Category Archives: Theatre

Have your say on possible closure of Bloxwich Library and Theatre

Walsall Council is seriously considering, amongst other options, closing all of the Borough’s branch libraries, including Bloxwich Library and Theatre (aka Bookmark Bloxwich) in Elmore Row.   This is due to the swingeing and cruel national government budget cuts being inflicted on the borough.

Amongst the many other possible ‘culture cuts’ (including massive reductions in funding to the New Art Gallery and major cutbacks involving the potential downsizing and moving of Walsall Leather Museum and Walsall Local History Centre in with the Central Library in Lichfield Street), such a closure would be a huge blow to Bloxwich and district both in cultural and educational terms. Continue reading Have your say on possible closure of Bloxwich Library and Theatre

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Bloxwich Councillors bid to save Bloxwich Library and Theatre

Cllrs Allen, Harrison and Follows take a stand outside Bloxwich Library (pic Bloxwich West Intouch)
Cllrs Allen, Harrison and Follows take a stand outside Bloxwich Library (pic Bloxwich West Intouch)

Many Bloxwich people should be well aware by now that, due to the swingeing national government budget cuts being inflicted on many local authorities in England, Walsall Council is seriously considering closing all of the Borough’s branch libraries, including Bloxwich Library and Theatre (aka Bookmark Bloxwich) in Elmore Row.

Amongst the many other possible ‘culture cuts’ (including massive reductions in funding to the New Art Gallery and major cutbacks involving the potential downsizing and moving of Walsall Leather Museum and Walsall Local History Centre in with the Central Library in Lichfield Street), such a closure would be a huge blow to Bloxwich and district both in cultural and educational terms. Continue reading Bloxwich Councillors bid to save Bloxwich Library and Theatre

Bloxwich children star in summer panto this weekend!

Mice

And they sing too! Oh, yes they do!

It may be British summertime, but it’s never to early to take to the stage – and it’s panto-time for local primary schoolchildren.

Youngsters from Elmore Green Primary and St Peter’s RC Primary schools in Bloxwich have magically grown ears and tails to take part in the summer panto run by the Cart Before the Horse community theatre group.

The musical panto ‘Soup from a Sausage Skewer’, based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, aims to be educational and fun, with lots of references to classical works of literature and music. But it’s all carried out with a cast of ‘mice’…

Sausage Skewer Poster

The first two performances, with children from  Elmore Green Primary, are this Sunday, 21 June, at 2pm and 5pm, at Bookmark Theatre, Elmore Row.

The second, on Sunday June 28 at 2pm and 5pm, will include children from St Peter’s RC Church.

Tickets are available from the library on 01922 655900 at £7 adults, £5 concessions, or £15 for a family ticket (max 5 people).

Fanged fun for Vampire fans at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre

Dracula Walks the Night - Count Dracula by moonlight

That legendary fanged fiend of Victorian Gothic literature and countless horror films, Count Dracula, is now making sinister plans to walk the boards at the popular Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre next Saturday afternoon.

And members of the public are cordially invited to witness the bloody return of Bram Stoker’s most famous creation, brought literally to life once again in a unique play by those noted purveyors of Victorian Mystery, Shadowy Suspense and Gothic horror – ‘Don’t Go Into The Cellar’.

Stuart Williams of Bloxwich Library Forum, which manages the Elmore Row, Bloxwich theatre in partnership with Bloxwich Library said:

“Dracula Walks The Night’ sees the Count of the Undead forsake his home in Transylvania to vent his wrath upon the British Empire.

“In true Hammer Horror fashion, this frighteningly effective, interactive show on Saturday 20th July pits the Vampire Count against Van Helsing and Sherlock Holmes in Victorian London. Eerie graveyard vigils, hansom cab chases, near-death misses and fiendish plots a-plenty guarantee audiences classic chills.

“But fear not – this particular production is a specially-arranged matinee only performance, and as we all know, vampires cannot attack in daylight – or can they?  Don’t miss this one-off show in Bloxwich!”

Doors open at 2pm and the play begins at 2.30pm.  Tickets cost just £8 or concessions £6, and are available now from Bloxwich Library in Elmore Row.

Telephone 01922 655900 to book, tickets will also be on sale on the day, subject to availability.

Sexton Blake Strikes Back – at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre!

Sexton Blake Strikes Back Poster

Edwardian London is being held to ransom – and who can rescue the capital from arch-villains ‘The British League of Underhanded Scoundrels, Traitors, Extortionists and Rapscallions?’

Only one man – the world-famous detective Sexton Blake, ‘The Prince of the Penny Dreadfuls’, can save the day!

In Sexton Blake Strikes Back!, the latest live on stage theatrical production by legendary professional theatre company Don’t Go Into The Cellar, presented by Bloxwich Library Forum, theatre-goers can expect derring-do, last-minute escapes, narrow scrapes and fates worse than death in this affectionate homage to the way heroes used to be.

