Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Sword in The Stone - Britten 100 Celebrations, University of East Anglia, Norwich

The Sword in the Stone
Thursday 7 and Friday 8 March 2013, 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm) 
University of East Anglia Drama Studio, Norwich

UEA Drama students, under the direction of Holly Maples present a new staged adaptation of T H White's novel, The Sword in the Stone, on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 March. UEA's Orchestra in Residence, Chamber Orchestra Anglia, will perform music by Benjamin Britten, originally written for the 1939 BBC radio adaptation of the novel.

Tickets for the concert cost £12 (full price) or £6 (concessions) and are on sale now from UEA Ticket Bookings, t. 01603 508050.

On Friday 8 March, there will be a pre-performance talk, hosted by BBC presenter Christopher Cook. The talk will take place at 4pm in the UEA Thomas Payne Study Centre Room 1.1. The pre-performance talk is free to attend and there is no need to register.

For more information on the concert and pre-performance talk visit UEA Music website, email

Monday, 18 February 2013

Support Wymondham Music Festival at the cultural heart of South Norfolk

The 18th annual Wymondham Music Festival, centred on Festival Fortnight, June 22 to July 7, but with events from the beginning of May, presents a packed programme of professional music from both Norfolk and the UK, as well as local talent. The volunteer-run Festival Committee is appealing to local businesses to get involved as sponsors and advertisers and publicise the events, helping to maintain Wymondham as the cultural heart of South Norfolk.

John Wood, Chairman Wymondham Music Festival said: “The support of the local community – business sponsors, individuals who sign up as patrons and our volunteers – has always been vital to the success of the Festival. We are also very grateful for the grants we receive from Norfolk County Council, South Norfolk Council and Wymondham Town Council.”

“Last year we spent £27,000 in Norfolk on artists, venues and other supplies and our audiences all contributed to the Wymondham area economy. Sustaining our partnership with the community is so important for the wellbeing of the social and cultural fabric. We appreciate that money is still ‘tight’, but hope that our business community will continue with their generous assistance.”

Michelle Fernandes from Ward-Robes ladies fashion and accessories shop in Fairland Street, Wymondham said: “Traders in the town always welcome and look forward to events organised by the Music Festival. The choice of music offered each year is varied and brings people in from afar, which helps to increase footfall and keep the town alive. In the current economic climate the Festival is a real bonus for Wymondham and gives town traders a good marketing opportunity.”

Businesses are invited to be a sole or joint sponsor supporting the costs of running an event from £100 to £500, advertise in the Festival programme, link their website to the Festival website, help publicise events by distributing posters and fliers and spread the word through social media.  Individual patrons are very welcome for a minimum £25 annual donation. Volunteer helpers are always welcome!

To get involved, or find out more, contact the Festival Office, t. 01953 601939,    

                                          The Lightning Thieves

2013 Highlights
Concerts in Wymondham Abbey

Saturday 22 June: The Lightning Thieves– Adam Summerhayes, violin and David Gordon, harpsichord – a dazzling opening for the Festival. These two virtuosos create remarkable instrumental effects – a whirl of ultra-modern medieval worldfolk.
Thursday 27 June: Jazz in the Abbey– Peter King, sax, Steve Melling, piano, Ivars Galenieks, bass.
Sunday 30 June: Voigt Piano Trio plays Rachmaninov and Schumann.
Wednesday 3 July: Rupert Egerton Smith, international award-winning pianist.

Other venues
Saturday 29 June: Folk at The Regal – Megson award-winning duo.
Thursday 4 July: The Vagaband eight-piece – country, jazz, blues, rock and more
Friday 5 July: Wymondham Roots – world, and roots music from – Andy Kirkham guitar, and folk bands Jake Morrell and Whirligig introduced by Johnny Steinberg.
Saturday 6 July: Zimali at The Regal – Flamenco guitar, voice, percussion, dance.

                                          The Drones - festival final 7 July

Events for young people
Saturday 29 June: The Kickstart Sessions for young bands, building on the 2012 pilot run in partnership with South Norfolk Youth Action Radio and Woodshack rehearsal studios.
Sunday 30 June: Teddy Bear’s Picnic on King’s Head Meadow. Free to access music activities and storytelling for the very young led by Early Years Music Specialist Charlotte Arculus
Sunday 7 July: The Drones ‘Toy Symphony’ – Festival Finale for all the family; original music and songs with cello, mandolin, clarinet, percussion, car parts, toys, birdcalls, musical saw, items from the garden shed.

