Volunteers’ Week 2016: A Big Thank You to You All

With Volunteers Week upon us, who could ask for a better time to celebrate the invaluable contribution that our Volunteer Promoters make to their local communities?

Over the last 12 months, our promoters have held over 500 live shows and film screenings throughout Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

We would like to say a big thank you to the over 3600 volunteers who make up the voluntary organisations across the Midlands whose hard work and commitment has allowed high quality, professional theatre, music and dance to be performed right on their doorstep!

Our Volunteer Promoters have collectively spent a total of over 20,000 volunteer hours supporting shows throughout the Midlands.

Team Photo copy1

The 2015/16 season has now drawn to a close but the promoters and Live & Local team are busy preparing for the Autumn/Winter 2016/17 season.

Keep your eyes peeled for the new season launch in September when we will have lots of new, entertaining and exciting shows for you.

If you’re looking for an event to go to over the summer, there will be film screenings taking place with our Big Picture Show rural cinema network across Staffordshire and Warwickshire. Click here to see what’s on.

And if you would like to get involved as a local Volunteer Promoter, bringing affordable live entertainment to the heart of your community, please click here.

Thank you for your support and have a fantastic summer!

Volunteers’ week is a UK-wide campaign to promote the role of volunteering. It is an annual event which takes place at the start of June and celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. It is run by National Council For Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Posted in Big Picture Show, Friends, Funders, NRTF and other schemes, Promoters and Communities, Shows | Leave a comment

Wychavon Community Recognition Awards are a WOW!

One of our Shindig promoters, Shan, was shortlisted for the Arts Recognition Award at the annual Wychavon Community Recognition Awards that took place on Tuesday 15 March. This event gives volunteers the chance to gain well deserved recognition for their efforts in helping to make their community a better place to live and work.

Award 3Shan organises arts events for her local area at Ombersley Memorial Hall in Worcestershire. In March 2015 she promoted Eyes Front by Story Shop Production, a show looking at the role of popular music in wartime. This was a great success and packed out the hall with 94 ticket sales. Her hard work and commitment has paid off with near capacity audiences for all six of the shows that she has received through Shindig since October 2012!

Read all about Shan’s time at the Wychavon Community Awards here:

“I was delighted to be nominated by Live and Local for the Art Recognition Award as part of the 2015 Wychavon Community Recognition Awards. I was one of 3 people shortlisted for the award and it was very nice to have the supporting information written about me by Live and Local read out by Councillor Gerry O’Donnell who was presenting the awards in conjunction with Councillor Val Wood.

Peopleton Village Hall was beautifully decorated. The photographs may not demonstrate just how fabulous the decorations all looked in bright blue, white and silver. It really was a party atmosphere with lots of bright lights and balloons and a very nice table lay out. We were all very well received by the friendly Wychavon Community Team and made to feel very special, and the buffet that was provided was superb! 

Award 2Councillor Gerry O’Donnell, Executive Board Member for Community Development, Culture and Sport and Chairman of the Council, did a superb job of presenting the awards in a friendly and humorous way that kept us all entertained. I was surprised and very impressed by the vast amount of fantastic work that is undertaken by volunteers across Wychavon and it was a real pleasure to learn so much about what was being done through the award nominations. 

The winner of the Art Recognition Award was John Dudley – clearly a most worthy winner. John has been responsible for organising all of the music events/festivals in Droitwich for the last 14 years and he told us that several of the artists who started their singing career at such events in Droitwich have gone on to achieve fame and success.

 Thank you once again for nominating me.”

 The next production at Ombersley Memorial Hall will be Songs from the Radio Ballads by Jez Lowe coming to the hall on Thursday 14 April, 8pm and tickets are selling fast! For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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Coming soon the 2016 Live & Local Promoter Meetings….

The 2016 Live & Local Promoter Meetings promise to be better than ever! After visiting Village Ventures, Centre Stage & Lincolnshire Rural & Community Touring Promoter Meetings last year, we felt very inspired to jazz ours up a bit. This year you can expect one brilliant band performance, a thrilling theatre or dance piece, a video about the new menu and a BIGGER, more delicious buffet!

The first Live & Local Promoter Meeting is on Sunday 13 March, starting at 5pm (doors open 4.30pm) at Weston under Wetherley Village Hall (Warwickshire), where Holy Moly & the Crackers, a seven-piece ‘gypsy folk ‘n’ roll’, whose re-imagined traditional folk/blues songs, evoke essences of whiskey and guns on modern punk folk, will kick off the proceedings. The theatre group for the evening is The Foundry Group who will be performing a scene from their show, Gilbert (No Sullivan), a rollicking adaptation of three outrageous, absurd and hilarious stories by the master of Victorian black comedy Sir W. S. Gilbert.

The next meeting is on Monday 14 March, starting at 7pm (doors open 6.30pm) at Bramshall and Loxley Parish Hall (Staffordshire) where the hall will again be brought to life by Holy Moly & the Crackers and The Foundry Group.


Prommters mingling at the Live & Local Staffordshire Promoter Meeting in 2015

On Wednesday 16 March, the Derbyshire Promoter Meeting will be taking place at Bakewell Town Hall, starting at 7pm (doors open 6.30pm), where we’ll be having some more fun with Holy Moly & the Crackers and the dance company Spiltmilk Dance will perform a piece from their show Blast From the Past, a glitzy, fun, and sometimes silly, dance performance/ gameshow, jam-packed with chart toppers, fads and fashions from 1952 to the present day!

Finally, on Thursday 17 March, we’re heading to Great Witley Village Hall in Worcestershire, 7pm start (doors open 6.30pm), where Holy Moly & the Crackers will be delighting us with their music for the last time and the theatre company Anonymous is a Women, will perform a snippet from their drama, Think of England.  Set in the summer of 1943, Bett and Vera travel the country hosting tea dances for RAF fighter pilots stationed nearby. What the locals don’t know is that the dance is a cover for the girls’ real purpose.

The Promoter Meetings will give you the change to find out what’s been going on at Live & Local over the past year, along with some top tips for selling shows and a bit of Facebook ‘how to’. The new menu will be launched and this year there will be a video featuring some of the different shows to accompany it.

If you are unable to make any of these dates, you can come to any of the Promoter Meetings in the East Midlands, which the fabulous After Hours Quintet will be performing.  The dates and times for the East Midlands Promoter Meetings are as follows:

  • Sunday 20 March at Woodhall Spa Village Hall in Lincolnshire, starts 5pm (doors open 4.30pm)
  • Monday 21 March at Rolleston Village Hall in Nottinghamshire, starts 7pm (doors open 6.30pm)
  • Wednesday 23 March at Queniborough Village Hall in Leicestershire, starting at 7pm (doors open 6.30pm)

If you’ve not yet RSVP’d please email our Company Administrator Kirsty on kirsty@liveandlocal.org.uk

We hope you can join us and for those who are coming, we look forward to seeing you there!


Posted in Derbyshire, NRTF and other schemes, Promoters and Communities, Staffordshire, Uncategorized, Warwickshire | 1 Comment

Discover our new Chedham’s Stories project…

Live & Local’s Development & Projects Manager, Chris Davis, and Warwickshire & Worcestershire Fieldworker, Julia Thompson, have been working since November 2015 to bring to fruition two new exciting projects for Warwickshire.  We’re eager to share our news about the brilliant new projects with you and Julia has written this weeks blog post to tell you more about what she and Chris have been up to…..

In August we met with Lucky Lowe, a volunteer from Chedham’s Yard in Wellesbourne and we began to think about how Live & Local could work with heritage sites and most importantly Chedham’s. Over the last few months we continued to brew ideas and we are now happy to announce our two new projects, Discover: Warwickshire’s Story Trail and most importantly Discover: Chedham’s Stories.


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Discover: Chedham’s Stories is a pilot project for Discover: Warwickshire’s Story Trail, a mobile application which offers a new insight into heritage sites in Warwickshire through stories, songs and reminiscences. Chedham’s Yard, the pilot site for the project, will partner with Live & Local to bring this idea to life.

The project is being supported by Warwickshire County Council’s Tourism Event Funding, which has awarded £10,000 for Discover: Chedham’s Stories.

Over the next nine months local musicians (and Live & Local regulars) Kel Elliott & Her Three Man Orchestra will collect stories from volunteers and local residents. Kel has been busy conducting her first interviews and has already met with four local residents and is now feeling inspired for writing the first song.

As the project curators we will develop these stories, songs and reminiscences into an innovative guide for visitors to use on their smart phones whilst visiting Chedham’s Yard.


Keep an eye out for more blog posts or join our Discover: Chedham’s group on Facebook to find out how we’re getting on with the project!

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Julia’s summer visit to ‘Jonah & The Whale’ by Talking Birds……

Our latest post is brought to you from our Warwickshire & Worcestershire Fieldworker, Julia, who visited a festival in Worcestershire to see a wonderful piece of pop up performance called ‘The Whale’ as part of the Shindig scheme…

The Whale by Talking Birds

‘The Whale’ by Talking Birds

This summer we had a series of special pop up events across Worcestershire as part of the Shindig programme. You will have read about Katy’s trip to our first pop up at Bromsgrove Festival with the Travelling Treasury. Since then we’ve been to Bromsgrove Street Theatre, Batchley Street Theatre, Salt Festival in Droitwich and the Plum Festival in Pershore. I was lucky enough to go along to Batchley Street Theatre on Tuesday 4 August.

The festival took place on Batchley Recreation Ground just next to the pond in the heart of the estate and for this event Shindig provided ‘The Whale’ by Talking Birds. I organised the booking of ‘The Whale’ for the pop up’s but had never actually seen it, so I was quite excited to finally go and visit it!

‘The Whale’ is an immersive theatre space for around 2 – 4 people (although we did squeeze in 8 nursery children) in the shape of a whale, made mostly of aluminium & magic beans, with one performer inside. Talking Birds performed two shows, lasting 5 minutes each. The first one, ‘Jonah’, is for adults and older children and the second show, ‘Pilchard the Cat’, is for younger children. I was lucky enough to see both shows!

The story of Jonah is set at sea and she’s sending a letter to the ‘sexiest man on earth’. Jonah is stuck on a word for her letter and it needs to rhyme with regret. She asks me to suggest a word and I gave forget. Jonah is also only allowed to write 40 words in her letter but she’d written 41, so she sang the letter to me, so I could help her choose a word to remove. At the end of the play Jonah folded the letter into the shape of a whale and gave it to me and told me that I’m to give it to the ‘sexiest man on earth’, if I see him. Well, I still have that little whale, but I’ll keep a look out for Jonah’s sexiest man!

For my second turn in ‘The Whale’ I was then told the story of Mrs Jonah and how she has lost her cat, Pilchard, who is magical and Mrs Jonah went on to tell us why. One night during a terrible storm Pilchard ran out into the sea. The storm continued for three days and Mrs Jonah thought her cat was gone forever. When the storm ended, Pilchard came out of the sea and had made it safe for everyone to go into. To help find the cat Mrs Jonah gave me a map which was folded into a whale.

Both of the shows were very sweet, short and simple. It felt really magical and inclusive inside, as it was just you, your friends and family enjoying the performance. The highlight of the day for me was seeing so many different people visiting ‘The Whale’, from families to teenage boys and a children’s nursery. At the end of the day 137 people had enjoyed a show!

I’ve kept my map whale shaped map, which Jonah gave me to help me find cats, as I’m going to give it to my new nephew Harri, who was born on the same day of the festival, while I was visiting ‘The Whale’!

I look forward to writing another blog post for you again soon!


‘The Whale’ is by Talking Birds

Batchely Street Festival was by Redditch Borough Council

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Warwickshire Showcase kick starts the Autumn/Winter 2015 season

In celebration of the Live & Local Autumn/Winter season launch, Hatton Park Village Hall played host to our Warwickshire Showcase on Saturday 3rd October.

Northumberland Theatre Company production of A Wife or the Gallows, and other Telling Tales

Northumberland Theatre Company production of
A Wife or the Gallows, and other Telling Tales


The Live & Local team, volunteer promoters, funders from local authorities, a representative from the Arts Council England, Live & Local Friends and board members joined village residents of Hatton Park to enjoy a performance of A Wife or the Gallows and other Telling Tales by Northumberland Theatre Company.

Elaine Kemp and members of the Hatton Park Women’s Institute put together a delightful spread of nibbles and drinks for members of the local community and guests of Live & Local to enjoy before the performance and during the interval.

There was a great turn out and a buzzing atmosphere as all the different people who make rural touring in Warwickshire possible came together to discuss their experiences and to enjoy a professional show.

Cast member playing the harp

Cast member playing the harp

A Wife or the Gallows tells six comical and bawdy stories, in the style of Chaucer’s classic Canterbury Tales. The variety of stories kept the audience entertained all evening and the performance really showcased the impressive multi-roling ability of the actors. The use of music, song and a talented harpist made the stories come to life.

It was a great evening of entertainment with storytelling, music, song and plenty of humour – there were lots of chuckles throughout the course of the show!

We should like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended for making the showcase such a wonderful evening.

Check out our website liveandlocal.org.uk to find out more and have a look at the exciting events coming to your local area this season.

