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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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On Friday 5th May at 8pm, renowned duo Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman perform at premier folk music venue, The Witham, Barnard Castle’s vibrant Arts Centre. With a world-class reputation as original songwriters and twice winners of the BBC Radio 2 folk award for Best Duo 2013 and 2016, Kathryn and Sean are a must see for this season’s music offering at the highly respected venue.

Having a career boasting collaborations with folk greats including Kate Rusby, Cara Dillon, Seth Lakeman, Levellers, Show of Hands and more, the partnership form a union of solid guitar playing, smoky vocals and top-notch producing skills. Sean, one third of the legendary Lakeman brothers is regarded as ‘the unsung hero’ of modern British folk and Barnsley born Kathryn has been hailed as one of the finest singers of her generation, held in the highest regard of peers and music fans alike.

 

Their original material deals with subjects such as wicked mermaids, norwgian legends and a lonely whale, and together with an intimate show and strength of passion, the duo ensure a rare treat for any listener.

 

Tickets are available at www.thewitham.org,uk or by phone on 01833 631107 (10 – 4pm, Tues – Sat). You can also call into the Box Office at 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Castle during these hours. 

‘I have a theory, relatively speaking - it is going to change your world...maybe.’

On Wednesday 3 May, 6.30pm, recent theatre resident, Sian Armstrong brings her current production, Stupid to be enjoyed by friends, Turrets Youth Theatre and visitors to The Witham. 

Free admission. Work in Progress Show

Wednesday 3 May | 6.30pm

"Everything is different now. Nothing is what it used to be. I need to solve it. I have a theory. Sadie says I’m being an idiot, she says that it’s all subjective. That’s why I need you. My fellow professors, miraculous phenomenons. Together let’s walk the world and look out at the universe as it really is. My equations aren’t made of numbers – in fact you might never have heard them before. Or some of you might recognise them as your own. Take them. They’re my present to you. My findings, aged 24 ½."

 
Creative Team
Performer and Co-Writer: Sian Armstrong
Director: Paula Penman
Co-writer/mentor: Laura Lindow
 

On Monday 1st May at 8pm, The Witham opens it’s doors for Jig Doll - a sensational new project by young folk star Hannah James of esteemed trio, Lady Maisery. A fusion of digital layering, traditional folk music and clog dancing, Hannah brings audiences a unique combination of the traditional and contemporary arts.

Singer, accordionist and clog dancer, Hannah has been deemed as one to watch as a solo artist. Already possessing an outstanding portfolio having performed in numerous highly successful folk outfits over the last decade, including  working alongside renowned folk-fiddler Sam Sweeney who brought a sell-out concert to The Witham back in September 2015. 

 

Described as an elegant and exotic show exploring the life of a traveling musician, her combination of flowing accordion melodies and percussive foot stomping is an impressive and beautiful mix, even for those who are not familiar with folk music traditions.  

Maddy Sutton, Audience Development Officer at The Witham states: ‘with percussive dance at the heart of this show, the gig will be a really exciting and energetic experience. Hannah is bringing something that is genuinely new and interesting, and because she mixes so many different elements to the production, everybody can be confident that they will be blown away from the impressive skill-set on show!’

Tickets are available at www.thewitham.org,uk or by phone on 01833 631107 (10 – 4pm, Tues – Sat). You can also call into the Box Office at 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Castle during these hours.

The Witham is proud to present Emotive Landscapes, an exciting exhibition of arresting, and experimental painting, printmaking, and drawing inspired by local landscapes by celebrated artists Dawn Brookes, Debbie Loane and Andrew Dalton.

Emotive Landscapes (Thursday 27 April to Saturday 20 May, 10 am - 4 pm, Tues to Sat) presents a display of abstracted, emotive landscapes by three artists from the North east region. 

As Debbie Loane of Easingwold comments:
“I come from a largely agricultural background. As a painter working with the landscape I am constantly challenged to create work which acknowledges the romantic splendour of the Northern landscape, whilst at the same time being conscious that my work is rooted in the daily practicalities of rural life. As a result, my work can take many forms.”

Dawn Brooks of Scarborough creates abstract monochrome prints that are stark, intimate and expressive. By combining drawing with drypoint etching and collagraph, she develops the printing plate, instinctively reacting to marks as they are made.

Describing his approach to his creative practice, Andrew Dalton of Thirsk remarks,
“As an artist, I am fascinated by black and white. In print, painting and drawing I use black, and its gradations to white, as the vehicle through which I express myself. Whether figurative or abstract, my imagery represents a personal narrative; a distillation of moments that represent experience. I try to create images that offer the viewer ambiguous forms to consider and fill with their own meaning.'

Since August 2016, The Witham Art Gallery has been taken to new heights by the Visual Art Coordinator, Sarah Mayhew Craddock, who has been working with the team to develop the gallery into an increasingly dynamic and diverse Visual Arts hub.  Despite her imminent maternity leave, Sarah has planned and curated exhibitions for the next eighteen months.

As Sarah Gent, Marketing Manager at The Witham comments, “It’s been just fantastic to witness Sarah work, pulling together exhibitions here at The Witham that incorporate exciting and beautiful works by a wide range of artists from across the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.”

The Emotive Landscapes exhibition feels like a flagship exhibition in this work, a brilliant achievement here at our vibrant arts centre, with artists of this calibre bringing their work to Barnard Castle to offer our visitors a rich and exciting visual arts experience.”

The Witham is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday, and admission is free.

For further information about the Emotive Landscapes exhibition and the Visual Arts at The Witham, visit  www.thewitham.org.uk and select Gallery.

Combining two of the finest talents in jazz music from the North-East region, Paul Edis and Emma Fisk perform a special concert of duets at The Witham on Wednesday 12th April.

An exciting programme made up of music from late 19th century through to the 1950s.  Together the duo will be taking their audience on a musical journey through this creative but turbulent period of history with music by Dvorak, Elgar, Fats Waller, Gershwin and  Cole Porter.  This evening offers a fascinating tour of people, places and music.

The two musicians are critically acclaimed in the north-east for their interpretations and quality performances. Unique as a jazz-violinist, Emma Fisk specialises in Hot/Club, Gypsy and classic jazz and gigs regularly at festivals around the UK. Paul is in demand as a performer and composer having been described as ‘a new voice in jazz, a real jazz composer, a very thoughtful improviser’ in Jazz Journal.

 Tickets are available at www.thewitham.org,uk or by phone on 01833 631107 (10 – 4pm, Tues – Sat). You can also call into the Box Office at 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Castle during these hours.

 

 

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  • New play based upon the Grunwick Strike and Jayaben Desai’s fight for Union recognition, freedom, equality & human dignity to premiere at The Witham +

    WE ARE THE LIONS, MR MANAGER! By Neil Gore, will premiere at The Witham on 29th November. On the 20th Read More
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    Notice of Annual General Meeting Barnard Castle Mechanics' Institute and & Witham Hall Community Association - 6pm, Wed 27th September 2017. Read More
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