To celebrate the 125th Anniversary of The Bowes Museum, a collection of contemporary installations in the Museum, park and town.
Thanks again to everybody for supporting Investing in The Witham - read on to discover the latest news on the campaign.
At 4pm on Wednesday 5th September the thermometer rises to £26,044. There are one or two amounts that are still to clear and we think we are within sight of our target. There are several events still to take place and because they were planned during the 30 days, even though they will happen afterwards we can still count them towards the total.
If you have been thinking about making a one-off investment, or setting up a standing order - no amount is too small, no date is too late, and you can still make a difference.
If you have already made a donation but done so anonymously through Barclays Bank, the final sum will be boosted if we can claim Gift Aid against your name and postcode. We will keep your identity a secret, but we would very much appreciate you completing this Gift Aid form (paper copies are available from the Witham). We would also need you tell us the amount of your donation. You can do this confidentially by giving your form to either Caroline Maughan who looks after our accounts or Hazel Spencer who is the Trustee responsible for this campaign.
The next fundraiser challenge takes place this Saturday as the Witham's Marketing Manager Sarah Gent and her two daughters target raising £1500 with their Creative Chalk Challenge.
Find out more about our wonderful fundraisers on our BT My Donate page
A great big thank you to everyone who attended the open house session on 1st September. It was lovely to chat to you and to gather your feedback and ideas.
Another great big thank you to all the people doing their shopping in Morrisons on Saturday and our volunteer bag packers who had a great day and raised over £570 for the Investing in the Witham appeal.
Join us for 'Sunday Night at The Witham', a wonderful, fundraising evening showcasing local talent. Tickets are available now, click here to book.
Did you know you can donate your unwanted books to the Witham? All money raised from the rehoming of second hand books is donated to the fundraising appeal.
Drop your books in Tuesday to Saturday, 10am - 4pm.
We are now 14 days into our 30-day Investing in The Witham campaign and we wanted to update you with some facts about how it’s going, and thank the many who have contributed.
So far, 71 people have donated £12,001 counting Gift Aid. A number of people have set up standing orders so that they can make regular donations. In the longer term, this will make a big difference. For example, if we were able to find 100 people to make a regular donation of £10 a month, that would be worth £15,000 a year. This would allow us to programme events for almost a whole month. If you decide to set up a standing order with your bank, please be clear to tell them when you want it to start.
People have started to add Fundraising Events to our BTDonate web page so if you have had an idea for something you can deliver yourself and which you think would help us to generate additional funds towards the campaign, please consider setting up your own challenge through that site. Fundraising challenges that are already on the site are:
Suzanne Wallace who is looking for sponsorship to run 15km in 2 hours and has already received pledges for £230 of her £500 target.
Madelene Sutton sought to raise £200 of sponsorship for her Lakeland 10 peak challenge and has already reached above her target, but her page is still open. It was an amazing solo walk.
Sarah Gent and her two daughters were targeting £500 for the Creative Chalk Challenge on Saturday 8 September and have already raised £970.
Donations can be made here BTmydonate
Via BACS Barclays Bank Sort Code 20-45-45 Account Number 40524050
By cheque made payable to The Witham Hall Ltd
Thank you again for your support for The Witham
Chair of Trustees: Witham Hall Ltd.
The Witham introduces an autumn programme packed with over 70 excellent arts and cultural events for all to enjoy from September to December 2018, sponsored by Darlington Building Society.
The Witham’s music gigs this autumn include an exciting blend of different genres including Eddie and The Hot Rods (15 Sept), the return to The Witham of acclaimed songwriter Bella Hardy + Support (4 October), a spectacular new show called Light and Shadow featuring live music and contemporary dance based on familiar rock/pop songs (22 Sept). You can also enjoy the Cliff Richard Live Screening (12A) (12 October), celebrating Britain’s Ultimate Pop Star with 60 years in the music industry.