Raveningham Gardens snowdrop season continues to Friday, March 1

The snowdrop season at Raveningham Gardens South Norfolk continues until Friday, March 1; proceeds to Priscilla Bacon Lodge, a centre for specialist palliative care services in Norwich.

The garden is open until Friday, March 1 for snowdrop viewing Monday to Friday 11am to 4pm and Sunday 2pm to 4pm (dusk if earlier) – closed Saturdays. Admission is adults £4, concessions £3.50 and children under 16 free; tea and home made cakes served on Sundays and sunny days.

Raveningham Hall is the home of Sir Nicholas and Lady Bacon. It was Sir Nicholas’ mother, Priscilla Bacon, who added snowdrops to the garden.

The 18th century Walled Kitchen Garden with its large glasshouses will be open and visitors will also be able to enjoy views across the new lake established at the turn of the Millennium and the contemporary sculpture in the gardens.

Raveningham Gardens (NR14 6NS) is 10 miles south east of Norwich, signposted off the A146 at Hales, then B1136, tel. 01508 548152,

The gardens open for the mains season from Easter Sunday 31 March to the end of August as follows: all Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays, 2pm to 5pm – and all Thursdays 11am to 4pm.

Special Openings

Wild Flowers Week Monday 13 May to Friday 17 May, daily 11am to 4pm (closed Saturday and Sunday).

Rose Weeks Monday 17 June to Friday 21 June, daily 11am to 4pm and Monday 24 June to Friday 28 June, daily 11am to 4pm (closed Saturdays and Sundays).

Agapanthus Weeks Monday 29 July to Friday 2 August, and Monday 5 August to Friday 9 August open Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm (closed Saturdays and Sundays).

Autumn Fruit and Vegetable Weeks Monday 23 September to Friday 27 September and Monday 30 September to Friday 4 October open Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm (closed Saturdays and Sundays)

The Taste of Autumn, Sunday 6 October, 11am to 4pm, entry £5 a car.
The Taste of Autumn is a celebration of the autumnal fruits of the garden, hedgerow and woodland, with Raveningham’s walled vegetable garden, glasshouses, orchard and herb garden at its heart.  Meet local producers and enjoy talks and tours on fungi, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Vote for Sally Randell - Fairhaven Garden's Tourism Superstar

Voting has opened for Visit England's Tourism Superstar 2013. Sally Randell (pictured above) from  Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, in the heart of the Norfolk Broads is on the shortlist of 10. Vote here  for Sally.

Sally Randell celebrated her 25th anniversary at Fairhaven last year. She started work there in 1987, making sandwiches and serving tea and cake in a building that was also the shop and ticket office. Sally has been part of the garden's development into an award-winning visitor attraction and now manages the new ‘green’ tearoom, which opened in 2008.

“It is fantastic to be on the shortlist  for Tourism Superstar 2013,” said Sally Randell, “I love working at Fairhaven; the garden is beautiful and the people I work with are like one big extended family. They are all tourism superstars. ”

Louise Rout, Manager, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden said: “Sally really deserves to be on the shortlist for Visit England Tourism Superstar . She is always positive and has a wonderful sense of humour. Sally has been a vital support as we have steadily increased events and activity at the garden to develop it into a year-round attraction. She works really hard to cater for all customers including offering gluten free food, vegan and diabetic cakes. She really does go the extra mile to look after her customers. Regular visitors have their special orders, including one customer who eats ‘go ahead’ bars. Sally always keeps a couple hidden for him, just in case there is a rush on the bars.”

The Tourism Superstar award was launched last year as part of the first-ever English Tourism Week, and recognises those unsung heroes who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors to England have a priceless experience.  This year the award focuses on employees at English visitor attractions.

Everyone who votes will be entered into a prize draw to win a weekend break for two in Brighton, including dinner, attractions passes and tickets to a show.  Voting is open until 8 March, and the winning Tourism Superstar will be announced during English Tourism Week 2013 (16-24 March).

For more information about Visit England's Tourism Superstar see

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Norfolk National Gardens Scheme Yellow Guide 2013

The Norfolk National Gardens Scheme (NGS) yellow guide 2013 was launched today by Annie Tempest, cartoonist, sculptor and gardener at Hoveton Hall in the Norfolk Broads. 
                                              Annie Tempest at Hoveton Hall
Annie Tempest said: "I always thought NGS stood for non gardening spouse! but now realize the open gardens scheme supports vital nursing and caring charities. I also believe there are three stages in a women’s life, horses,hormones and horticulture! I have have reached the third stage and inspired by the garden owners present today, the Totterings will be opening in the future for the NGS”

Thirteen new and returning gardens are opening during 2013, and along with many old favourites there will be something for everyone, from the grand country estates to groups of small town gardens. Among the new gardens is Elsing Hall, a magnificent Tudor mansion complete with working moat and classic rose gardens. The hall was a finalist in England’s Favourite House competition. In complete contrast is Cherry Tree cottage at Northacre which is a long narrow garden, typically found at many terraced properties, but here, the owners have created a garden full of interest and great ideas, which shows how you can overcome a challenging situation.

