Bromsgrove Arts News

  • Fri 2 Oct 2015

    THREE popular attractions are joining forces on Sunday (October 4) for a special harvest-inspired Apple Day celebration.

    Residents can board the classic ‘Apple Bus’ – provided by Wythall Transport Museum – which will take them between Avoncroft Museum and the Jinney Ring Craft Centre.

    At the Jinney Ring, visitors can explore the popular sculpture trail and enter the apple art competition. There will also be a selection of food and drink made from local produce and a complementary cup or tea of coffee, included in the ticket price.

    At Avoncroft, there will be a number of activities. Visitors can take their own apples along and have them pressed in the museum’s vintage presser. There will be apple-themed games and costumed re-enactors will be demonstrating traditional baking methods in the historic windmill.

    The 19th century windmill will also be open.

    The Apple Bus will travel regularly between Avoncroft Museum and the Jinney Ring.

    From the Jinney Ring, visitors will also be able to visit Hanbury Church – the famous location for weddings on hit Radio 4 show The Archers. The links between the church and The Archers can also be explored by checking out an exhibition there.

    People should be aware that the route to the church is steep and rough in places.

    Advance tickets include rides on the Apple Bus between the venues, admission to Avoncroft Museum and a complementary tea or coffee at the Jinney Ring.

    Prices are £8 for adults, £7 for seniors and £4 for children. They are available from the Jinney Ring website at or by calling 01527 821272. On the day, tickets (if still available) will cost £10 for adults and £5 for children.

  • Mon 28 Sep 2015

    THIS AUTUMN, Longbridge Public Art Project returns with a programme full of events, exhibitions and workshops.

    One of the upcoming events is the Longbridge Alternative History Walk on Wednesday (September 30) which takes place between 1pm and 2pm. Participants need to meet outside Sainsbury’s in Longbridge and Mike Hodder and Steve Wright will take them back in time through 1,000 years of Longbridge history. This alternative history tour will provide new facts about Longbridge and what the area was like before it becane Longbridge. Residents should e-mail stephen [at] WERK [dot] org [dot] uk to book a free place.

    Then on October 3, HERE AND NOW takes place from 11am to 4pm at St John’s Church. This will feature historical research by artists and local residents being shown and art work being produced by residents for Longbridge. On the day there will be free events and activities for children and adults, as well as information about Longbridge Light Festival 2016. Those who go along will be able to find out more about the project and how they can get involved. For more information e-mail info [at] WERK [dot] org [dot] uk

    The exhibition, Women of Longbridge, takes place at the LPAP SPACE in Longbridge on October 8 from 6pm to 9pm, featuring a series of interviews and photographic portraits of ex-workers of the Longbridge car factory by artists Hannah Hull and Stephen Burke.The interviews document the changing attitudes towards women who worked in what was a male-dominated environment. They cover several eras and also offer insight into the changing approach to labour throughout the factory’s life. This exhibition showcases the overlooked stories of the Women of Longbridge, and aims to provide strong female role models for the next generation. The exhibition continues until November 7 and will be open from Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm.

    Then on October 17, there will be a 1275GT Mini Restoration Open Day from 1pm to 5pm at The Cabin, Longbridge.

    Artist Stuart Whipps is restoring a 1275GT mini that was made at Longbridge in 1979. He is working with ex workers from the factory and comprehensively photographing all parts of the car and the process.

    Members of the public are welcome to drop by when restoration works is taking place and further public open days are scheduled for November 14 and December 12. The Cabin is situated in the Car Park in Longbridge town centre opposite Bournville College and adjacent to Austin Park.

    For more information on how you can get involved with the project please email stephen [at] WERK [dot] org [dot] uk

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Sun 20 Sep 2015

    THE FIRST event in Bromsgrove Concerts’ 53rd season takes place at Artrix next Friday (September 25) when the Carducci Quartet come to town.

    The line-up includes violinists Matthew Denton and Michelle Fleming, Eoin Schmidt-Martin on viola and Emma Denton on Cello.

    Among the pieces to be performed on the evening will be Shostakovich’s String Quartets – No 4 in D Op 83, No 14 in F sharp Op 142 and No 12  in D flat Op 133.

