This year, Alrewas Live & Local came of age, celebrating 21 successful years. Promoter Richard Evans tells us what it’s been like…
Back in 1998, the group, originally named Alrewas Arts, was founded by a villager with a vision, the late Wendy Jones. Wendy’s dream was to introduce more community art and culture to the village and Live & Local – with its raison d’etre of helping rural communities like ours to enjoy first-class performances within our own environs – was the perfect vehicle.
Not only does Live & Local find the acts, but it also offers help and support in subsidising and promoting them. Thanks to Live & Local and the financial support of local authorities and the Arts Council over the past 21 years, we have brought nearly 50 fantastic acts to this small village on the banks of the Trent, five miles north of Lichfield.
The first show was called ‘Big Family Night Out’, followed by Caliche, a superb Latin American band playing music from the Andes. The musical acts have ranged from the legendary Fairport Convention founder Ashley Hutchings to the Licensed to Trill-The Opera Dudes, the groovy Dr Teeth, Roaring 20s swing band The After Hours Quintet, jazz superstars Budapest Café Orchesta, the magnificent Men in General, virtuoso guitarist Eduardo Niebla and, most recently, the Carrivick Sisters, to mention a few.
We have also hosted some incredible dance and drama productions, including the dynamic Ginny Davis with her hilarious ‘Ten Days that Shook the Kitchen’, the fabulous Old Dance School, Richard Derrington with his ‘Shakespeare’s Other Anne’, singer/broadcaster Isla Sinclair’s ‘Eyes Front’ – a combination of live performance and film clips – and Xolisile’s Song, a stunning visual feast of dance, song, storytelling and South African music.
Apart from one year when it was being renovated, all the performances have taken place in Alrewas Village Hall. The Hall itself represents a perfect marrying of the old and the new. Opened in 1911 to house meetings of the Earl of Lichfield’s Lodge of The Oddfellows friendly society, it still has its original large stage, beamed ceiling and high windows but since a recent major refurbishment boasts all the comforts of modern toilet facilities, a reception area, bar/kitchen as well as an additional function room.
Over the years, it has become a bustling centre for numerous local groups like the pre-school nursery, dance and exercise classes, the drama group, a village cinema, the parish council, Alrewas Arts Festival and the Village Hall Committee which voluntarily keeps the place shipshape. It’s also a popular venue for fundraising events like fashion shows, auctions, musical evenings, comedy nights, wine and cheese evenings, as well as public meetings, private parties and, of course, our Live & Local gigs.
Buy tickets to see Bonfire Radicals at Alrewas Village Hall on Sun 24th November 2019 here!