Stuart Williams, Vice Chairman of Bloxwich Library Forum, said:

“Sexton Blake is one of the great literary adventure heroes of the 19th-20th century, standing proudly alongside such mighty figures as Sherlock Holmes, Denis Nayland Smith, Biggles and Hercule Poiroit.

“Created by Harry Blyth in 1893, Sexton Blake adventures appeared in a wide variety of British and international publications (in many languages) from 1893 to 1978, running to over 4,000 stories by some 200 different authors.

“Blake was also the hero of numerous silent and sound films, radio serials and a 1960s ITV television series which many remember fondly.

“Now the legend that is Sexton Blake is coming to Bloxwich, in a play by the invariably excellent Don’t Go Into The Cellar – so adventure, excitement and huge fun can be expected in equal measure!”

Sexton Blake Strikes Back! is live on stage for one night only – this coming Saturday 20th April 2013, at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre, Elmore Row, Bloxwich, Walsall WS3 2HR.

The play starts at 7.30pm.

Ticket prices are £8.00 or £6.00 concessions.  Tickets can be purchased from Bloxwich Library and reserved by telephone on 01922 655900.

Click on the mini-poster at the top of this item for a larger version.

Readings and free books for World Book Night Bloxwich

2013_WBN_Logo

Members of Bloxwich Library Forum are getting ready to offer visitors to the library not just a free book for World Book Night, but the chance to hear readings from selected books and more during the afternoon of Tuesday 23rd April.

In a special informal daytime event at the Bookmark Bloxwich complex in Elmore Row, Bloxwich which will also include book readings by local author Stuart Williams, the Forum will make available, while stocks last, a small selection of free books provided by World Book Night for the event.  And admission is free of charge.

Stuart Williams, who is Vice Chairman of Bloxwich Library Forum, said:

“World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift specially chosen and printed WBN books in their communities to share their love of reading.

“We usually run an evening event on this occasion but this year the Forum decided it would be be more accessible to many to hold an afternoon book giving session combined with readings, especially now the splendid new Bookmark Cafe is open at Bloxwich Library.

“The 23rd of April is also Shakespeare’s birthday and St George’s Day, so what better day to pop into Bloxwich Library for a free book (or to borrow one!), buy a cuppa and a cake and listen to some great stories?”

Readings will take place in Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre between 12.30pm – 1.30pm.  The theatre will be opened into the Bookmark Cafe, which will be open as usual from 10.30am – 2.30pm with a standard menu.  In addition to this the Cafe are serving a St George’s Day menu from 12pm – 2pm.

World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so.  But it is also about more than that: it’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways, through the sharing of stories.  Bloxwich Library Forum and Bloxwich Library are delighted to give the event their support.

Bloxwich Library Forum is a volunteer group of members of the local community who manage the Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre in partnership with Bloxwich Library.

You can download the World Book Night event poster in pdf form via the link below:

World Book Night Poster

For more information about Bloxwich Library:

Bloxwich Library

Amazing evening entertainment at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre

Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre, Elmore Row, Bloxwich

There’s an amazing range of entertainment coming up soon at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre, part of the Bloxwich Library complex in Elmore Row, Bloxwich.

The little theatre with the big heart is such an incredibly versatile venue that just about anything can happen there – and frequently does!

Managed by Bloxwich Library Forum in partnership with Bloxwich Library, the theatre, opened in 1964 and rebuilt in 2009-10 together with Bloxwich Library, the complex being relaunched as Bookmark Bloxwich, is completely reconfigurable and also boasts a Library Cafe, shared with the library during the day and usable as a bar in the evenings when events are on.

Hot evening events on the horizon at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre are listed below – click on each title to view full details on the What’s On Walsall website:

Fri 12 April 2013

Open Mic Night

image for Open Mic Night

Musicians For Life in conjunction with Bookmark Bloxwich Forum invite you to come and play….

Free Entry.  Time 7.30pm doors  8.00pm show.  Email Bruno On open.mic.bookmark@gmail.com  to Book a slot. Normally 15 min or 3 songs.

Sat 20 April 2013

Don’t Go Into The Cellar presents… Sexton Blake

image for Don't Go Into The Cellar - Sexton Blake

The British League of Underhanded Scoundrels, Traitors, Extortionists and Rapscallions holds Edwardian London to ransom in this jolly fine play!

Time: 7.30pm Ticket price: £8.00, £6.00 concession. Tickets can be purchased from Bloxwich Library: 01922 655900.

26 April 2013

Youth Open Mic Night

image for Youth Open Mic Night

A place for young singers, song writers, rappers and musicians to play, jam and try out songs and Rhymes….