    The group last came to Bromsgrove in September 2012 and they have spent most of 2015 playing all of Shostakovich’s 15 quartets to mark the 40th anniversary of his death.

    Tickets, which are £18 (£5 – registered disabled, unemployed and students), are available by visiting or by calling 01527 577330.

    Free tickets are available for young people aged between eight and 25, thanks to Cavatina Chamber Music Trust.

    Please contact the Box Office for these tickets.

    Visit for more information on subscriptions and rover tickets and general information about Bromsgrove Concerts.

  • Fri 18 Sep 2015

    A RETIRED Aston Fields music teacher had a pleasant surprise when he was handed his mother’s music score – 25 years after she died.

    Steve Cowperthwaite lost his mum when she passed away in Hexham, Northumberland, some 250 miles from Bromsgrove.

    The 59-year-old, who is the Barnt Green Choral Society’s managing director, said he proposed their March 2016 concert should have a Baroque theme – with music by Bach, Pergolesi and Vivaldi.

    He added after their first rehearsal of the season, last week, he turned up ready to conduct and was given copies of the music by their librarian, who had obtained them from Birmingham Music Library.

    “When I opened my vocal score of the Pergolesi, I saw on the inside cover the signature ‘J Cowperthwaite 22/3/78’ – in my mother’s unmistakable writing, her name was June.”

    Steve said he was left feeling moved by the extraordinary coincidence especially since next spring would mark the 25th anniversary of her death, in 1991.

    He added he knew she took up singing and joined a choir in Hexham during the 1970s, but he had no idea about what pieces she performed.

    “The date coincides with my final year at university,” Steve said.

    “Somehow the copy she used must have found its way to Birmingham Library and then to me.

    “The score is like a ‘postcard from the past’ and I shall not be able to resist thinking of her singing along when it gets to the concert.”

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Thu 23 Jul 2015

    MORE THAN 500 people went along to this year’s Bromsgrove Folk Festival, which organisers have hailed an amazing success.

    The event was held from July 10 to 12 at The Bowling Green in Stoke Prior and began with over 20 acts taking to the stage on the Thursday night for the annual pre-festival Singin’ and Suppin’ Session.

    By the Friday night, the festival was in full swing with an impressive line-up , which included house band ‘Fairfield’, local poet Spoz, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, Artisan, and Blackbeard’s Tea Party. After 20 years performing harmonies together, Artisan called it a day in 2005, reforming for a tour in 2010, and decided to make it another short reunion in 2015.

    On the Saturday, a great performance by Midlander Sunjay Brayne was followed by Irish singer-songwriter Colum Sands taking to the stage.

    There was also an energetic routine by Appalachian dancers Step on Board, accompanied by their band Thirsty Work and there was music from local singer Leon Gormley and former Fairfield singer John Connor.

    The evening concert began in a quirky way with Mumbo Jumbo giving 300 kazoos to the audience to play along to their blues-jazz-folk style music. Kim Lowings and the Greenwood, Colum Sands and BarlowCree – two artists from South Wales – and Anthony John Clarke also performed.

    Sunday started with a gentle walk, dulcimer workshop or singaround, before more Appalachian dancing, and the World Dry Foam Flinging Championships – that was won by Mac Rawlings, with an epic first throw.

    And the final concert of many of the acts from over the weekend brought down the curtain for another year.

    Planning is already underway for the 2016 Bromsgrove Folk Festival, which will see a milestone reached – it will be the 25th one to be held.

    Folk festival organiser Bob Bignell said: “Whatever we do, people say to us at the end of the festival that they don’t see how we can top it again.

    “It will be fun to attempt it in our 25th year.

    “It’s a big friendly family we have here.

    “Our main ambition is that by the time everyone leaves on the Sunday night, they are all on first name terms,” he added.

    Bromsgrove Folk Club meets between 8pm and 10.30pm on the second and last Thursday of every month at Catshill Social Club.

    Visit or e-mail bobcynfolk [at] aol [dot] com for more information.

