Bromsgrove Arts News

  • Sun 20 Sep 2015

    THE FIRST event in Bromsgrove Concerts’ 53rd season takes place at Artrix next Friday (September 25) when the Carducci Quartet come to town.

    The line-up includes violinists Matthew Denton and Michelle Fleming, Eoin Schmidt-Martin on viola and Emma Denton on Cello.

    Among the pieces to be performed on the evening will be Shostakovich’s String Quartets – No 4 in D Op 83, No 14 in F sharp Op 142 and No 12  in D flat Op 133.

    The group last came to Bromsgrove in September 2012 and they have spent most of 2015 playing all of Shostakovich’s 15 quartets to mark the 40th anniversary of his death.

    Tickets, which are £18 (£5 – registered disabled, unemployed and students), are available by visiting or by calling 01527 577330.

    Free tickets are available for young people aged between eight and 25, thanks to Cavatina Chamber Music Trust.

    Please contact the Box Office for these tickets.

    Visit for more information on subscriptions and rover tickets and general information about Bromsgrove Concerts.

  • Fri 18 Sep 2015

    A RETIRED Aston Fields music teacher had a pleasant surprise when he was handed his mother’s music score – 25 years after she died.

    Steve Cowperthwaite lost his mum when she passed away in Hexham, Northumberland, some 250 miles from Bromsgrove.

    The 59-year-old, who is the Barnt Green Choral Society’s managing director, said he proposed their March 2016 concert should have a Baroque theme – with music by Bach, Pergolesi and Vivaldi.

    He added after their first rehearsal of the season, last week, he turned up ready to conduct and was given copies of the music by their librarian, who had obtained them from Birmingham Music Library.

    “When I opened my vocal score of the Pergolesi, I saw on the inside cover the signature ‘J Cowperthwaite 22/3/78’ – in my mother’s unmistakable writing, her name was June.”

    Steve said he was left feeling moved by the extraordinary coincidence especially since next spring would mark the 25th anniversary of her death, in 1991.

    He added he knew she took up singing and joined a choir in Hexham during the 1970s, but he had no idea about what pieces she performed.

    “The date coincides with my final year at university,” Steve said.

    “Somehow the copy she used must have found its way to Birmingham Library and then to me.

    “The score is like a ‘postcard from the past’ and I shall not be able to resist thinking of her singing along when it gets to the concert.”

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Thu 23 Jul 2015

    MORE THAN 500 people went along to this year’s Bromsgrove Folk Festival, which organisers have hailed an amazing success.

    The event was held from July 10 to 12 at The Bowling Green in Stoke Prior and began with over 20 acts taking to the stage on the Thursday night for the annual pre-festival Singin’ and Suppin’ Session.

    By the Friday night, the festival was in full swing with an impressive line-up , which included house band ‘Fairfield’, local poet Spoz, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, Artisan, and Blackbeard’s Tea Party. After 20 years performing harmonies together, Artisan called it a day in 2005, reforming for a tour in 2010, and decided to make it another short reunion in 2015.

    On the Saturday, a great performance by Midlander Sunjay Brayne was followed by Irish singer-songwriter Colum Sands taking to the stage.

    There was also an energetic routine by Appalachian dancers Step on Board, accompanied by their band Thirsty Work and there was music from local singer Leon Gormley and former Fairfield singer John Connor.

    The evening concert began in a quirky way with Mumbo Jumbo giving 300 kazoos to the audience to play along to their blues-jazz-folk style music. Kim Lowings and the Greenwood, Colum Sands and BarlowCree – two artists from South Wales – and Anthony John Clarke also performed.

    Sunday started with a gentle walk, dulcimer workshop or singaround, before more Appalachian dancing, and the World Dry Foam Flinging Championships – that was won by Mac Rawlings, with an epic first throw.

    And the final concert of many of the acts from over the weekend brought down the curtain for another year.

    Planning is already underway for the 2016 Bromsgrove Folk Festival, which will see a milestone reached – it will be the 25th one to be held.

    Folk festival organiser Bob Bignell said: “Whatever we do, people say to us at the end of the festival that they don’t see how we can top it again.

    “It will be fun to attempt it in our 25th year.

    “It’s a big friendly family we have here.

    “Our main ambition is that by the time everyone leaves on the Sunday night, they are all on first name terms,” he added.

    Bromsgrove Folk Club meets between 8pm and 10.30pm on the second and last Thursday of every month at Catshill Social Club.

