Good news and bad news
Good news: the Newbury Corn Exchange has received £240,045 as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
25th October to 1st November
The Watermill‘s new play Lone Flyer about the last flight of Amy Johnson is now running until 21st November. It’s another excellent production, with just two actors – ideal for social distancing. You can see my review of it on the Newbury Theatre web site.
More theatres are starting up again. A bit out of our area, but Oxford Theatre Guild have two plays in November, starting with Baggage from 3rd to 7th. The Mill at Sonning has been given a generous donation by George and Amal Clooney and is restarting this month. More details at Newbury Theatre.
Mortimer Dramatic Society have released The Snow Goose as an audiobook. For some years they have produces pieces for the hospital radio service at The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. One of these is a four-part presentation of Paul Galico’s novella. This beautifully poetic story, written in simple lyric prose, tells the story of Philip Rhayader a lonely hunchbacked artist who lives alone in an abandoned lighthouse on the desolate Great Marsh of Essex. One afternoon, a hauntingly beautiful child, Fritha, visits Rhayader, bringing with her an injured snow goose. At first Fritha is scared of Rhayader, with his sinister hump and crooked hand, but he is gentle and kind and Fritha begins to visit regularly. When the snow goose departs for home, Rhayader is left alone again. The following winter, the snow goose and Fritha return to the lighthouse. Time passes and one year Fritha is frightened to discover her feelings for Rhayader. But this is 1940 and Rhayader is setting sail for Dunkirk to help the soldiers trapped on the beaches. Fritha never sees Rhayader again. But the story of the saviour with the snow goose passes from soldier to soldier and into legend…
You can listen to the episodes now on the MDS web site, at www.mortimer-dramatic.org/the-snow-goose-audiobook
The Watermill are back! They started their return with two outdoor productions and now have indoor productions until the new year.
Lone Flyer, 21st October to 21st November
The Last Flight of Amy Johnson. 5 May 1930. Amy Johnson has a dream, but just how far will her dream take her? As the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, Amy’s career reached new heights, but the outbreak of the Second World War changes everything and she finds herself facing her greatest challenge yet. Driven by the need to escape from one life to another, follow Amy’s journey from humble beginnings to become one of Britain’s most influential female aviators. A powerful play about one of the most inspirational women of the twentieth century, written by The Watermill’s honorary associate artist Ade Morris, directed by creative associate Lucy Betts and designed by Isobel Nicolson, Lone Flyer had its premiere at The Watermill nearly 20 years ago. Picture above. You can see my review and others here.
A Christmas Carol, 26th November to 3rd January
By Charles Dickens. It’s Christmas Eve, and whilst London is alive with festive cheer and seasonal goodwill, the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge grows meaner by the minute. A heartless money lender, who cares more about counting his coins than for his fellow man, Scrooge despises Christmas and everything to do with it. But will a timely visit from the haunting ghosts of Christmas past, present and future change his wicked ways before it’s too late? Two actor-musicians introduce us to Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and a host of extraordinary characters as you have never seen them before in a festive retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. A Christmas Carol is reimagined by The Watermill’s playwright in residence Danielle Pearson and directed by creative associate Georgie Staight.
The Watermill Theatre Outreach department are delighted to announce three exciting online creative programmes, Onstage, Offstage and Backstage, giving participants of all ages the opportunity to develop skills with a range of industry professionals during a term of sessions. They are suitable for those who want to learn for fun and those who are interested in a career in the arts. Workshops will take place via Zoom and run weekly from the end of September to early December. Each of them has two evening sessions, one for primary school aged children and their families and the other for young people aged 11 + and adults. More information at www.watermill.org.uk
The Corn Exchange, Newbury is going strong with live theatre to West Berkshire.
Present Laughter, 5th November, 19:30
Matthew Warchus directs Andrew Scott in Noël Coward’s provocative comedy, captured as live from The Old Vic in London.
The Show Must Go Online has weekly readings of the Complete Plays of Shakespeare (Wednesdays, 19:00) by a global cast, in the order they were believed to have been written. It uses global casts, including professionals and amateurs, and you can either watch the plays or apply to read a part. You can stream previous readings of the plays, starting with Titus Andronicus.
The Winter’s Tale, 28th October
Cymbeline, 4th November