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On Saturday 26th August, from 12 noon until 4pm, The Witham Arts Centre in Barnard Castle are holding a Beer and Busk afternoon to celebrate live acoustic music and local ale.  A fundraisier for The Witham, local musicians are performing in the Café Bar to raise money to support the venue as a whole.

This is one of many initiatives The Witham are holding help raise much-needed funds for the arts centre, a place devoted to offering everyone access to the arts. As a venue with a love of folk and roots music, and with previous success of community music busking events, Beer and Busk afternoon offers an excellent chance to sit back and enjoy live music with the added attaction of ale sampling!

With musicians to include local youth folk ensemble, Cream Tees, much-loved open mic specialist Malcolm Elsbury and authentic trad-folk trio, Over the Yardam, visitors to the café can enjoy the acoustic music throughout the afternoon.

Supporting the event is Danny McColl, owner and brewer at Teesdale based, McColl’s Brewery. Danny will be bringing along a range of beers for sampling and tasting. The brewery is Upper Teesdales first brewery in a generation and produces quality beer with 100% British ingredients with a view to producing experimental, seasonal and alternative beers in the fuutre. Passionate about sharing techniques and product information, customers will most definiely appreciate hearing from Danny about the magic behind his products on the day.

 

The Witham’s usual beer selection from Wylam Brewery and Allendale Brewery, plus tasty homemade fare in the café will be the icing on the cake for a perfect afternoon of local music making. Visitors can also take part in a raffle where prizes include the chance to win a package of quality beers thanks to McColl's Brewery, as well as tickets for folk gigs Lady Maisery and Blazin’ Fiddles in the autumn.

Find out more from The Witham’s website at  www.thewitham.org,uk and find the event on Facebook.

Trailblazers of Celtic Dance Music Peatbog Faeries come to The Witham

 

Taking traditional Scottish music and bringing it fresh-faced and breathless into the 21st century.

"Welcome to the weird but undoubtedly wonderful world of The Peatbog Faeries, Skye's finest, where you should always expect the unexpected. Gloriously unpredictable, a band to treasure."    fRoots

Following the release of their latest album Blackhouse this legendary band will once more be back on the road in 2017 to delight audiences at The Witham in Barnard Castle on Thursday 10th August 2017.

Hailing from the Isle of Skye, the Peatbog Faeries are the figurehead trailblazers of the Celtic Dance Music renaissance. Drawing upon a dazzling myriad of influences from traditional jigs and reels through jazz, hip hop, reggae and more, they take traditional Scottish music and bring it fresh-faced and breathless into the 21st century. 

They are Peter Morrison (pipes and whistles), Ross Couper (fiddle), Tom Salter (guitar), Innes Hutton (bass, percussion) Graeme Stafford (keyboards) and Stuart Haikney (drums).

They have toured the world taking their inventive and unique brand of music and light show to audiences far and wide, never failing to fill the floor and delight the crowd.

This is high octane Celtic dance music as you’ve never heard it before.  Be prepared to dance!

“Nothing prepares you for the high octane music of the Peatbog Faeries. Powerful melodies are dextrously pumped out with a smart degree of techno attitude, while cross-rhythms ricochet over a heavy bass that hits you forcefully like a massive heart beat.”  The Scotsman

“Imagine The Orb meeting a ceilidh band in the mind of Irvine Welsh. This is it! Billy Nasty may have mixed pipes and dance on the decks but the Peatbog Faeries can play it live and it blew the audience away.”  Edinburgh Evening News

For tickets, head to www.thewitham.org.uk, call The Witham Box Office on 01833 631107 or pop into the arts centre in Barnard Castle, open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

The Witham launches Magic of Illustration exhibition, bringing books to life, with characters and drawings by local and nationally celebrated artists and illustrators in the gallery from Thursday 20 July – Saturday 12 August 2017. 

With illustrations from 1970s to the current day, visitors can experience the journey of the illustrator when developing a children’s book, from the initial sketches and story boards to the completed published book. This exhibition will reveal all the hard work and creativity that is required to bring characters to life!