    Reprinted by kind permission of the Bromsgrove Standard


  • Sun 19 Jul 2015

    THE FAMOUS Dr Zeus’ fictional figure ‘The Cat in the Hat’ visited the children’s section of Bromsgrove Library on Thursday (July 16).

    The event was held to promote the upcoming theatre production of ‘The Cat In The Hat’ which takes place at Artrix on July 27 and 28.

    The Cat in the Hat’s appearance will be one of many fun events at the arts centre this July and August.

    Others include the ‘’Family fun festival’ which takes place on July 31.

    The festival will hold pottery (10am, 1pm), painting (11am) and ukulele (10am) workshops along with several other activities.

    And drop-in sessions will be between 10.30am and 3pm.

    There will also be a number of children’s films screened, such as ‘The Spongebob Movie’ (July 29 and 30), ‘A dragon’s tale’ (July 30) and ‘Minions’ (Aug 4 and 5).

    Kicking off the activities will be the ‘Artrix summer exhibition’ which began on Wednesday (July 15) and will go on till August 16.

    The gallery is open from 10am till 4pm Monday to Saturday.

    The exhibition features contemporary works, paintings, photography and a variety of famous works produced.

    TC Peppercorn, Artrix’s learning and engagement co-ordinator said: “We have lots planned for the summer holidays, so there’s no excuse for children to be bored.”

    For more information and tickets, visit or call the box office on 01527 577330.

  • Sun 19 Jul 2015

    SUMMER is here and there is no better time for children to enjoy themselves outdoors.

    Avoncroft Museum in Bromsgrove has over a month full of fun-filled holiday activities from Monday (July 20) to August 28, with sessions taking place from 11am to 3pm.

    Children will get a chance to have fun with bricks and get building (Mondays), camp and learn bush-craft skills (Tuesdays), discover Avonccroft’s hidden insects (Wednesdays), have fun with archery and falconry (Thursdays) and have a go at playing traditional games (Fridays).

    Another place for children to visit this summer is the Hanbury Hall and gardens, Droitwich Spa.

    There are activities for both children and adults to get involved with including arts and crafts, tree climbing, bat walks and book fairs.

    For additional information about events taking place at both venues visit or

    To book tickets for any events at Avoncroft museum call on 01527 831363

  • Sat 18 Jul 2015

    THERE was plenty of fun for all the family at Bromsgrove Carnival weekend.

    Proceedings kicked off with the pop-up cinema in Sanders Park on Friday night (July 10) which saw hundreds of people turn up to watch a screening of classic summer film Grease.

    Then on the Saturday (July 11), there was the traditional carnival parade which journeyed from Artrix to Sanders Park.

    The procession, which had a red carpet movie theme, was led by town crier Kevin Ward and also featured Blackwell Concert Band, representatives from Libby Mae’s Little Angels, beauty queens, the Stroke Association and film characters, including a teenage mutant hero turtle, Where’s Wally and a monkey.

    Blackwell Concert Band won the competition for parade entrants with Libby Mae’s Little Angels finishing second.

    The Tommy Wilson Funfair kept people of all ages busy in the carnival arena in Sanders Park and there was also live music, vintage cars on display, dancing, wrestling and refreshments.

    The fun also continued into Sunday with plenty more activities, including the funfair, more live music and more wrestling.

    Carnival organiser Ian Perrygrove said: “The Friday night was a fantastic start and we had a steady flow on the Saturday which saw about 4,000 to 5,000 people come along to the park throughout the day.”

    “We have had some fantastic feedback from people about the weekend but I think we’ve got to think about the parade for next year – that needs improving – we need more people to take control of it and make it bigger.

    “People need to understand it is a volunteer-led event, it’s not down to the council.

    “We have, however, already had some people offering to volunteer for 2016 and we need more of that.”

    For more information on the carnival, visit or search for Bromsgrove Carnival on Facebook.

  • Fri 17 Jul 2015

    A NEW recording studio which will help local artists to record their music was launched today (Friday) in Stoke Prior.

    The venture by Creative Design Studios will offer singers and bands a place where they can learn new musical skills and build up their knowledge and experience.

    Studio manager, Tom Moore said: “We are looking to give students a chance to record music in a live studio environment rather than children singing in their bedrooms.”