Classical music concerts at Barnard Castle’s arts centre include the Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist Award pianist Clare Hammond (5 Sept) and the Remembrance Requiem conducted by Simon Dearsley (11 November) to mark the centenary of the end of WWI with Elgar’s Spirit of England and Bliss’s Morning Heroes. Opera North brings the Whistle Stop Opera (Sat 20 October) when lively singers and accordionist introduce you to the fascinating world of Opera in a live, interact experience. Celebrate the start of the festive season with Barnard Castle’s Choral Society presenting Handel’s Messiah (2 Dec).
World class Screenings continue to show at Barnard Castle High Street live at the time they are occurring at the Royal Opera House including Mayerling (15 October), The Nutcracker (9 December) and also English National Ballet’s Akram Khan’s Giselle (15 Dec). The National Theatre brings a host of amazing performances including The Madness of King George III (Thursday 13 December) starring Mark Gatiss, a multi-award-winning drama by Alan Bennett.
Two fantastic evening talks this autumn include the return of the Dales vet Neville Turner for a fundraiser for The Witham on 26 Sept and AONB Dark Skies Festival brings The Science of the Moon and the Stars with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE. Head to the Café Bar for the launch of local poet Judi Sutherland reading from her exciting new book, The Ship Owner’s House (27 September)
There is a wealth of live theatre this season the return of The World of the Wars (28 Sept) inspired by H. G. Wells classic iconic novel, set in the North East and presented by Northern Stage. Award-winning Hull-based theatre company, Middle Child are bringing gig theatre piece One Life Stand (recommended 16+ years, Friday 5 October) as part of the REACH project, with music by James Frewers and Honeyblood, and starring Ed Cole.
The Castle Players present Flare Path (Friday 9 & 10 November), Terence Rattigan’s classical of love & duty set in the 1940s, and there are classics to enjoy with Kindred Theatre presenting The Haunted Man (5 December) inspired by Charles Dickins and Christmas with Steptoe and Son (12 December).
Family theatre include the comedy Me and My Bee (31 October), presented by ThisEgg who invite you to save the world – one bee at a time. The Christmassy Christmas Show (Sunday 9 December) is an over-stuffed stocking of seasonal surprises crammed with puppets, songs, quizzes and slapstick comedy.
The Funny Way To Be Comedy Club continues to deliver fantastic quality laugher from the very best in the business, including Iain Stirling (18 Sept), Jeremy Hardy (23 Oct) and Roughead and Cook (Friday 7 December).
Film Thursdays continue at The Witham including critically acclaimed The Shape of Water (27 September), A Fantastic Woman (11 October), Journey’s End (1 November) and Murder on the Orient Express (20 December).
Exciting exhibitions include Age Does Not Define Us: Re-thinking of Age & Ageing, a collaboration between the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and The Age of No Retirement (Tues 4 Sept – Sat 6 Oct), the Highlights Contemporary Craft Tour, Craft and Conflict (13 – 21 November) with the chance to work with Textile Artist, Morwenna Catt for the Maps and Mayhem! workshop (17 November).
Teesdale Art Network are bringing their showcase exhibition featuring over 30 local artists (9 Oct – 6 Nov) and you can enjoy working with TAN member artist Sharon Loddey for a six week Introduction to Linocut Printing (every Weds for six weeks from 12 Sept). Arts workshops offer you the chance to learn or hone your skills in Acrylic painting a Hare with Anne Mason (Sat 8 Sept) and you can create your own design in Linocut at the Print a Tote Bag workshop with artist Sharon Loddey (Sat 6 October).
Designer Makers Market brings the very best of regional designers and craftspeople (17 & 18 November) and there is also Northern Craft Market (15 Sept, 6 Oct, 10 Nov, 24 Nov, 1 Dec) and the Handcrafted Fair (1 Sept, 3 November, Sat 1 December).
Sarah Gent, Marketing Manager at The Witham says, ‘The Witham autumn programme includes something for everyone and shows that we are listening and responding to feedback to ensure there are events on that people will be interested in coming along to enjoy. The Witham now has a wider range of music events from Cliff Richard on the big screen to Eddie and the Hot Rods. Come to not only support Barnard Castle’s arts centre but also have a brilliant time while you’re here!
We also now have a community notice board to help find out what else is going on in our wonderful community. So please, come into The Witham, grab a programme and have a cuppa in the café while you plan your autumn nights’ out here on Barney high street.’