The exhibitions will showcase a range of inspirational works by six illustrators, all living in, or from the North. This includes original works by renowned children’s illustrator, Linda Birch, the illustrator of the much-loved Bagpuss series, as well as creator of the Simon and the Witch, Jackanory and more than 150 other books including Conker, by Warhorse author Michael Morpurgo, which won an award in Children’s Books of the Year, and Who Shot Queen Victoria? by Horrible Histories author Terry Deary.

Also exhibiting is Stuart Trotter, an experienced illustrator, author and designer who has worked on family favourites from classic titles to Disney characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Wallace and Gromit, Noddy, Thomas the Tank Engine, Topsy and Tim, Kipper, Postman Pat, and is now the author and illustrator of Rupert Bear for Egmont’s Rupert Bear Annual.

Also bringing his beautiful contemporary illustrations is Matthew Swan, a painter and cartoonist based in London having studied at Edinburgh College of Art. His comic 'Parsley Girl: Carrots' was nominated for the Young People's Comic Award 2016.

The Witham are delighted to welcome Sharron Bates, a freelance artist and illustrator who lives and works in County Durham. A recent graduate from Cleveland College of Art & Design, Sharron exhibits her work in both Britain and internationally and will be bringing her story boards and illustrations for her book, Where’s Brian? Sharron is also bringing a children’s illustration workshop to The Witham on Wednesday 9th August.

The Magic of Illustration also includes the illustrator, Liz Million, who is from Darlington and famed for her popular books Be Quiet Belinda and Not So Silly Sausage, and will be at Barnard Castle library for an Illustration workshop will be leading story and illustration events at libraries across County Durham next week.

Cumbrian artist Catherine Beaumont is the final illustrator with beautiful watercolours to adds an element of beautiful fantasy to the Magic of Illustration exhibition, inspired by Fairy tales, myths and legends.

Come to enjoy the Magic of Illustration Exhibition from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday (free admission) or call on 01833 631107. You can also email info@thewitham.org.uk for more information.

 

Cumbrian Printmakers, an exhibition which shows off a huge assortment of printmaking techniques is at The Witham from Thursday 22th June to Saturday 15 July 2017.

Open from 10 am - 4 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, the Cumbrian Printmakers Exhibition will offer the opportunity to find out about the various processes behind the work of over 15 professional artists who make prints using techniques ranging from collagraph, lino, cyanotype, screen printing and etching as well as printing onto textiles and into ceramics.

Cumbria Printmakers is a charity working to champion printmaking through exhibitions and outreach activities to make printmaking accessible for the wider community.  The network of artists exhibits together a huge diversity of work and styles and promote an understanding of the different methods of printmaking through clearly explained written information, photographs and by displaying the tools and materials involved.

Professional artists involved include printmaker, Sarah Robley, who takes inspiration from the wildlife of the Lake District and Folk Art as well as her previous research into Medieval Studies to create minimalist work incorporating linocutting techniques.  Penny Hunt, a painter and printmaker will display her ceramics which capture the atmosphere and elements of our wild landscape, especially the Western Dales. Contemporary printmaker and landscape artist, Mark Pearce works from his home studio on the shores of the Ravenglass Estuary and will be displaying his striking and vibrant prints based on the stunning views of the surrounding Lake District fells and sea.

The Witham are working with Cumbria Printmakers to deliver a series of introductory printmaking workshops throughout the summer and autumn to include screen printing, monoprint, and bookmaking. Each day long workshop will involve working closely with the artists to produce individual finished pieces, learning about specific techniques along the way. Workshops cost £50 and all materials are included.  For more information about the series, visit the workshop and classes page on The Witham’s website.

 

Come to enjoy the Cumbria Printmakers Exhibition from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday (free admission) or call on 01833 631107. You can also email info@thewitham.org.uk for more information. For future exhibitions and more information on The Gallery at The Witham, please head to www.thewitham.org.uk and select Opportunities. 

On Friday 16 June at 8pm, Nancy Kerr, one of the best-known and most experienced folk singers in the country will be performing at The Witham Arts Centre with multi-instrumentalist and session player in demand, James Fagan. Admired as one of the most professional and talented duos on the folk circuit, together they will bring their outstanding musicianship, a lifelong grounding in traditional singing and instrumental playing and acclaimed compositions to Barnard Castle’s much-loved folk venue.