Time 6.00pm doors  6.30pm show.  Free Entry.

Call Dan 01922 712069 for info and to book a slot.

Fri 10 May 2013

Open Mic Night

image for Open Mic Night

Musicians For Life in conjunction with Bookmark Bloxwich Forum invite you to come and play.

Time 7.30pm doors  8.00pm show.  Free Entry.  Email Bruno On open.mic.bookmark@gmail.com  to book a slot. Normally 15 min or 3 songs.

Sat 11 May 2013

Vera Van Heeringen

image for Vera Van Heeringen

Debut album from Dutch bluegrass guitarist/singer Vera van Heeringen promises much and delivers in spades.

Tickets £5.00. Call 01922 655900.

See:  www.veravanheeringen.com/_/Welcome.html

Fri 24 May 2013

Youth Open Mic Night

image for Youth Open Mic Night

Bookmark Bloxwich and IYPSS invite you to come and play…

Time 6.00pm doors  6.30pm show.  Free Entry.

Call Dan 01922 712069 for info and to book a slot

image for Don't Go Into The Cellar - Dracula Walks the Night

Count Dracula, has returned to exact a dreadful vengeance on his nemesis, Van Helsing in this show with real bite!

Time: 7.30pm Ticket price: £8.00, £6.00 concession. Tickets can be purchased from Bloxwich Library: 01922 655900.

image for Don't Go Into The Cellar - 'Warnings to the Curious'

Have your spines tingled and your bumps goosed with this atmospheric adaptation of the creepiest Edwardian ghost stories…  Spooky!

Time: 7.30pm Ticket price: £8.00, £6.00 concession. Tickets can be purchased from Bloxwich Library: 01922 655900.

And there’s more…

More events will be added as they are booked – don’t forget to check at Bloxwich Library or on the Bookmark Bloxwich web page:

https://sites.google.com/site/bookmarkbloxwich/

Curtain up for third Walsall Mummer’s Play this weekend!

Click to download poster
Click to download poster

The third in the remarkable series of new Walsall Mummer’s Plays written by local playwright David Calcutt, organised by Walsall Civic Society working with local groups, talented volunteers and Walsall Council and funded by a Heritage Lottery grant – ‘The Lovers and the Pirates’ – is all set for curtain up on its first open air performances this Saturday 16 February at noon, 1.30pm and 3pm in Walsall Marketplace, High Street, Walsall, just a short way down from the ASDA store – with FREE admission!

The successful series – commissioned specially as part of the historic  Walsall Bayard’s Colts Project – has brought a genuine revival of English street theatre to the town – not to mention much mirth, madness, music, mummery and mayhem!

And good weather or no, you’ll get a chance to see the play this weekend, for a special indoor performance is also taking place within the bounds of Bloxwich, at our very own Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre in Elmore Row, this Sunday 17 February at 2pm and 7pm.  Tickets for the Bloxwich performance cost just £5 – to book, call 01922 655900.

For more information, call Glen Buglass on 01922 653113, or check out the Bayard’s Colts Project website: http://www.bayardscolts.org.uk/

A Christmas Carol comes to Leamore!

Mr Scrooge reads A Christmas Carol (courtesy Pamela Raith Photography)
Mr Scrooge reads A Christmas Carol (courtesy Pamela Raith Photography)

A much-loved Victorian Christmas classic will be reminding people of a bygone era when it comes to Leamore this week – and it looks like being a real Christmas cracker!

The dramatic reading of A Christmas Carol will be staged at Forest Arts Centre in Hawbush Road on Wednesday 5 December as part of a “rural tour” by the popular New Perspectives Theatre Company.

Charles Dickens took to the stage in 1853 to read from his famous work and it became one of the most talked about theatrical experiences of the Victorian era.

His series of readings included extracts from many of his most famous works, and New Perspectives is marking the bicentenary of the literary great’s birth by recreating the magic of that first reading.

Julie Simmonds, Walsall Council operations officer, said:

“This is an opportunity to experience one of the most famous Christmas stories ever written.

“With a mixture of heart-warming and spine-tingling moments, it promises to be a very special evening.”

The 7.30pm show is recommended for adults and older children and tickets cost £5.

They are available from Forest Arts Centre or at the venue 30 minutes before the show, subject to availability.

Forest Arts Centre Box Office is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am-4.30pm and can be contacted on 0845 111 2898.

Devilish treat draws crowds to Walsall High Street

Walsall Civic Society Chairman Tony Kemshall (left) meets Mayor of Walsall Cllr Dennis Anson, Pioneer Magazine editor Gill Thomas and Mayoress Mrs Kate Anson.
Walsall Civic Society Chairman Tony Kemshall (left) meets Mayor of Walsall Cllr Dennis Anson, Pioneer Magazine editor Gill Thomas and Mayoress Mrs Kate Anson.