The Box Office is open from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturdays. Call 01833 631107 or head to what's on to find out more.
The Annual General Meetings for both Barnard Castle Mechanics' Institute and Witham Hall Community Association will be held on Thursday 13th September at The Witham, 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Castle, DL12 8LY. The meeting starts at 6:00pm.
This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend.
The Trustees and staff are inviting you to invest in The Witham and help secure its long-term future.
The purpose of the Investing in the Witham appeal is to create a secure financial basis that will allow us to draw in new people whilst retaining the patronage of our current audience. The overall target of the appeal is to secure line of sight to £150,000 before the end of this year, with an initial target of £30,000 to be reached in 30 days starting on 7th August 2018. Please support this campaign by clicking BT MyDonate and donating there (which doesn't charge us a penny to gather the donations). For the latest information, please read our news update about the campaign here.
You can also complete the Investing in The Witham form and return this to our Finance Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or hand this into The Witham. This gives you the option of both making a one-off donation but also completing a standing order through which you can support on a monthly basis.
Make your donation go even further! Gift Aid allows UK charities to claim back the basic rate tax already paid on donations by the donor. This means we can claim back from the government on your behalf 25p for every £1 donated, boosting the value of your donation by a quarter.
The Witham has always had a remit to benefit its users, having originally been set up as a dispensary to help local people who couldn’t afford to pay doctors’ bills and to enable people to access education. When The Witham opened its doors to the public in April 1846 it was paid for by donations from over 2000 people who were mostly local.
The most recent refurbishment was completed in 2013 and since then, The Witham has built an increasingly strong reputation, providing a rich and varied programme of quality performances and visual arts, as well as offering activities for all age groups – from toddlers through to elderly people, from families through to people who live alone. All of this costs money and public funding is tight.
With your support The Witham will:
• be a venue where everyone is welcomed
• provide entertainment of a quality that is normally only available in large urban centres
• expand what is offered to include a wider range of music whilst continuing with programming that people already value
• be a local venue for friendship and community involvement
• listen and respond to local people about what they want.
We welcome any support you can offer, and we will of course keep you fully informed of progress.
You can also get involved by becoming a volunteer.
We're looking to build upon our team of enthusiastic volunteers to help us engage with members of the public and help the keep the cogs at The Witham well oiled. We'd like to hear from you if you: are looking to learn new skills, share existing skills, enjoy working in a team, enjoy working in public facing roles, if you're looking to get back into work, or if you simply want to put something back into your local community. We’re looking for volunteers who can spare a minimum of eight hours per month in order to help out at The Witham.
Roles that we’re currently recruiting for include: Gallery Assistants, Box Office and Visitor Information Assistants and Stewards.
Email email@example.com or call 01833 631107 to have a chat about volunteering and request a Volunteer Inquiry Form.
Celebrating 20 years with twenty paintings commissioned by Gallerina to help champion the North – our landscape, our coast, our people and streets but above all, our talent.
Date: 8 - 29 August 2018 with a preview 7th August from 6.30 – 7.30pm
Time: 10:00 am - 16:00 pm
As Gallerina comments, ‘20 twenty’ is an exhibition which will launch a year long series of events & 'pop ups’ helping us to celebrate 20 years in contemporary fine art.
We are thrilled to be starting our celebrations with The Witham, it is a venue we have enjoyed personally over the years and is a wonderful setting and team of people to help showcase these artists…All of whom, for this particular show, are home grown talent.’
One of the artists included in the exhibition is Mark Johnston is from our region, born in Stockton on Tees in 1974, he studied at Newcastle College of Art 1991, Cumbria College 1992-93 & at Brighton University (BA) from 1993-96.
Gallerina are proud to represent Mark’s work & thrilled to be bringing his latest paintings to The Witham to help celebrate 20 years in the world of contemporary fine art.
The Gallerina team met and started representing Mark 17 years ago, which has given their gallery and wonderful clients a front row seat to his incredible work and career . To help celebrate Gallerina’s new location in Darlington Mark recently turned to works in oil and ink on paper, itself a celebration of their relationship with him and his love of the North and its coastline, always in the fore front of his mind.