Nancy and James are renowned for creating a visceral chemistry with their experienced partnership and have received many accolades throughout their career having won the inaugural Horizon Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2000, including being the first ever recipients of the Best Duo Award, which they won in 2003, and again in 2011. Nancy also owns the 2015 Folk Singer of the Year Award, along with Best Group and best Album in 2014 with her work with respected band, The Full English.

Also on offer prior to the gig is The Witham’s intimate Supper Club experience – a delicious, homemade pasta bake, with a sweet treat and a glass of wine or juice in good company in the creative surroundings of the art centre . The Witham can easily cater for special dietary requests. For more information and tickets, visit the website: www.thewitham.org.uk or call the box office on 01833 631107, 10am – 4pm, Tues – Sat. You can also call into The Witham at 3 Horse Market, Barnard Castle.

On Saturday 10th June, 2pm, The Witham Arts Centre in Barnard Castle is showing a recorded performance of Peter Pan, Sally Cookson’s wonderfully inventive production captured live at the National Theatre.

A delight for children and adults alike, the acclaimed show is captivating and funny, staying true to JM Barrie’s original story. Filled with all the famous characters, children will revel in the magical delights of Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, the Pirates, the Mermaids, Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily.

Having been very well-reviewed during its run at the National Theatre earlier this year, the show has received admiration for a Neverland staged as an urban adventure playground with contemporary and refreshing twists with visually dramatic scenes.

Those with a head for heights and flying high can begin their soaring entertainment at TCR Hub. The bustling community centre is offering drop in sessions for people to experience the thrill of jumping off their high Power Fan. Sessions are between 10.30am and 12.30pm, before the screening of Peter Pan at The Witham. There is a lower limit of 5 years of age.

Tickets for the show at The Witham are available via the box office, 01833 631107 and website, www.thewitham.org.uk priced at £12 adult, £8 concessions, and £38 family of four.  Power Fan sessions are £2, available to purchase at The Hub’s reception.

Fields and Hedgerows, an exhibition inspired by the magical discovery of the natural world is at The Witham from Thursday 25th May to Saturday 17 June 2017.

Open from 10 am - 4 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, the Fields and Hedgerows will bring the outside in, inspired by the natural, rural habitats of Teesdale countryside as exemplified in The Witham’s wonderful Storytelling Chair, a commission by local textile artist, Hotch Potch House Upholsterers Glynis Manning and Steve Parkes.

The Witham’s Summer of Stories 2017 will feature the Story Chair too, to encourage everyone to share, create and enjoy stories. This wonderful, creative and beautiful Story Chair will inspire the imaginations of the young and old for years to come

The Fields and Hedgerows exhibition will be a joyful show featuring images of animals and insects that might be found in Teesdale fields and hedgerows and has been curated with the intention of appealing to visitors of all ages.  

Local artist Keith Alexander who comments ‘Living in Teesdale for the last 26 years has had a big impact on my subject matter. Working from my studio adjacent to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, my work is influenced by the special nature of this spectacular landscape – open moorland and beautiful dales, the habitat for a range of distinctive birds such as the Curlew, Red Legged Partridge and the Greater Spotted Woodpecker, which co-exist with farming.’ 

The Witham are also working with textile artist Dori Henderson who’s work features in Fields and Hedgerows to hold a one day rag rug workshop on Thursday 15 June. With an early bird rate of £68, the workshop includes tutorial to start off your rag rug as well as the kit you will take home after the day: hessian, latch hooks, strong linen thread, and a handmade wooden stretcher frame for each participant to which you will attach the hessian to keep the work taut. Fabrics will be provided but bring any you would like to use and ideas for your design.

Other artists include Ann Mason’s striking prints, stunning textile works by Ann Lee, painter and printer Emerson Mayes pieces inspired by flora and fauna, beautiful bird prints by Michael P Smith and more.