Shoppers, families and visitors to Walsall joined the Mayor of Walsall Cllr Dennis Anson (pictured, above) on Saturday in enjoying and applauding a traditional Black Country street theatre treat with a Walsall edge.

Walsall Civic Society’s second new “Mummer’s Play” The Alchemist and the Devil was penned by top local playwright David Calcutt and performed by a talented cast of local volunteers and project workers as part of the society’s Heritage Lottery-Funded Bayard’s Colts Project.

David Calcutt gets to grips with a reproduction Bayard's Colt.
David Calcutt gets to grips with a reproduction Bayard’s Colt.

The play, which was directed by Glen Buglass and performed in the open air on Walsall’s ancient High Street, offered both history and hilarity, music and mayhem – and delivered all this and more in spades!  From a mad French Alchemist (wizard), capering minions and a decidedly saucy comedy Sister Dora to scary spooks, a personal appearance from The Lord of the Flies and his inevitable defeat by the mighty Bayard and the Black Country spirit of Walsall, the quite literally all-singing and all-dancing show led by narrator ‘The Tat Man’ captivated and amazed hundreds on the High Street throughout the day.

Pot calling the kettle Black Country - the Froggy Alchemist gets some stick from Walsall folk
Pot calling the kettle Black Country – the Froggy Alchemist gets some stick from Walsall folk.
Saucy Sister Dora camps it up with a colleague...
Saucy Sister Dora camps it up with a colleague…

The original Bayard’s Colts, which are held by Walsall Museum in Lichfield Street, are a unique collection of seventeen clubs which used to be carried behind the Mayor in ceremonial processions at the openings of markets and fairs and on other civic occasions.

Bayard's Colts in Walsall Guild Hall, 1921 (Walsall Local History Centre).
Bayard’s Colts in Walsall Guild Hall, 1921 (Walsall Local History Centre).

At one time they were kept in the Guild Hall when it was the police court and the seat of local government, then later they were mounted on a wall at Walsall Magistrate’s Court for many decades, until recently, when the project was initiated by Walsall Civic Society working in partnership with Walsall Museum, Walsall Council and other partners.

Walsall’s colts, which are unique, are at least 300 years old but their exact age, origins and how they got their name are shrouded in mystery – though new research is now taking place and it is believed that there are links with Carolingian legends of the mighty horse Bayard and his Thousand Colts.

The latest in the series of four special Mummer’s Plays commissioned by Walsall Civic Society (the first was Robin Hood and The Giant, unveiled in August) was performed on Saturday at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

The Mayor said in advance of the event:

“I watched another play earlier this year and it was a real crowd puller – the Walsall Civic Society is doing the project proud.

“We should seize the opportunity to celebrate Walsall’s heritage and history at every turn and the Bayard’s Colts certainly have an intriguing past.”

Tony Kemshall, project director added: “This vibrant and colourful street theatre not only brings something unique to the town but has also helped start the campaign to highlight the Walsall story Of the Bayard’s Colts.

“Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and key local partners the Bayard’s Colts are a strand of local history that we can all be very proud of.”

Devil may care - Beelzebub shows his ugly mush in Walsall High Street!
Devil may care – Beelzebub shows his ugly mush in Walsall High Street!

MISSED IT? IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

There is also a special indoor showcase event highlighting the project and including a live performance of The Alchemist and The Devil at The Peformance Hub at University of Wolverhampton Walsall campus, Gorway Road, Walsall, on Saturday 24 November.

Performances will be at 2.30pm and 7.30pm and the Mayor will attend the 2.30pm show.  Tickets cost £5 and proceeds go to help support the project.

To book tickets for the 24th November shows, follow this link for more information, telephone 07885 317491 or go direct to http://performance hub.eventbrite.co.uk

WALSALL MUSEUM TALK 4th DECEMBER

The story of the Colts themselves, as far as is known, will be revealed in a special public talk at Walsall Museum on 4th December.  The talk will explore the theories about the possible origins and age of the Bayard’s Colts, as well as presenting what is known of their history from documentary and other sources.

It will be presented by Jennifer Thomson, Community History Curator at Walsall Museum, who has been undertaking research into their history.  People attending the talk will be able to view the original Colts for themselves and contribute their own ideas to the debate on their origins.

The talk, entitled ‘The Curious History of the Bayard’s Colts’, takes place on Tuesday 4th  December from 2-3pm.  It costs £1 per person to attend and advance booking is essential as places are limited. Please contact the Museum on 01922 653116 or email museum@walsall.gov.uk to reserve your place.

MORE PICTURES

To see many more pictures of Saturday’s first performance of The Alchemist and The Devil, check out The Bloxwich Telegraph’s Flickr Album via this link.