Brought up on the coast of Hartlepool, this region, its coastline and light are in his bones. Mark Johnston is a 'mark maker', a high energy painter, a technician, these works can be raw, are intuitive, and can be incredibly delicate. Gallerina is proud to have the relationship and friendship with Mark.
As The Witham Interium Director Shelagh Avery comments, ‘We are delighted at The Witham to be working closely with Gallerina and so pleased that the 20|twenty exhibition will be here at Barnard Castle’s vibrant arts centre. The preview on Tuesday 7th August coincides with our programme launch so we urge you to come to both, to not only plan your autumn arts entertainment but also enjoy this exciting display of contemporary art here at The Witham.’
For more information about this and other exhibitions at The Witham, please head here, call us on 01833 631107 or head into the Gallery from 10am - 4pm, Tuesday - Saturday.
The Witham team invite you to the launch for the exciting new programme of events for spring 2018.
On Thursday 11th January from 18:00 to 19:30, The Witham staff team are presenting the seasonal launch for all the exciting events spring 2018 and everyone is invited!For the first time, Barnard Castle's vibrant arts centre invites you to attend this launch event to learn more about the new programme of events coming up from January to May 2018.
With a wonderful range of live dance, theatre, music, film screenings and discussion events, at Barnard Castle arts centre, the team are grabbing the opportunity to showcase the highlights and give you an indepth understanding of what's coming up.... direct from the people who boked them!
If you would like to attend, please contact Sarah Gent, Marketing Manager at The Witham by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Witham are delighted to be part of the Barnard Castle Christmas Festival
A magical five-day Christmas Festival involving cultural venues in picturesque Barnard Castle in County Durham is taking place from 13 - 17 December 2017.
This historic market town - home to The Bowes Museum, The Witham arts centre and a Norman castle - will offer visitors an exciting festive mix of exhibitions, film screenings, performances and music alongside a traditional Christmas market featuring a wide selection of independent retailers as well as winter warming food and drink – the perfect combination in which to relax and soak up the joyful atmosphere.
There is also a pop-up light installation event, #boweslight which is a collection of contemporary installations at Bowes Museum and park as well as at The Witham. Photographed here is Heart of Starts by artist Stephen Newby. The large scale suspended heart has a surface made up of 11,000 mirror tiles to create a mirrored heart that reflects thousands of spots of light in fantastical, swirling and changing patterns to create a stunning, magical lighting effect cast over the surrounding landscape that dances and dapples through trees and plants.
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the opportunity to enjoy a classic film, and The Witham sets the seasonal scene beautifully with a screening of the family favourite Miracle on 34th Street on 14th December. Further festive offerings include the comedian Chris Ramsey – Work in Progress 2, whose 15th December performance is a sell out; a warming supper coupled with another sold out performance of A Christmas Carol presented by the acclaimed Castle Players, and Teesdale Christmas Art Fair.
The Christmas Festival launches on Wednesday 13 December with a Traditional Fair in The Bowes Museum grounds, featuring delicious food chalets, time-honoured fairground amusements, rides, side-shows, games and entertaining family activities.
The Bowes Museum’s annual Christmas Market has been extended this year, opening on the afternoon of 15th December and running all day on 16th and 17th December, with over 100 hand-picked stallholders. Live music, seasonal entertainment, prize draws from Smooth Radio and the popular park & ride ‘Santa’ buses ensure this feel-good family event is not to be missed.
Completing the picture will be fantastic musical performances at the TCR Hub on 16th December, featuring local performers and regional talent. While aimed at families, the event will continue late into the night, complemented by seasonal refreshments in the café, the ensure you leave in the festive mood.
To learn more about all the Christmas Festival events, dates and timings visit the Barnard Castle Christmas Festival website
To celebrate the 125th Anniversary of The Bowes Museum, a collection of contemporary installations in the Museum, park and town.
The Witham's spring programme launches this week with an arts-packed five months of activities from January to May 2018, including world-class live music, dance, visual arts and a new Pay What You Decide Scheme to support all in accessing wonderful theatre.
Take a look through the new programme here.