Anthea Foster, Norfolk County Organiser, said “This year we have the greatest variety and quality of gardens I can remember for some time. We are very fortunate in Norfolk to have so many loyal and generous visitors to our gardens, who together with our dedicated garden owners, last year managed to raise a magnificent £75,000 for the nursing and caring charities we support. This was despite some difficult weather conditions and represents an increase of 10% compared to 2012”.

The season gets off to a great start on Sunday,  February 10 at Lexham Hall, nr Litcham PE32 2QJ, with displays of snowdrops and aconites and many winter flowering and scented. The gardens and parkland are open from 11am to 4 pm, entry £5 (children free). Teas and soup on offer.

Pick up a copy of the Norfolk NGS 2013 Guide at tourist information centres, libraries, garden centrea and nurseries or visit

Monday, 4 February 2013

Norfolk Abstract Artists at The Cut Halesworth - stains on the silence

Norfolk abstract artists, Martin Battye and Geoffrey Lefever, are staging a joint exhibition, stains on the silence, at The Cut Arts Centre, Halesworth from Tuesday, February 12 to Saturday, March 16. The Cut is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

More than 50 works will be on show at the exhibition. Martin Battye said: “Both Geoffrey and I used to have studio space at the old Bally Shoe Factory in Norwich. I am now based at Hempnall and Geoffrey has a studio at Fengate near Aylsham. We have worked together and shown together for a number of years and have very different, but complementary approaches.”

                                          Geoffrey Lefever in his studio

Martin Battye is currently Chairman of Norwich 20 Group (N20G) and Geoffrey Lefever is a long-term member of the group, joining in the 1960s. N20G was formed in 1944 comprising professional artists from the Norwich School of Art and Design (now Norwich University of the Arts – NUA). The group is no longer limited to 20 and has more than 70 members.

Martin Battye was born in Suffolk but has lived and worked for most of his life in Norfolk. He creates abstract mixed media art and combines his work as an artist with designing and making medical equipment.

Martin Battye added: “My recent paintings have become increasingly concerned with the substance and material of paint, and with a reduced geometry that takes away as much external reference as possible.''

He has been a member of N20G since 2007 and exhibited with the group last year at The Forum, Norwich, Apex, Bury St Edmunds and Espacio Gallery, London. He was also part of the Four Abstract Painters show at Mandells Gallery, Norwich in 2012. Martin has staged solo shows at the Chappel Galleries, Chapel Essex, Graham and Oldham in Ipswich and has exhibited at Royal Academy summer shows and was a prize winner at the Eastern Open Art Exhibition (King’s Lynn).

For 20 years, Geoffrey Lefever was a painter of expressionist landscapes and industrial landscapes in oil, but confronting the equivalent of ‘writer’s block’ in the late 1970s, he embarked on a three-year degree in fine art at Norwich School of Art and Design (now NUCA), emerging as an abstract artist focussing on collage and mixed media work.

Geoffrey Lefever explains: “The three years at art school were at times painful, being confronted by ‘self’ every day. In my final year, my work evolved towards abstraction by means of collage. My degree show works are the earliest in this 30-year retrospective.”

In 2001, Geoffrey was inspired by his daughter Jane’s fine art degree course at Nottingham Trent University, to complete a two-year fine art MA there. “My final show at Nottingham comprised large abstract works on paper hung away from the wall surface. My work has continued to evolve in ways that I had not envisioned. While still totally abstract, at times it tends towards minimalism, but always with an emphasis on structure and the significance of materials such as hessian, ash and paper.”

Geoffrey Lefever has exhibited with N20G in Norwich’s twin cities, Koblenz, Novi Sad and Rouen. He is a member of the Union des Arts Plastiques in Rouen and exhibited with them in 2012. He had a solo show at The Stew Gallery Norwich in 2010 and a 30-year retrospective solo show at St Nicholas Church, Salthouse North Norfolk last year. He was part of the Four Abstract Painters show at Mandells Gallery, Norwich and also exhibited with N20G at The Forum, Norwich and The Apex, Bury St Edmunds in May 2012.

The Cut Arts Centre, 8 The New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY,  t 01986 873285.