Bromsgrove Arts News

  • Tue 27 Dec 2016

    BROMSGROVE singer and writer Phil Haynes has released two new songs which he hopes will inspire residents across the district and beyond.

    He said the first ‘She Answered My Prayer’ was centred on the Pagan, Celtic, Druid practice of ‘Handfasting’ – getting married but without the convention, in the open air, such as in a forest. There people say the things they want to say to each other.

    His other song Energy is about the importance of energy and of being ‘in tune’ with your surroundings and situations.

    The new songs have been produced by Birmingham music producer, musician and engineer Bob Cheel and follow on from ‘It’s Christmas in Our Town’ – a traditional festive pop song which Phil wrote, performed and released as Vintage 12 back in 2014.

    Phil said: “I had a great time writing and recording the new songs – I just want people to have a listen and see what they think.”

    The Bromsgrove Day of Kindness was the brainchild of Phil but he has struggled to organise one this year, because of time restrictions.

    In 2017 he is hoping to start ‘Bromsgrove Let’s Talk’ to provide an opportunity for anyone to speak and listen on a variety of subjects they feel are important, from local issues to World events, along with spiritual and conspiratorial theories.

    Anyone wanting to find out more can call him on 07949 763027.

    Visit for more on Phil and his songs, which are available to download on Amazon, Google store, Spotify, iTunes and Deezer.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard and The Bromsgrove Advertiser

  • Thu 22 Dec 2016

    A SINGER-SONGWRITER from Bromsgrove has released a new CD to raise funds for the Primrose Hospice.

    ‘Find Your Song’ has been created by Keith Judson, the hospice’s chaplain, using his eldest son Ben’s school music studio.

    It features 14 songs – nine of them original by Keith with the remaining ones being put together by Ben, Tim (his middle son) and local songwriter Bryn Phillips.

    There are also a couple of traditional songs on the album as well.

    Since then Ben has pulled in some very talented musicians to produce the album which Keith said he was really pleased with.

    The tracks have now been mastered in a professional studio.

    The CDs are available from the Primrose Hospice and from Keith’s website – – for £10.

    All of the proceeds will be going to the charity and the studio and manufacturer have given discounts to keep production costs to a minimum and to help maximise the profit-margin for the Primrose.

  • Mon 17 Oct 2016

    MORE THAN 35 artists from the UK, USA, Germany and Spain will head to the Longbridge Light Festival next Saturday (October 22nd).

    Part of the Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP), the show will become a platform to showcase the work of multi-talented artists.

    The theme Shadow Factory is a historical reference to the Shadow Scheme of the Second World War, led by Lord Austin, founder of the Austin Motor Company.

    An urban myth details how Longbridge’s Second World War shadow factory was painted to resemble terraced houses from the air by local artists, painters and theatre set designers.

    Following the success of the first Longbridge Light Festival in 2014, this year’s offering brings a series a spectacular light and art installations across the town centre. There will also be a free festival on Saturday night featuring music, performance art, pop-up theatre, family workshops, artisanal market stalls and award-winning street food.

    And there will be art and performance from local schools and Bournville College students.

    Resident artist Whipps is also in the final stages of restoring a 1979 1275GT Mini, and has recorded former Longbridge workers reciting the names of every paint colour ever produced on the former car factory site.

    Visitors will be dazzled by a dramatic series of projections lighting up the night sky, a range of sculptural installations, and a series of works reflecting the local community’s heritage.

    The show kicks off at 6pm, runs until 10pm and admission is free.

    Visit for more information.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Sun 16 Oct 2016

    A RALLYING call has gone out to Bromsgrove residents to help secure the long-term future of the town’s Artrix.

    As they look towards the next decade and beyond, after an amazing and impressive first ten years, bosses and volunteers from the arts centre want people to help how they can with fund-raising.

    As well as putting on theatre, stage shows, films, exhibitions and concerts – from classical music and opera to musicals, pop, rock and panto, the centre also runs workshops and other education sessions.

    It also offers events for a people of all ages – from babies and toddlers to teenagers and vulnerable and older people.