The audience anticipating the start of the show

The audience anticipating the start of the show

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The brilliantly funny Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain is coming to villages across Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire……

Theatre company, Fol Espoir, are touring their show Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain with Live & Local/Shindig. Inspired by the 1942 pamphlet given to GIs on their way to Blighty, the show takes the audience back to the British home front, where two American officers have been charged with explaining British life to their recently arrived countrymen. The problem is, they’ve only just arrived themselves!

We got in touch with Fol Espoir’s Artistic Director, John Walton, to have a Q&A about the show and the company……..

American_sm_britain_020Why did you choose to adapt this 1942 pamphlet for the stage?
I stumbled upon the Instructions in Waterstone’s a few years ago, and I’ve been wanting to make a show based on them ever since. They’re such an endearing and loving snapshot of the country at a unique moment in its history. At the same time, they just seemed perfect for comic exploration.

How true have you kept to the original instructions?
It’s always tricky to make something theatrically interesting yet still true to the source material. When we adapted Churchill’s auto-biography into Winston On the Run we knew it was more important to keep to the spirit than the actual letter of his words. It’s the same with the Instructions. Fortunately Dr Samuel Fanous – the force behind the Oxford University Bodleian Library’s decision to re-publish the instructions – came along to our work-in-progress performance and loved it, so we must be doing something right!

American_sm_britain_061What were your inspirations when making the show?
I grew up adoring Dad’s Army, and that kind of tongue-in-cheek nostalgia is definitely at the heart of the show. I also have some very close American friends, have travelled lots in the US, and used to work as a tour guide for Americans in London. There’s something so wonderful about their attitude to life, which is so completely different to our own; I wanted to explore those differences. In addition, as I was doing my research on the period, I was constantly moved by the tales of bravery and fortitude exhibited by the men and women of that period. Our show is very funny, but I would be devastated if people thought it was disrespectful.

American_sm_britain_043You started work on the show in November 2014. What has been the journey of this production?
We always knew that this show would tour to a mix of urban and rural venues, so one of the key aims was to develop the show in residence at a local village hall. The Theatre Chipping Norton helped us find a host venue, and we spent two weeks in Steeple Aston, meeting residents, hearing their stories of the war, exploring the local history and visiting the nearby USAF base. We had a brilliant time, and the experience fed directly into the show. Also, early on we had a couple of ‘work-in-progress’ performances, which helped us test ideas and see what was working. I find it impossible to make a show without trialling versions in front of an audience. They tell you everything you need to know. Then it was just a case of refining what we had and trying to make it as funny as possible.

American_sm_britain_021What attracts you, as a director, to comedy?
Much as I adore to laugh, I used to think there was something a little cheap about comedy, as if it wasn’t a quite grown-up enough thing to spend one’s life making. Fortunately I’ve got over that, mainly because I think there’s so much misery in the world, and if I can bring a little joy and fun, then that’s a pretty amazing contribution. Also, as a comedy director, my job is essentially just to sit there while a group of actors try and make me giggle. It’s not a bad way to spend my time!

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Don’t miss Instructions for American Servicemen In Britain by Fol Espoir at the following venues:

Mon 12 Oct, 7:30pm at Heanor Baptist Church, 117 Derby Rd, DE75 7QL
Tickets: £9.50 Standard / £7.50 OAP or Student
Box Office: 01773 718 676

Tues 13 Oct, 7:30pm at Pinxton Village Hall, 3 Kirkstead Road, NG16 6NA
Tickets: £8.50 Full Price / £7 Unwaged
Box Office: 01773 580 046

Wed 14 Oct, 7:30pm at Anslow Village Hall, Main Road, DE13 9QE
Tickets: £8.50
Box Office: 01283 814 113

Fri 16 Oct, 7:30pm at Stoke Bliss and Kyre Village Hall
Bromsyard Road, WR15 8RS

Tickets: £8.50 Full Price / £6.50 Under 16
Box Office: 01885 410 588

Sat 17 Oct, 7:30pm at Marchington Village Hall, The Square, ST14 8LH
Tickets: £8.50 Standard / £7 Under 16
Box Office: 01283 820 583

Mon 19 Oct, 7:30pm at Pattingham Village Hall, The High Street, WV6 7BB
Tickets: £9 Standard / £8 Senior Citizen or Students in Full Time Education
Box Office: 01902 700 586

Posted in Derbyshire, Performers, Shows, Staffordshire | Leave a comment