There is a rich variety of live music in the season ahead, with the folk season including the rich vocal harmonies of Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan (Sat 10 Feb), traditional fiddle music from the Nordic Fiddles Bloc (Sat 10 March) and the return of the award-winning, Dublin-born singer and bouzouki player, Daoiri Farrell (Thursday 10 May), winner of two BBC Folk Awards 2017.
One of the most promising young artists at the International Mozarteum, pianist Chiyan Wong (Wednesday 14 March) will perform Bach’s Goldberg variations, Beethoven’s Six Bagatelles, Busoni’s Sonatina Seconda and Liszt’s Don Juan. An ensemble of players from the Northern Sinfonia bring Brahm’s String Quintet No. 1 in F (Wednesday 11 April). The Witham are welcoming the Reg Vardy Brass Band (Sat 24 March), North of England Brass Band Champions 35 times and ranked in the top 20 of the Worlds’ Brass Bands and also have a valentine’s treat in store with The Glory of Love, the good and the bad, a fundraising concert of favourite popular songs from Musicals and Operetta with Simon and Philippa Dearsley and Penny Randell-Davies.
The live theatre season kicks off with the Castle Player’s Oliver Twist (Saturday 6 January) and the Northern Stage’s vivid and dynamic production of H.G. Well’s iconic novel, War of the Worlds (Friday 16 February). Little Mighty theatre company present the dramam, If I Say Jump (Friday 23 March) and Luke Wright presents the deft verse performance of Frankie Vah, (cover image for the programme, which deals with love, loss and belief against a backdrop of scuzzy indie venues and 80s politics.
For the first time, The Witham has joined the REACH project, a strategic touring project funded by Arts Council England with a number of arts organisations, including the ARC Stockton. It is designed to increase both the quantity and the quality of contemporary theatre in the North East. As part of this, The Witham is trialling ‘Pay What You Decide’ for Testosterone, a high-energy production exploring masculinity presented by Rhum and Clay theatre company (Friday 4th May).
British Mountaineering legend Alan Hinkes OBE will present a film screening of the critically-acclaimed biopic of his life as the first and only British mountaineer to summit all 14 of the world’s highest mountains. He will introduce the film and speak both during and after about his amazing experiences.
The Witham team are delighted to have the professional tap dance performance at Barnard Castle’s vibrant arts centre, Fall Out presented by Old Kent Road (Wednesday 30 May) led by a live musical force with quintessential jazz. Pushing through boundaries of strength and intensity through the bare sounds of music and dance, this is a spectacularly technical performance
Comedy continue to go form strength to strength, thanks to the efforts of the Funny Way To Be Comedy Club. Highlights include the return of Lucy Porter with Choose Your Battles (Friday 6 April), Phill Jupitus’ Juplicity (Saturday 21 April) and Richard Herring’s show, Oh Frig, I’m 50! (Saturday 19 May).
The Family programme includes four wonderful live theatre experiences with enchanting music and puppetry in A Heart at Sea presented by Half a String (Friday 6 April) and the space race drama for 3 – 7 year olds, Tin Foil Astronaut (Friday 14 April). There is the internationally-acclaimed dance production, Chalk About presented by Curious Seed (Friday 11 May) for 8 – 14 years and a wonderful production of the much-loved classic children’s book, The Giant Jam Sandwich presented by New Perspectives (Thursday 31 May).
The Witham are working with Suitcase Studio’s artist, Gemma McColl to deliver some fantastically creative and fun workshops for families to really get the imaginations flowing including the engineering challenge, Hengineers (Wednesday 14 February) and the Puppet Imaginaruim (Wednesday 4 April)!
Live Screenings continue to bring the world’s finest live performances to the screen at The Witham from the Royal Opera House including Tosca (Wednesday 7 February), Carmen (Tuesday 6 March) and Macbeth (Wednesday 4 April), and Ballets’ The Winters’ Tale (Wednesday 28 February) and Manon (Thursday 3 May). The Royal Shakespeare Company present Twelfth night (Wednesday 14 February) and Macbeth (Wednesday 9 May), and National Theatre Live performances include Tennessee William’s classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Thursday 22 February), and Julius Caesar (Thursday 22 March).