    Recent additions to the programme have included drive-in movies in the car park, sensory play for toddlers and baby raves, along with the increasingly popular older people cinema sessions. Those who watch the films receive free tea, coffee and biscuits. One recently widowed elderly man told staff it was not until his wife passed away that he really began to value Artrix.

    On November 30 and December 1, Artrix’s new resident performance company will be staging ‘Get it On’ which is aimed at teenagers and explores sexual relationships and the health issues surrounding them.

    Monday (October 10) was World Mental Health Day and the centre currently has an exhibition of work on display done by 190 artists from across Worcestershire who have suffered mental health problems in the past.

    Artrix director Hannah Phillips said: “Alongside our vibrant programme of entertainment we have ambitions to widen our engagement with young people and families, to support emerging artists and develop innovative digital experiences for audiences.”

    There is also a bar and cafe area which has recently been revamped. Staff fear people will wrongly think the centre is exceeding all expectations financially and is extremely ‘well off’ when in fact the cash for that was money that had been ‘put away for a rainy day’ with bosses knowing the current cafe was ‘coming to the end of its shelf life’.

    A lot of the equipment and fittings were donated, as was people’s time as most of the work to get it up and running was done by volunteers.

    In fact, there are around 60 volunteers who carry out a variety of roles at the centre on a regular basis, from ushers, bar staff to other front of house roles.

    The sensory play area which is proving a hit with mums, dads, babies and toddlers was paid for by Coun Anthony Blagg’s divisional funds – cash allocated to each councillor to fund community projects.

    Rosie Hamilton, Artrix’s marketing and fund-raising officer, said: “There is a lot more to Artrix than meets the eye – we are increasingly finding new ways to use the space we have available and bring in new audiences.”

    For example, the foyer is being used more than ever before for meetings and events, such as quizzes, celebrations and poetry slams.

    Coming up there is a Diwali Day organised by the Indian Community Foundation, a stage show by David Starkey and plenty of fun for all the family for half-term.

    During that week, the BFG is being screened and there are two fun stage shows – Don’t Dribble on the Dragon and Shark in the Park based on the popular children’s book by top author Nick Sharratt, who has also twice appeared at Artrix.

    And following the success of the Grease drive-in movie, a spooky showing of Blade will be screened on October 30.

    Some renowned performers are also heading to the School Drive venue, including Hal Cruttenden who has featured on the prestige Live at the Apollo and on BBC Radio 4 (Wednesday, October 19), Zoe Lyons (October 27) and TV impressionist Rory Bremner with a ‘Work in Progress’ (November 10).

    Classical music fans are in for a treat from October 28 to 30 when there will be a rare opportunity to hear all of Beethoven’s String Quartets in one weekend.

    Rosie said: “If everyone who came to Artrix donated £5 or £10, it would really help secure the long-term future of the venue.

    “There was a lot of publicity surrounding the reduced contribution to the centre from Bromsgrove District Council and people rose to the challenge with fund-raising then but it has decreased as time has gone on.

    “Of course, we understand that Bromsgrove, like all local authorities, have faced funding cuts from the Government and are not able to contribute as much as they used to (the authority is still contributing £60,000-a-year until 2018).

    “But that shortfall has to be made up somehow.”

    One suggested way people could help is by thinking of Artrix when it comes to leaving legacies or even when they are buying Christmas presents.

    Rosie added: “Because of our diverse and ranging programme, residents could buy their family and friends vouchers this Christmas – there will be plenty for people of all ages and tastes in our 2017 programme to choose from.

    “The support we have had since Artrix was opened as been phenomenal and we have been overwhelmed and we are hoping everyone will continue to support us in any way they can.”

    Hannah added: “We would like to thank Bromsgrove District Council, Worcester County Council, Worcestershire Arts Partnership, Arts Council England and Birmingham City University for their continued support and to those people who have so generously contributed to our fundraising campaigns so far.

    “We’re excited about the future and hope that local people will want to help bridge the gap in our funding to support Artrix through the next decade.”

    For more on Artrix, shows, donating or volunteering, visit or call 01527 577330.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Fri 14 Oct 2016

    RESIDENTS of all ages wanting to have a go at singing in a choir can go along to a special taster session being held this evening (Friday).

