Bromsgrove Arts News

  • Sun 9 Feb 2020

    THE HISTORY of Charford will be explored during a talk by Annie Deeley from Bromsgrove Past and Present.

    The presentation at 7pm on Thursday, February 20, at St Andrew’s Church on Lyttleton Avenue will look at the development of the Charford estate.

    Viewers will find out how and why it all began and its important part in Bromsgrove’s history.

    The event is a free Charford Local History community event.

    People can just turn up, although there are only spaces for 90 so seats will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

    The talk is suitable for those aged ten and over.

  • Fri 24 Jan 2020

    A DEMONSTRATION on how to draw a snow leopard in pastel and pastel pencils will be given by Stoke Prior artist Eric Watson at the next meeting of the Lickey Hills Art Society.

    The event will take place between 7.30pm and 9.30pm next Saturday, February 1, at Longbridge Methodist Church.

    Visitors are welcome to the showing, as well as members.

    Admission is £4 with refreshments for £1.

  • Thu 23 Jan 2020

    THE LATEST Cake and Coffee Concert in Bromsgrove will tell the story of the Chartist movement and their settlement in Dodford.

    Spread the Charter is being performed on Saturday, January 25, at 10.30am at St John’s Church in Bromsgrove.

    The Chartists for political reform for Great Britain existed between 1838 and 1857.

    Petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the House of Commons.

    The Dodford Chartist cottage – ‘Rosedene’ – is now owned by the National Trust.

    For the concert the Chartist leader Feargus O’Connor, will be played by Bromsgrove Town Crier Kevin Ward, members of Bromsgrove Community Choir and St John’s Church Choir will be singing Chartist Hymns and Songs of Protest, accompanied by Bob Bignell and Luke Smith from Fairfield folk band.

    Admission is free but donations towards the restoration of the church would be welcome.

    There is cake and coffee or tea afterwards.

  • Mon 13 Jan 2020

    THE WINNER of the 2019 Costa Novel of the Year says he has Brexit to thank for its success but would swap it for remaining in the EU.

    Jonathan Coe, who grew up on the Old Birmingham Road in Lickey and attended the county school there, said he was happy people had embraced Middle England but was surprised by the accolade as it was published in 2018 and was written the year before.

    “There have also been a few other novels on a Brexit theme and I thought it was the last thing people would have wanted to read about – people tend to pick up fiction as a form of escapism,” said Jonathan.

    The book, described by the judges as ‘the perfect novel for now, centres around life in Britain before, during and after the EU referendum.

    Jonathan wrote it because the concept of Brexit, the EU referendum and everything surrounding it had ‘intrigued’ him.

    “I could not believe this seemingly dry question posed by David Cameron had got under so many people’s skin and it got me thinking what it was all about.”

    He said five or six years ago people did not really seem to think or talk about Britain’s EU membership but all of a sudden so much emotion and debate had been sparked.

    “The book is not just about Brexit, it’s also about family life and growing old. Politics is always there but it should stay ticking over in the background – that is when the good moments are. Yes there is always anger and disillusionment with politics and politicians – it happens all around the world – but for some reason Britain decided to channel all of it towards towards the EU. In reality, all of our problems do not stem from the EU and if people think it will all be hunky dory when we leave, they’re in for a nasty shock.”

    He said he had travelled extensively and many people from mainland Europe were baffled by the British people’s decision.

    “I spoke to a Polish taxi driver who worked Monday to Friday in Vienna and then went home to Poland at the weekend. He said before Poland joined the EU the journey took him 17 hours because of all the checks but with frictionless EU travel between countries it went down to four hours. This is going to be with us for years, it is a very complicated situation as we try to work out what kind of country we want to be.”

    Middle England

    Middle England begins eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham ‘where car factories have been replaced by Poundland’ (a nod to Longbridge) and London where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever.

    There is a cast of colourful characters, including newlyweds Ian and Sophie who disagree about the future of the country which impacts on their relationship, political commentator Doug who writes impassioned columns about austerity from his Chelsea townhouse and his radical teenage daughter, a campaigner for social justice.