    Visit or e-mail bobcynfolk [at] aol [dot] com for more information.

    Reprinted by kind permission of the Bromsgrove Standard


  • Sun 19 Jul 2015

    THE FAMOUS Dr Zeus’ fictional figure ‘The Cat in the Hat’ visited the children’s section of Bromsgrove Library on Thursday (July 16).

    The event was held to promote the upcoming theatre production of ‘The Cat In The Hat’ which takes place at Artrix on July 27 and 28.

    The Cat in the Hat’s appearance will be one of many fun events at the arts centre this July and August.

    Others include the ‘’Family fun festival’ which takes place on July 31.

    The festival will hold pottery (10am, 1pm), painting (11am) and ukulele (10am) workshops along with several other activities.

    And drop-in sessions will be between 10.30am and 3pm.

    There will also be a number of children’s films screened, such as ‘The Spongebob Movie’ (July 29 and 30), ‘A dragon’s tale’ (July 30) and ‘Minions’ (Aug 4 and 5).

    Kicking off the activities will be the ‘Artrix summer exhibition’ which began on Wednesday (July 15) and will go on till August 16.

    The gallery is open from 10am till 4pm Monday to Saturday.

    The exhibition features contemporary works, paintings, photography and a variety of famous works produced.

    TC Peppercorn, Artrix’s learning and engagement co-ordinator said: “We have lots planned for the summer holidays, so there’s no excuse for children to be bored.”

    For more information and tickets, visit or call the box office on 01527 577330.

  • Sun 19 Jul 2015

    SUMMER is here and there is no better time for children to enjoy themselves outdoors.

    Avoncroft Museum in Bromsgrove has over a month full of fun-filled holiday activities from Monday (July 20) to August 28, with sessions taking place from 11am to 3pm.

    Children will get a chance to have fun with bricks and get building (Mondays), camp and learn bush-craft skills (Tuesdays), discover Avonccroft’s hidden insects (Wednesdays), have fun with archery and falconry (Thursdays) and have a go at playing traditional games (Fridays).

    Another place for children to visit this summer is the Hanbury Hall and gardens, Droitwich Spa.

    There are activities for both children and adults to get involved with including arts and crafts, tree climbing, bat walks and book fairs.

    For additional information about events taking place at both venues visit or

    To book tickets for any events at Avoncroft museum call on 01527 831363

  • Sat 18 Jul 2015

    THERE was plenty of fun for all the family at Bromsgrove Carnival weekend.

    Proceedings kicked off with the pop-up cinema in Sanders Park on Friday night (July 10) which saw hundreds of people turn up to watch a screening of classic summer film Grease.

    Then on the Saturday (July 11), there was the traditional carnival parade which journeyed from Artrix to Sanders Park.

    The procession, which had a red carpet movie theme, was led by town crier Kevin Ward and also featured Blackwell Concert Band, representatives from Libby Mae’s Little Angels, beauty queens, the Stroke Association and film characters, including a teenage mutant hero turtle, Where’s Wally and a monkey.

    Blackwell Concert Band won the competition for parade entrants with Libby Mae’s Little Angels finishing second.

    The Tommy Wilson Funfair kept people of all ages busy in the carnival arena in Sanders Park and there was also live music, vintage cars on display, dancing, wrestling and refreshments.

    The fun also continued into Sunday with plenty more activities, including the funfair, more live music and more wrestling.

    Carnival organiser Ian Perrygrove said: “The Friday night was a fantastic start and we had a steady flow on the Saturday which saw about 4,000 to 5,000 people come along to the park throughout the day.”

    “We have had some fantastic feedback from people about the weekend but I think we’ve got to think about the parade for next year – that needs improving – we need more people to take control of it and make it bigger.

    “People need to understand it is a volunteer-led event, it’s not down to the council.

    “We have, however, already had some people offering to volunteer for 2016 and we need more of that.”

    For more information on the carnival, visit or search for Bromsgrove Carnival on Facebook.

  • Fri 17 Jul 2015

    A NEW recording studio which will help local artists to record their music was launched today (Friday) in Stoke Prior.

    The venture by Creative Design Studios will offer singers and bands a place where they can learn new musical skills and build up their knowledge and experience.

    Studio manager, Tom Moore said: “We are looking to give students a chance to record music in a live studio environment rather than children singing in their bedrooms.”