    CDS will also be a gateway for job opportunities creating several in the editing suite, photography department and voice over sector.

    Having studied in Bromsgrove, Tom is hoping to get involved with local schools and colleges by encouraging students to engage in the music and the media sector.

    The music studio will also create work experience and apprenticeships for local students as well as providing student discounts.

    Tom added: “One of our main aims is to start bringing acts out of London.”

    “We have meticulously thought about every angle to appeal to corporate clients and help our independent clients get the best out of their recording time.”

    The studio’s main aim is to eventually open up a new recording label.

    CDS is located to the south of Bromsgrove, close to the M5 (J5) and M42 (J1).

    It is easily accessible and is set in a private and gated complex with parking space.

    A public launch will be held at CDSfrom 2pm to 6pm next Saturday (July 25) to give people the chance to see the new studio for themselves.

    Everyone is welcome to the event, which will feature live music from local acts, a hog roast and a bar.

    CDS is also supporting the Youth Music charity and cash will be raised for that cause at the public launch.

    For more information, e-mail studio manager Tom at tom [dot] moore [at] creativedesignstudios [dot] co [dot] uk or call on 01527 918618.

  • Thu 2 Jul 2015

    MORE than 9,000 pints of real ale and 3,000 pints of cider were drank at this year’s Bromsgrove Beer and Cider Festival, which turned out to be the best one in the event’s history.

    There were 55 per cent more people on the Friday night, compared with previous years, and the supping was virtually non-stop from 6pm on Thursday (June 25) when the festival opened to 3pm on the Saturday (June 27) when the beer ran out.

    Spokesperson for the event, Tony Colclough, said the festival had become a victim of its own success.

    “We had 30 volunteers on the ale bars on Friday night and ten on the cider bar and they were rushed off their feet.

    “We have to give a lot of credit to them – they worked themselves into the ground.”

    He also praised Bromsgrove Rugby Club, where the event was held.

    “They put on some great entertainment, there were some fantastic acts on.”

    Among them were the locally-based Blackwell Concert Band.

    Speaking about the beer stocks he said contingency plans were put into place and people were able to get drinks from the rugby club’s bars.

    “Because you can’t tell how successful, it is difficult to judge how much you will need – in previous years we have had to throw beer away.”

    He added the group would be meeting to see what other measures could be taken in the future.

    One visitor was Jenny Lehane who came with her husband Tony and friends Karen and Brian Perrygrove.

    Jenny said: “It’s a brilliant event – we always bring the caravan and camp here for the three days.

    “And it looks like we’re going to get the weather for a lovely weekend.”

    The beer of the festival was Fixed Wheel’s Single Speed Rakau, with Red Squirrel Hopfest and Slaters’ Haka joint second.

    Among the top ciders and perries were Clent Cider, Thistly Cross and brews from Gwynty y Draig which provided a cider and a perry.

    This year’s event was a momentous one for the Redditch and Bromsgrove branch of CAMRA which celebrated 40 years of campaigning.

    Brett Laniosh, who is a former RBCAMRA chairman and now a national director for the Campaign for Real Ale, described it as ‘an amazing achievement for the group’.

    He also paid tribute to previous branch chairmen and each one received a bottle of Fortitude – a special beer brewed for the festival by Bromsgrove’s Bird’s Brewery.

    The Worcester-Birmingham and Droitwich Canal Society was chosen as the festival charity in its 200th anniversary year. Funds raised will go towards the Lime Kiln Project in Tardenigge.

    The society’s chairman David Wheeler said: “It’s an honour to have been chosen.

    “We were very pleased, especially as I, myself, live in Bromsgrove.

    “I’m a local lad and I can’t think of a better way of spending a weekend – promoting the canal society and having a few beers or ciders.

    “Real ale and narrowboating go hand in hand,” he added.

    A host of awards were also given out, including the Rocklands Social Club being named the RBCAMRA Club of the Year and Ambridge Brewery’s Jester winning joint best ale of the Redditch Winter Ales Festival.

    John Novak, from the Ambridge Brewery, said: “It was amazing – we have only been going a year and this is our first proper award.

    “It’s something we can now build on.”