    Another, Benjamin Trotter, embarks on a doomed career in middle age and his dad Colin whose last wish is to vote in the EU referendum.

    Jonathan has lived in London for 33 years now and said because of that and his early life he felt he had a foot in both ‘metropolitan and provincial’ camps.

    “I think when I left school at 18 I would have voted to leave but, after years of experience, voted remain. There are many different types of leavers and there are many different types of remainers. 17.4million people voted to leave and there are 17.4million reasons for leaving – everyone did it for their own. Obviously I could not get all of them into the book but I have tried to write it in a very panoramic way and express as many of those points of view as I could. I also tried to make it as funny as possible, keep it fairly even-handed throughout and it does end on a note of optimism.”

    Fond memories of growing up in Bromsgrove

    Jonathan, who will find out on January 28 if he has won the overall Costa Book of the Year title, said he had fond memories of Bromsgrove and south Birmingham and his mum still lives in Lickey.

    He comes back to see her ‘every month or two’ and most of his books have references to the Midlands or are set there.

    “I remember Bromsgrove having a very thriving town centre and community and the independent book shop Page One – I used to get a paperback from there almost every week. There and Bromsgrove Library was where my whole reading experience took place when I was growing up and I used to go along to Johnson’s Records to buy the ‘progressive albums’ I liked.”

    So what’s next?

    Jonathan is currently halfway through his next novel, scheduled for release at the end of this year.

    “It takes place in the 1970s and is set abroad – Brexit isn’t mentioned once. I’m doing what I think many readers wanted me to do in the first place – I’m writing something to take their mind off Brexit.”

    Visit for more on Jonathan and click here for more on Middle England.

  • Sun 12 Jan 2020

    FUNDING is available for community groups and charities across Bromsgrove, Rubery and South Birmingham through the Tesco Bags of Help scheme.

    Applications are officially open for 2020, with more than £6million to be shared across England throughout 2020.

    Anyone can nominate groups and charities and those selected will be awarded grant amounts of £2,000, £1,000 or £500 every three months.

    The scheme sees money raised from the sale of reusable Bags for Life in Tesco stores across the country used to fund local projects.

    And customers decide where the money goes, casting their votes for shortlisted charities using blue tokens handed out in stores.

    Keith Jackson, Bags of Help manager at Tesco, said: “From projects to improve community spaces to purchasing new equipment, we encourage you to nominate and apply and get involved in this fantastic scheme.

    “Bags of Help has provided more than £80million of funding to more than 27,000 local community projects to date and there is so much more we want to help groups to achieve.”

    Visit for more information.

  • Wed 8 Jan 2020

    YOUNG musicians are being sought for Bromsgrove Rock School which has its new spring term getting under way at St Peter’s Catholic First School in Rock Hill next Saturday, January 18.

    The classes, led by professional musician Brian Hoggard and supported by guitarist Loz Ruston and vocal coach Givvi Flynn, take place between 10.30am and 11.30am (eight to 13-year-olds) and between 11.30am and 1.30pm (13 to 18).

    Young people, aged between eight and 18, are welcome to go along for a free trial session.

    Since its launch in April 2017 members have performed at a variety of events, including Blackwell Festival, the Primrose Hospice Summer Fete, Primrose Hospice Santa Fun Run at Arrow Valley Lake and Worcester Music Festival.

    There is also end-of-term shows so friends and family can see what the performers have learnt.

    Participants are put into bands or can join as an existing band and they can create their own material or work on cover versions across all music genres.

    Brian said: “If you have a musical talent and want to become even more awesome then Rock School is the place to be.”

    Call Brian on 07720 211002, email admin [at] dragonmusic [dot] org or visit for more information.

  • Sun 5 Jan 2020

    A TALK on ‘The Life of Dennis Norton and his Collection’ will be given by the man himself at the Bromsgrove Methodist Centre.

    The event, organised by The Bromsgrove Society, takes place at 7.45pm on January 21.

    Able Cadet Megan Evans. Worcester Mayor Coun Steve Mackay, Dennis Norton, Worcester Mayoress Alison Mackay and Deputy Lieutenant Patricia Bradbury. Picture by Marcus Mingins 4317003MMR

    Mr Norton received the British Empire Medal in 2017 for ‘Services to the community and heritage in Bromsgrove’.

    In the past 70 years he has collected thousands of historical items relating to Bromsgrove and its history and in 2016 opened The Norton Collection Museum on the Birmingham Road.

    The former Bromsgrove District Council leader also wrote his autobiography – ‘The Man Who Adopted Bromsgrove’- which was released in 2017.

    It detailed his childhood, his work life at Longbridge and his life in politics.

  • Tue 15 Oct 2019

    THE RENOWNED Circus of Horrors is set to roll into Bromsgrove and the organisers are hoping a person will come forward to be part of the show.

    The chosen one will get to be a ‘pickled person’ during the performance at Artrix on Tuesday, October 22.

    Applicants, who need to be over 18, not claustrophobic and be able to squeeze into tight places, will be asked to fit into a bottle measuring only two feet tall and 18ins in diameter.

    Anyone who thinks they have the bottle for this job should email asia [at] psycho [dot] co [dot] uk to arrange an audition.

    The show itself started its gruesome beginnings in the 1995 Glastonbury Festival and became an instant hit all over the world.

    It appeared at festivals with a host of stars, including Alice Cooper, Eminem, Oasis, Iron Maiden, The Manic Street Preachers, Foo Fighters, Aerosmith, Guns and Roses, Maralyn Manson and many more.

    Last year it toured Poland, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Italy and Holland, as well as the UK.

    It also took to the stage at major festivals and, in October alone, was watched by around 90,000 people, proving its popularity.

    The almighty cast that stormed into the finals of Britain’s Got Talent is now a West End and worldwide hit offering a roller coaster ride of amazing and bizarre acts with something for everyone guaranteed.

    Tickets for The Circus Of Horrors at Artrix, which starts at 7.30pm, are £20, available at or by calling 01527 577330.

  • Tue 15 Oct 2019

    BROMSGROVE’S Royal British Legion is hoping the town will come together at Artrix on November 10 and ‘party like its 1944’.

    Following the success of last year’s ‘Battle’s Over’ concert another extravaganza has been lined up for the evening of Remembrance Sunday.

    Taking to the stage for the ‘Albert Hall Tribute’ will be Vintage Class, Kevin Ward, Fairfield and Music from Glen Miller.

    Catherine Tabberner who broke the decibel record at Artrix last year with her rendition of Rule Britannia will be returning and there will be a special appearance by ‘Mr Churchill’ for the Drum Head Ceremony to bring back memories of 1944.

    Tickets are £12 and the concert starts at 7.30pm.

    Visit or call 01527 577330 for tickets and more information.

  • Tue 15 Oct 2019

    COFTON Hackett’s brand new £1million village hall is now officially open and will be officially launched this weekend.

    The new state-of-the-art village hall on East Works Drive and Groveley Lane will be showcased between 12.30pm and 4.30pm on both tomorrow and Sunday, September 28 and 29, with a special opening ceremony at 3pm on Sunday.

    The 4,500sq ft building features a kitchen, 1,600sq ft hall, an office, a meeting room, a community room and a sheltered outdoor activity area.

    The hall, part of St Modwen’s ongoing regeneration of the former Longbridge site, will be a vital asset for the community, providing space for local people to come together and hold group meetings, events and activities.

    The Cofton Village Hall Trust worked closely with St Modwen to ensure the building had everything the community needed.

    The Trustees said: “We’re grateful to St Modwen for providing this wonderful space and we’re very excited to be up and running so local residents can start enjoying events and activities here.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together and offers a brilliant environment for a variety of different uses.”

    The trustees want the community to be involved as much as possible and are looking for people who want to help run the hall as part of a management committee and some to help keep it running smoothly.

    As well as volunteers, the trust is still raising money to fully equip the hall.

    Trustees are working hard to secure grants as well as organising community fund-raising activities.

    Visit to donate to the cause and email info [at] coftonvillagehall [dot] org for more information on the hall or to book the space for a community meeting or event.