As Sarah Gent, Marketing Manager of The Witham arts centre in Barnard Castle says, ‘This exhibition is thrilling as it incorporates so much of what is beautiful and unique about our landscape here in Teesdale. It also brings the beautiful story chair by Glynis and Steve of Hotch Potch Upholstery into the Gallery where it belongs.

What could be finer than art celebrating the life and vitality of the Fields and Hedgerows that surround us? Thank you to all the artists who have created these amazing works and bought them to us here at The Witham for all to enjoy’

 

Come to enjoy the Fields and Hedgerows Exhibition from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday (free admission) or call on 01833 631107. You can also email info@thewitham.org.uk for more information. For future exhibitions and more information on The Gallery at The Witham, please head to www.thewitham.org.uk and select Opportunities. 

On Thursday 25 May, 7.30pm, acclaimed folk duo, Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin are to revisit The Witham, Barnard Castle’s highly-respected arts centre after going down a storm at the venue back in May 2015. Two years on, the duo bring ‘The Out of the Ordinary Tour’, full of atmospheric music to create a night that is not to be missed in the regional folk calendar.

Described as ‘utterly inspired and magnificent’ the duo has been making ground-breaking movements in the folk world. Together they create poignant arrangements with Hannah’s enchanting vocals and violin with Phillip’s instrumental virtuosity on slide guitar and harmonica.

With numerous nominations and a win for the ‘Best Duo’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, the two musicians are valued for their originality and intensity, bridging the gap between music from the Deep-South of America, sitar melodies from India and English folk music.

Maddy Sutton, Audience Development Officer at The Witham says: this duo was the first ever music gig I saw at The Witham and it made a lasting memory. The night was intimate and atmospheric. Hannah and Phillip are two of most highly skilled and finely tuned musicians I have ever seen. This gig is particularly exciting as they promise to indulge us with music from magical places.

With the busiest 18 months of their careers so far, touring the UK and abroad with folk legends from Gigspanner and Seth Lakeman, plus another album due out in Autumn, the duo have journeyed a long way in becoming one of the most innovative folk-acts in the country.

 

For tickets, visit The Witham Box Office, open Tues – Sat, 10am – 4pm, book online www.thewitham.org.uk or call 01833 631107. Tickets are £15 in advance, £17 on the door.

Art with Heart challenge stereotypes with a curious, comic and candid look at ADHD, mental health and diagnosis in 21st century.

Declaration is based on comedian and storyteller, Sarah Emmott’s personal experiences who says, “As a child, I was a coiled spring, bouncing off the walls but I was never diagnosed. My current Dr. thinks I have ADHD, but adult diagnosis is complex.”

Women and girls are more likely to go undiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as they cover symptoms and ‘act normal.’ ADHD is a group of behavioural symptoms including inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. After the difficult process of gaining diagnosis, Art with Heart decided to publically explore a private matter. 

Art with Heart tackle difficult subjects with honesty, warmth and humour, and hope. Declaration will open conversations and challenge preconceptions around mental health and ADHD.

Venturing into a world often unexplored onstage, Emmott shares her experiences of ADHD and adulthood with authenticity and candour; combining storytelling, comedy and movement.

“In the media the images projected of ADHD are of young boys tearing around supermarkets, Mums in despair.” says Emmott. “Women and indeed, adults with ADHD are almost invisible in popular culture.” Declaration will offer a fresh, fun and frank perspective on the ADHD debate. 

Since 2010, the company have produced numerous theatre productions and arts projects, receiving national attention when 100 Deeds featured on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour and BBC News. Their work with local communities led to a nomination for ‘Community Group or Organisation of the Year’ at the 2016 LGBT Foundation Hero Awards. 

Declaration is performed by Sarah Emmott, written and created by Sarah Emmott and Rachel Moorhouse with Lighting Design by Greg Akehurst. Movement Direction is by Deborah Pugh with Costume Design by Christine Emmott and Set Build by Richard Walker.

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2016 National Dance Critics Award for Outstanding Male Performance 

2016 Nominated for South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance

“With little more than a wooden chair and a bucketful of chickpeas,  Ben Duke extrapolates Milton’s epic in a virtuoso tour-de-force.”  (The Stage 5*)

LOST DOG, the highly entertaining dance/theatre company is fronted by its Artistic Director BEN DUKE whose one-man show, ‘PARADISE LOST (LIES UNOPENED BESIDE ME)’ has been performing to critical acclaim and capacity audiences since its premiere in 2015.

A one-man staging of Milton’s epic Paradise Lost which combines theatre, comedy and movement, this is a journey through the story of the creation of everything condensed into 80 minutes, beginning with Lucifer’s rebellion and ending with Adam and Eve’s expulsion from The Garden of Eden.  

Ben Duke plays all the characters, creates all the scenes and, despite his best efforts, falls a little short of perfection.  “It’s a show for anyone who has created anything (child, garden, paper aeroplane) and then watched it spiral out of control,” he says.

In May Ben is partnering once again with the Rural Touring Dance Initiative to take ‘Paradise Lost’ to more community spaces and rural hubs around the UK.  Says Claire Smith, Project Manager at Rural Touring Dance Initiative: “We are thrilled to be able to offer 'Lost Dog' again on the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. The response from the autumn shows was so positive.  Shows like 'Paradise Lost' are really switching new audiences onto dance. The high level of professionalism combined with Ben’s inventive storytelling style makes it an absolute hit with audiences.”

Ralph Lister, Development Director adds:  “The aim of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative is to enable more touring and making of dance to and for rural areas.  Very little dance tours to rural areas; this initiative will address issues and challenges on both the supply and demand side of the equation. More companies will be encouraged to take their work out of a regular ‘black box’ setting into village halls and it will create opportunities for many more rural touring staff and volunteer promoters to see exciting and engaging dance on a broad spectrum and to then programme and promote these shows to their local village audience. The project has attracted funding from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund until 2018.”

Ben Duke – Artistic Director & Performer

Ben Duke graduated from Newcastle University with a First in English Literature and trained at the Guildford School of Acting and London Contemporary Dance School.  His work explores the overlap and transition between dance and theatre. As well as his work for Lost Dog, Ben has directed and choreographed works for other companies including Rambert, Barely Methodical Troupe, Scottish Dance Theatre (The Life and Times of Girl A), Dance Umbrella (The Difference Engine), Phoenix Dance Theatre (Pave up Paradise) and numerous post-graduate performing companies including Verve and Intoto. He has choreographed for projects by The National Theatre of Scotland (Dolls), the Gate Theatre, London (Sexual Neuroses of our Parents) and Handspring UK (CROW). He has performed with Probe, Hofesh Shechter Company, The Gate Theatre, The National Theatre of Scotland, Glyndebourne Opera and Punchdrunk.  Ben is a Work Place artist, was Associate Artist at South East Dance 2012-14 and recipient of the Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award 2011.  In 2016 Ben won the National Dance Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Male Performance; ‘Paradise Lost (Lies Unopened Beside Me)’ was nominated for the 2016 South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance.

LOST DOG was formed in 2004 by Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer to create work using text, movement and music in which dance is framed by stories and characters.   The company’s first work, Pave up Paradise, won 1st prize at the Burgos International Choreography competition, 2nd prize at the Hanover choreography competition, and was performed by Phoenix Dance Theatre as part of its Stories in Red 25th anniversary mixed bill (2006).  In 2005 The Drowner was nominated for a Total Theatre award and won critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2005, and the company received a Bonnie Bird UK New Choreographers’ Award. Lost Dog has also created Hungry Ghosts, (2007-2008); The Rain Parade (2009); Salvage (2010) and in 2011 won The Bloomberg Place Prize for Dance It Needs Horses. Home for Broken Turns completed a UK and international tour in 2012-2014 alongside It Needs Horses.  Like Rabbits, made in collaboration with award-winning writer Lucy Kirkwood and inspired by Virginia Woolf’s short story Lappin & Lapinova premiered at Brighton Festival 2014. 

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Opening Hours: Box Office & Cafe

MON: CLOSED

TUE: 10am-4pm

WED:
10am-4pm

THU:
10am-4pm

FRI: 
10am-4pm

SAT:
10am-4pm

SUN: CLOSED