    CDS will also be a gateway for job opportunities creating several in the editing suite, photography department and voice over sector.

    Having studied in Bromsgrove, Tom is hoping to get involved with local schools and colleges by encouraging students to engage in the music and the media sector.

    The music studio will also create work experience and apprenticeships for local students as well as providing student discounts.

    Tom added: “One of our main aims is to start bringing acts out of London.”

    “We have meticulously thought about every angle to appeal to corporate clients and help our independent clients get the best out of their recording time.”

    The studio’s main aim is to eventually open up a new recording label.

    CDS is located to the south of Bromsgrove, close to the M5 (J5) and M42 (J1).

    It is easily accessible and is set in a private and gated complex with parking space.

    A public launch will be held at CDSfrom 2pm to 6pm next Saturday (July 25) to give people the chance to see the new studio for themselves.

    Everyone is welcome to the event, which will feature live music from local acts, a hog roast and a bar.

    CDS is also supporting the Youth Music charity and cash will be raised for that cause at the public launch.

    For more information, e-mail studio manager Tom at tom [dot] moore [at] creativedesignstudios [dot] co [dot] uk or call on 01527 918618.

  • Thu 2 Jul 2015

    MORE than 9,000 pints of real ale and 3,000 pints of cider were drank at this year’s Bromsgrove Beer and Cider Festival, which turned out to be the best one in the event’s history.

    There were 55 per cent more people on the Friday night, compared with previous years, and the supping was virtually non-stop from 6pm on Thursday (June 25) when the festival opened to 3pm on the Saturday (June 27) when the beer ran out.

    Spokesperson for the event, Tony Colclough, said the festival had become a victim of its own success.

    “We had 30 volunteers on the ale bars on Friday night and ten on the cider bar and they were rushed off their feet.

    “We have to give a lot of credit to them – they worked themselves into the ground.”

    He also praised Bromsgrove Rugby Club, where the event was held.

    “They put on some great entertainment, there were some fantastic acts on.”

    Among them were the locally-based Blackwell Concert Band.

    Speaking about the beer stocks he said contingency plans were put into place and people were able to get drinks from the rugby club’s bars.

    “Because you can’t tell how successful, it is difficult to judge how much you will need – in previous years we have had to throw beer away.”

    He added the group would be meeting to see what other measures could be taken in the future.

    One visitor was Jenny Lehane who came with her husband Tony and friends Karen and Brian Perrygrove.

    Jenny said: “It’s a brilliant event – we always bring the caravan and camp here for the three days.

    “And it looks like we’re going to get the weather for a lovely weekend.”

    The beer of the festival was Fixed Wheel’s Single Speed Rakau, with Red Squirrel Hopfest and Slaters’ Haka joint second.

    Among the top ciders and perries were Clent Cider, Thistly Cross and brews from Gwynty y Draig which provided a cider and a perry.

    This year’s event was a momentous one for the Redditch and Bromsgrove branch of CAMRA which celebrated 40 years of campaigning.

    Brett Laniosh, who is a former RBCAMRA chairman and now a national director for the Campaign for Real Ale, described it as ‘an amazing achievement for the group’.

    He also paid tribute to previous branch chairmen and each one received a bottle of Fortitude – a special beer brewed for the festival by Bromsgrove’s Bird’s Brewery.

    The Worcester-Birmingham and Droitwich Canal Society was chosen as the festival charity in its 200th anniversary year. Funds raised will go towards the Lime Kiln Project in Tardenigge.

    The society’s chairman David Wheeler said: “It’s an honour to have been chosen.

    “We were very pleased, especially as I, myself, live in Bromsgrove.

    “I’m a local lad and I can’t think of a better way of spending a weekend – promoting the canal society and having a few beers or ciders.

    “Real ale and narrowboating go hand in hand,” he added.

    A host of awards were also given out, including the Rocklands Social Club being named the RBCAMRA Club of the Year and Ambridge Brewery’s Jester winning joint best ale of the Redditch Winter Ales Festival.

    John Novak, from the Ambridge Brewery, said: “It was amazing – we have only been going a year and this is our first proper award.

    “It’s something we can now build on.”

  • Thu 2 Apr 2015

    THE COUNTDOWN is under way to the tenth anniversary of Bromsgrove's Artrix, which is due to take place on April 25.

    The centre will play host to a spectacular afternoon and evening of entertainment to mark this magnificent milestone.