    The open rehearsal will be taking place from 7.15pm to 8pm and all adults and accompanied children are welcome to the event.

    The St John’s Choir director of music Steve Cowperthwaite said: “Anyone is welcome to come along and have a go at singing some easy music and meet some members of the choir.”

    Refreshments will be available at the free session.

    Email steve [dot] cowperthwaite [at] btinternet [dot] com for more information on the choir.

  • Wed 12 Oct 2016

    ‘THE SECRET Weapons that Won the War – the History of RAF Defford’ will be the subject of the next talk to be held by the Bromsgrove Society’s Local History Group.

    The presentation about one of the nearest RAF stations to Bromsgrove will be given by David Vernon at 7.45pm next Tuesday (October 18) at the town’s Methodist Centre.

    The station is now part of the National Trust’s Croome Park estate.  David will reveal the crucial part played in the war effort by this – now long abandoned – RAF station.

  • Sat 8 Oct 2016

    THE LATEST WORDS event to be held in Bromsgrove will see Bruce O’Neil, the director of music at the Royal Shakespeare Company, head to Artrix’s Studio.

    Bruce will speak about the pervading importance of music in Shakespeare’s plays and its influence on Stratford productions.

    This year marks the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.


    The presentation begins at 7.30pm next Sunday (October 16).Tickets are £15, available by visiting or by calling 01527 577330.

    Visit for more information

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Tue 16 Aug 2016

    BROMSGROVE's Artrix and Birmingham Repertory Theatre are joining forces to give young aspiring actors the chance to make it on stage.

    Artrix Young Rep, which is launching in Bromsgrove in September, will enable 14 to 19-year-olds to develop their acting and improvisation skills alongside industry professionals.

    There will be performance opportunities at Artrix and Birmingham Rep and participants will have the chance to produce contemporary theatre that is inspiring, vibrant and fun.

    Artrix director Hannah Phillips said: "We are delighted to be partnering with Birmingham REP and offer this exciting training opportunity for young people in Bromsgrove who are serious about acting and performing."

    Youngsters taking part will train each week with an experienced Birmingham Rep theatre director.

    Steve Ball, associate director at the Rep, said: "We are very excited about the opportunity to engage with young people in Bromsgrove and develop a working partnership between Artrix and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre."

    Artrix Young Rep is set to launch on Wednesday, September 21 at Artrix. Sessions will then take place every Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm and will cost £110 per term.

    To book, or for further details, visit or call the box office on 01527 577330.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Advertiser

  • Sun 14 Aug 2016

    MORE than 500 visitors headed to Avoncroft Museum over the weekend to find out more about the turbulent medieval era.

    History really was brought to life by 100 knights who also converged on the venue on Saturday and Sunday (August 6 and 7) for the Buckingham retinue event.

    As well as the re-enactors, there was also demonstrations of the costumes of the time, how the food was prepared and a talk on weapons and armour, archery and firepower.

    Whilst medieval battles took place, there was much merriment provided by performances of medieval music and dance and younger visitors got to join in with the drills, try on armour and take a closer look at the weapons used.

    Museum director Simon Carter said: “It was a really event for us and we had over 550 visitors over the weekend. the weather was kind to us and people found out a lot about the late medieval and early Tudor eras from these fantastic professional group of re-enactors.”

    For more information about Avoncroft Museum events, go to

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Fri 5 Aug 2016

    MUSICIANS are urgently needed to lead the Sunday worship at Beacon Church Centre in Rubery.

    The Beacon Church Centre is the only free church in the village and the Sunday morning service usually attracts between 30 and 40 people, with that raising to more than 100 on special occasions.

    The appeal follows the death of the church’s last organist.


    The ideal person or people would be Christian and have experience of playing either an organ, keyboard, piano or guitar.

    They must also be familiar with contemporary and traditional hymns and songs and, ideally, would be available once or twice a month for the 11am Sunday service and occasionally the 6.30pm one.

    This is a voluntary position, but a small retainer will be offered to cover expenses.

    Anyone interested should call Rev Ian Ring on 01562 710231 or e-mail him at revianring [at] aol [dot] com to find out more about the role or to discuss it.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard