, Of Life and Land chronicling life in the Yorkshire village of Ampleforth (Thursday 5 July – Saturday 28 July).
Films this summer include: Martin McDonagh’s fiercely written tragic comedy starring Frances McDormind, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (15) (Thursday 31 May); John Hurt’s final performance in That Good Night (12A) (Thursday 14 August); the Oscar-winning performance by Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (PG) (Thursday 19 July); and Marvel’s most radical superhero movie, The Black Panther (12A) (Thursday 19 July)
The Witham are delighted to welcome Samling back with their Academy Opera Venus and Adonis (Friday 20 July) when music Director John Butt conducts the Dunedin Consort—one of the UK’s leading Baroque ensembles—in Samling Academy Opera’s production of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Henry Purcell’s Come, ye Sons of Art. Opera screenings continue to delight audiences with Glyndebourne: Madama Butterfly (Thursday 21 July), Glyndebourne: Saul (Thursday 2 August) and Glyndebourne: Vanessa (Tuesday 14 August).
Classical music lovers are in for a treat with Berliner Philharmoniker - Sir Simon Rattle's Farewell Concert (Wednesday 20 July), Andre Rieu Concert with Afternoon tea on offer in the café before (Sunday 29th July and please pre-book the afternoon tea), and Jonas Kaufmann - Under the Stars (Thursday 30 August).
As Sarah Gent, Marketing Manager at The Witham comments, ‘These are exciting times at The Witham. We are delighted with the variety and quality of the arts events that are programmed in this summer and look forward to welcoming our regulars as well as lots of new faces to enjoy what lies ahead. And there is also delicious food and drink on offer in the café, as well as exhibitions and the caravan and meadow at the back. Our thanks too to Darlington Building Society for having the vision and generosity for supporting us and indeed to all the local businesses and organisations who support The Witham by advertising in the programme. And thanks to Gyles and Pete from the Funny Way To Be Comedy Club – we salute you both, sirs!’
For more information, call The Witham on 01833 631107 or pop into 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Castle during opening hours (10am – 4pm, Tuesdays – Saturdays).