    Students from the Heart of Worcestershire College will give two free performances of Quiet Revolution in partnership with Dancefest and Bromsgrove District Council. The shows - at 2.15 pm and 3.40 pm - will be part of the council’s St George’s Day celebrations commemorating the centenary of the First World War.

    Then at 8pm, local schools and community groups will gather on Bromsgrove High Street for the tenth birthday lantern parade. Artrix learning and engagement and Walk the Plank have been working with more than 200 members of the local community, including Sidemoor, Dodford and Meadows First Schools, Amber Support, YMCA Youth Group, HOW College, brownies, guides and Avoncroft Museum to run workshops to produce the large-scale lanterns for the parade.

    Everyone is invited to join the parade which will gather on Bromsgrove High Street at 8pm and then everyone is welcome to make their own battery-powered lanterns to carry.

    At 8.30pm, the lantern parade will leave the High Street for Artrix and at 9pm there will be a free performance of Spellbound by outdoor specialists Walk the Plank on the Artrix terrace.

    Spellbound is a thrilling tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and daring - inspired by Ramayana, an ancient story from India - and created by experts Walk the Plank.

    The performance, at dusk, is suitable for all ages, using shadow theatre with real performers in place of traditional puppetry.

    An original soundtrack, live theatrical narration, lantern procession and sumptuous special effects all add to the performance. Audiences can expect dazzling pyrotechnic display and a spectacular fiery finale, taking traditional theatre into an exciting new format, and giving people the chance to see storytelling in a whole new light.

    Performers use Bharata Natyam – a traditional Indian form of dance that includes sculptural poses which works perfectly with the shadow theatre format and allows the show to stay loyal to its roots. The inventive, captivating method of storytelling will delight the diverse audience on the night.

    Nick Clarke, Spellbound’s artistic director, said: "Spellbound is a timeless tale of good versus evil, of love and of overcoming the odds.

    "As a fantastic traditional piece of storytelling it ticks every box, plus there’re some great characters – from the powerful monkey god to the wicked stepmother."

    He added the original way in which the story was told - with shadow play, puppetry, dancers, music, special effects and much more – added a whole new dimension.’

    Ros Robins, Artrix's interim director said: "It promises to be a wonderful birthday party and a great way to celebrate the first decade of Artrix.

    "We’re hoping as many local people as possible will come along on the 25th and enjoy the celebrations."

    The Spellbound performance is supported by Arts Council England through its Strategic Touring Programme.

    "Artrix would also like to thank Bromsgrove District Council, Saintbury Trust, Elmley Foundation and Heart of Worcestershire College for their support for the tenth birthday celebrations," added Ros.

    Residents are being urged to submit their memories of Artrix - whether it is a show they have seen at the venue or a project or performance they have been involved in there. Those wanting to send in their memories should use #happybirthdayartrix

    The tenth anniversary of Artrix will also see the launch of a new fund-raising campaign. People are being urged to give £10 for ten years, or whatever they can afford.

    Ros said the campaign was to celebrate the centre's first successful decade and to look forward to the next ten years.

    "This is the first fund-raising campaign launched by Artrix during its ten year history and would very much appreciate the public’s support.

    "All donations will go towards supporting our projects with young people, replacing some our equipment and developing a new programme of work for the Studio."

    Donations can be made online at, at the Box Office or via the donation boxes in the foyer.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Thu 2 Apr 2015

    MEMBERS of Bromsgrove Court Leet were joined by more than 40 people at the Housman Statue to commemorate the 156th birthday of the town’s most famous poet.

    The chairman of The Housman Society Jim Page spoke to those gathered last Thursday (March 26).

    In his address, he talked about how good the new paving on the High Street looked and about this year being the 150th anniversary of the birth of AE Housman’s brother Laurence.

    Peter Clague, the new headmaster at Bromsgrove School, was this year’s guest of honour for the day and he read two of Housman’s military poems.

    That provided a poignant moment, especially with the centenary of the First World War.

    It was hoped the new cladding on the statue would be unveiled at the birthday commemoration, but unfortunately that has had to be postponed as it was not completed in time.

    Mr Page said: “That did not detract from what was a wonderful afternoon, remembering AE Housman and his links to Bromsgrove.”

    Those gathered also went to Bromsgrove Council House, Burcot Lane, for a special lunch, hosted by Civic Head John Ruck.

    The annual poetry competition, which is usually held in conjunction with Housman’s birthday commemoration, will now take place before the October half-term.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard