Bromsgrove Arts News

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  • Tue 7 Feb 2017

    CHANGES are being made to Birmingham’s Community Library Service which would see a reduction in opening hours for both Northfield and Frankley libraries.

    Under the changes being undertaken by Birmingham City Council to save £1.9million from the budget by 2018/19 the Northfield Library, Church Road, is considered a ‘Tier 1’ library and Frankley in the Tier 2 bracket.

    It means, should the proposals be given the go ahead by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday (February 14), Northfield would open for 35 hours a week, rather than the 39 it is now. Self-service equipment will be installed.

    Frankley would be open for 21 hours, rather than the current 21.5 it is now although council bosses say there could be other options, such as ‘working with partners’ which could see an increase in those hours.

    Across Birmingham the number of full-time library staff would be reduced from 112 to 99 but, council chiefs say, that is up from the original proposal of cutting to 88.

    The city-wide book fund would increase to £380,000 from the £140,000 and the repairs and maintenance fund for libraries would also go up by £50,000 to £145,000 per year – both those would be annual budgets set until further notice.

    In addition to that, there would be an investment of £800,000 in new technology to improve self-service facilities for library users.

    Coun Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council’s deputy leader, said when the public consultation was launched last year he made it clear it was a genuine chance to ask residents for their ideas to deliver a library service within the financial constraints the authority was having to operate under.

    “I am delighted by the engagement we have had through our series of public meetings, consultation survey, petitions and other channels.

    “Almost 2,000 formal responses were received, which confirms how well-regard the city’s service is – and by working collaboratively we’ve been able to come up with revised proposals that address our challenges and broadly meet the wishes of partners and citizens.”

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Sun 5 Feb 2017

    A PROGRAMME of events have been organised across Bromsgrove to celebrate LGBT month.

    It starts with a photographic exhibition ‘Be Masculine, Be Feminine, Be Both, Be Neither, Be Unapologetic’ by Megan Jackson who has been exploring different presentations of gender in her photography.

    A book display featuring LGBT authors and related subjects will also be held at Bromsgrove Library.

    Now in its sixth year, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month has a new addition – two ‘drive-in movies’ at Artrix.

    The first – Dirty Dancing – will be on February 14 and the second – Carol – will be on Feruary 15.

    Parking will open at 6pm with the films starting at 7.30pm.

    Admission is £20 per car and food is also available including hot dogs, burgers, veggie burgers and fish and chips.

    Tickets for these events must be booked in advance.

    Bromsgrove and Redditch councils are also supporting the celebrations by offering a month’s programme of events, exhibitions and information displays at Artrix and Bromsgrove Library.

    Coun Peter Whittaker, portfolio-holder for leisure services, said “We are proud to be supporting LGBT History Month and this year’s programme is bigger, better and more thought-provoking than ever.

    “I hope residents really enjoy and get involved.”

    LGBT History Month is held annually to celebrate and recognise contributions made to society by LGBT members of the community.

    Email equalities [at] bromsgroveandredditch [dot] gov [dot] uk or visit for more details.

    Reprinted by kind permission of he Bromsgrove Standard

  • Sat 4 Feb 2017

    AN AUTHOR from Barnt Green is set to publish his latest book charting the forgotten sacrifices made by British sailors during the First World War.

    ‘Securing the Narrow Sea’ by Steve Dunn details personal accounts from members of the Dover Patrol as they fought to keep control of the English channel during the Great War of 1914 to 1918.

    The book details how anti-submarine work, shore bombardment and barrage building was undertaken, along with how vessels, including trawlers and yachts manned by volunteers, complemented Cruisers and Destroyers from the Royal Navy, to secure control of the channel.

    Other duties included the protection of troops and supplies to the Western Front and ship-to-ship engagements with German forces.

    Mr Dunn told the Standard “This was the longest, arduous, continual campaign to protect Britain’s supply chain, with 2,000 personnel making the ultimate sacrifice. What stands out about these men is their uncomplaining devotion to a hard duty.

    “They coped with the daily perils as they fought against the German u-boat threat in an effort to protect Britain’s supply chain.”

    A wealth of eye-witness material held by the Imperial War Museum, the Churchill Archives and the National Archives was accessed whilst researching for the book, providing details of how a raid on Zeebrugge in 1918 resulted in Victoria Crosses being awarded to a number of the patrol.

    ‘Securing the Narrow Sea’ is the fifth book written on the First World War by Mr Dunn since he gave up his day job to become a full-time author.

    Previous books by this author include ‘Blockade cruiser warfare’, ‘The scapegoat’ – about Admiral Craddock, and ‘Formidable’, the first British Battleship sunk by torpedo.

    Securing the Narrow Sea is available from all good bookshops, and – it is priced at £25.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Fri 3 Feb 2017

    A SINGER-songwriter from Rubery is releasing a song to campaign against gun, knife and other violent crimes.

    Lucy Shaw will be using her song ‘Gunshots’ to put forward a positive message of hope about gun, knife and other violent crimes, and to profile hospital radio and its volunteers across the UK.

    “Growing up in Birmingham I am aware of gun and knife crime and the impact it has on society.

    “I see the inhumane acts of violence that cause suffering through the use of weapons, and I want it to end.”

    The single is set to be launched next Saturday (February 11) on the hospital radio network with people requested to listen to the track on either Spotify, iTunes or hospital radio.

    Lucy also urged people to speak to those around them about the dangers of carrying weapons and ask them why they felt the need to possess them.

    She added the hard work of the emergency services and staff in A&E departments has influenced her campaign.

    Search for ‘Lucy Shaw Music’ on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and SoundCloud for more on Lucy and go to @lucyshawmusic to follow her on Twitter.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Tue 31 Jan 2017

    A GROUP of Bromsgrove students have tackled the concept of age discrimination through a thought-provoking photography exhibition.

    As part of an ‘intergenerational project’ at North Bromsgrove High School, the Year 13 photography students produced a series of images, which are now being exhibited to the public for a number of weeks from yesterday (Friday) at Artrix.

    Sixth-formers also worked with the volunteers in utilising photography equipment and editing software to overcome technological barriers.

    Katy Travers, an art and photography teacher who was approached to organise the project, said: “The aim of the project was to portray the volunteers in unconventional settings in order to get people to think differently about the older people in our community.

    “Our sixth-formers really enjoyed working on the project and are very pleased with the final images.”

    Community Safety Project Officer Wendy Thompson from the Bromsgrove and Redditch Community Safety Team has supported the project, which has been funded by the Safer Bromsgrove CSP Group.

    Reprinted by kind permission og The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Mon 30 Jan 2017

    A SHOWCASE of local musicians are set to perform at Artrix to raise funds to support refugees.

    Organised by Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees (BRWR), ‘Gimme Shelter’ is a fundraising concert supporting the local Syrian community who arrived this summer and to help refugees displaced across Europe.

    Held on Wednesday (February 22) at 7pm, the concert will see performances from Rubery poet ‘Spoz, Oya Batucada Samba, Jack Blackman, Abi Budgen and Dan Wilkins.

    Alistair Waugh of BRWR, said: “We’re planning a sensational night with a lively Samba band, Bromsgrove’s Town Crier and a wealth of local talent that spans several styles.

    “The message behind the concert is simple; we all feel love and pain. And we all deserve a safe place to live.

    “We chose the title ‘Gimme Shelter’, by The Rolling Stones, as the song sums up the cause well.”

    BRWR also works in partnership with Worcestershire charity ‘People In Motion’ who are helping at refugee camps in France, Serbia and Greece.

    Tickets cost £15 and are available at Artrix Box Office on 01527 577330 or visit for more information.


    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • 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