Tap into Film Thursdays at The Witham where you can see the latest releases for only £5 a ticket from 7.30pm for Dunkirk (Thursday 25 January), God’s Own Country (Thursday 8 February), Loving Vincent (Thyursday 15 March), Victoria and Abdul (Thursday 26 April).
The Visual Arts season builds on the growing success of the second Teesdale Christmas Art Fair with four exciting and engaging fine art exhibitions, with Barnard Castle Art Society: A Year of Art (12 Jan – 10 Feb), Latest Edition (15 Feb to 17 March) featuring six regional artists as part of the Navigator North project. The exhibition Northern Shores (22 March to Sat 21 April) will be curiated from artists who apply to represent their works inspired by our wonderful coastline. TeesdaleArtNet are showcasing their stunning works in spring (26 April – 26 May).
The Witham have four brilliant arts workshops, the perfect Christmas gift for the arts and crafts people in your life. These include winter landscapes: Acrylic painting with local artist Anne Mason (Saturday 27 January), Patterns in Nature Relief: Print workshop with Karen Babayan, formerly Cumbrian Artist of the year (Saturday 3 March), Leather tooling workshop with Mark Rowney (Saturday 24 March) and Felt Art with Debria Esterhuizen (Saturday 12 May).
The Witham is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday and tickets are available from the Box Office or over the phone on 018733 631107. The Witham will be closed for Christmas from the end of Wednesday 20th December until the doors re-open on Friday 5th January 2018, apart from the New Year’s Eve Bash on 31st December.
WE ARE THE LIONS, MR MANAGER! By Neil Gore, will premiere at The Witham on 29th November.
On the 20th August 1976 a group of workers in a film processing factory in Willesden walked out in protest at their unfair working conditions, low pay and the 'bullying tactics' used by management.
Led by mostly East African Asian women, the Grunwick strike became one of the longest and most important industrial disputes in British history, and changed the way trade unions thought about race and new immigrant communities coming to Britain in the 1970s.
The women became known as the “strikers in saris” and their fight for fair treatment was supported by thousands of trade unionists and campaigners, as more than 20,000 people joined them at the picket lines on one of the mass pickets.
But the story of the Grunwick dispute is not just a story about ground-breaking solidarity. It is also the story of a remarkable woman, Jayaben Desai.
The four foot ten inches tall, mother-of-two defiantly led the first walk-out in protest against the humiliation she and other women employees felt at the Grunwick factory.
As she left, the manager shouted at Jayaben and her colleagues to “stop chattering like monkeys in a zoo", and Jayaben replied: "What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your finger-tips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr. Manager!”
Jayaben became the leader of the Grunwick Strike and not only stood up for workers’ rights with selfless dedication, but with her steadfast resolve, she turned the dispute into a national movement for human rights, inspiring future generations and challenging the way people perceived Asian women.
Now, Jayaben's story is being brought to life for the very first time by Townsend Theatre Productions seeking to relive the strikers' inspirational fight for freedom, equality and human dignity.
Written by Neil Gore, the play will tell the story of the Grunwick dispute through a mixture of stirring song, poetry, movement and dance, and the play will utilise Townsend Production's trademark cast of two characters playing multiple roles.
“In our work we aim to focus on the lives and contributions of inspirational and vital figures from our social history, often forgotten, who campaigned vigorously to improve the quality of life for everyone. Jayaben Desai is one such figure. She tirelessly fought on behalf of immigrant workers against exploitative employment practice; fearlessly faced all the elements of establishment authority; alerted many in the trade union movement to the issues of vulnerability of immigrant workers; and highlighted the fight to maintain basic trade union rights. Her resolve and courage should be remembered and celebrated. Also, Grunwick raised many wide-ranging questions about trade unionism, rights in the workplace and dignity at work, themes that still resonate and are relevant today.” Neil Gore
We Are The Lions Mr Manager is directed by Louise Townsend & Musical Director John Kirkpatrick and will feature in it’s cast Medhavi Patel and Neil Gore.
We Are Lions, Mr Manager! is supported by Arts Council England and Unite the Union.
Tickets for We Are The Lions Mr Manager are priced at £10 (£8 Concs) and you can buy them here.