Friday, 18 December 2009

Merry Christmas Everybody!

It's officially the end of term here at the Bradon Forest Theatre, so I'm signing off for the Christmas break! We've had a really great Autumn/Winter season and I'm already looking forward to what's coming up in the New Year! Make sure you keep an eye on the website for full listings. Photos from Wednesday's concert can be found in the usual place.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful fun filled Christmas time. I'm also holding out for some snow. The few teaser flakes this morning are only reminding me of the powder we had last year and I'd love to be able to snowboard in Wiltshire again! At least if it happens over Christmas it shouldn't affect things at work... but I'm already imagining a cross-country ski effort over to my folks on Christmas morning :O)

If you're venturing out in the bitter cold to see The Shudders tonight, I'll see you there! If not, see you here on the 29th January for Full Twist.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Busking

Our musicians entertained shoppers at West Swindon Centre last night with a variety of delightful festive tunes. Performances alternated between our choirs and concert band, with a few brave soloists thrown in for good measure! They raised almost £200 for Prospect Hospice in the 3 hours they were there. If you'd like to be entertained by this talented bunch of young performers, then don't miss the Christmas Concert tomorrow night. Tickets are just £2 and it starts at 7pm. The PTA will be hosting a 'mulled wine and mince pie bar', so bring some change!

Monday, 14 December 2009

I Heart Florence and the Machine

I don't think I've been to Brixton Academy since the Dodgy Christmas Party back in the 90's. Yes, it's been a while I know! Last night I made the trip back and it was well worth the wait. Florence and the Machine absolutely blew my mind. When I first heard Rabbit Heart I instantly thought her voice would be worth selling your soul for.

They opened with the beautiful My Boy Builds Coffins which, after a great warm up by The Temper Trap, had everyone singing along. She then brought on the choir to join the band and orchestra! Highlights for me were Cosmic Love which was performed in front of a glittering star cloth, always a crowd pleaser, and Drumming Song. The finale was Dog Days Are Over (a personal favourite) followed by You've Got The Love... with the whole crowd being rained on by a shower of confetti hearts.

The encore was a bit of a marmite effort with a cover of Beyonce's Halo. She instantly won over any non-believers with the last song of the night, Rabbit Heart. I'd worn the wrong shoes for trailing through London, but even I was dancing at the end! My throat hurts from singing and I'm just holding out for the Singstar Florence edition. Maybe that's one I'll have to sing along to on my own.

I heart Florence. A lot. She sings so beautifully I could cry. If you can catch her live then do it.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Weekend festivities start here!

This evening the Bradon Forest Choirs and soloists will be performing classic Christmas carols in a special concert at St Mary's Church, Purton. The annual performance is always a delight. Who doesn't love the chance to sing along? The concert starts at 7pm, but be sure to arrive early as parking is limited. It is of course a free event, but the church will be taking a collection for it's supported charities.

If a bit of Scrooge at this time of year is more your thing, then don't miss A Christmas Carol at the Sundial Theatre at Cirencester College, starring ex-Bradon Forest Theatre students! The show opened yesterday with a matinee, but the first evening performance is tonight. See their website for more details.

If you liked what you saw here on 20th November, Jo Stroud has two gigs coming up before Christmas... Thursday 10th at 12bar starting at around 8pm and supporting the Sweet Plums and the HUB. You can also catch her at a charity gig on Sunday 13th at 12bar. See the website for more details.

Monday, 7 December 2009

'Tis the season to be jolly...'

... fa la la la la, la la la laaaa! Well, it's official. My tree is up as is my collection of tacky Santa's, I've already taken down three Christmas movies, an episode of Robbie the Reindeer and the first installment of the Hogfather, and my sequin dress is pressed and ready for the weekend. Well, not pressed. That would be silly. The iron would probably melt the sequins. But it's hanging up ready to go! It's Christmas!!

Our Bradon Forest Theatre production of Mary Teresa's Cupboard went superbly well last week and a review will be up shortly, but in the mean time... if you enjoyed that and are eager to be entertained by something other than Robbie the Reindeer this Christmas, then read on...

* Make sure you head down to Riffs Bar on Wednesday 16th December after our Christmas Concert here at the theatre for the Ragdoll Magazine awesome Christmas party. They have Disco Pie Rats, The Shuffle and Polly and the Kettles as well as karaoke and fancy dress!

* The Shudders are having a festive ho-down at 12 Bar on Friday 18th December to launch their new album. Not to be missed!

* The Empire Theatre Company will be entertaining audiences with the classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at Swindon Arts Centre from 18th - 27th December.

* The Wyvern Theatre will be hosting their annual pantomime and this year it's Sleeping Beauty starring Lorraine Chase, or you can choose a slightly more cultured evening and catch the Russian State Ballet in January. Keep an eye on their calendar though as The Woman in Black is my 'one to watch'.

* Get the 29th January in your diary now as PangGotic Circus Theatre Company will be opening the 2010 season at the Bradon Forest Theatre with their amazing Full Twist. Stay tuned for more details.

If you are hosting a festive event then let me know and I'll mention it before the hols... fa la la la la, la la la laaaa!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Last chance!

Tonight is your last chance to see Mary Theresa's Cupboard! Read what the audience are saying about it...
"It was really funny. It was spooky. And it was actually quite moving.
I don't quite know how to feel about it!"
"That was brilliant! I've been to see it Wednesday and Thursday
and I'll be back again tonight!"

"Tremendous show. The cast performed superbly. Well done."

There are a few tickets left so don't miss your chance to see this imaginative piece of theatre. Call the hotline on 01793 773981 to reserve your ticket!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Endorsement from Mr Bond...

So you don't have to take only my word for it, here's some feedback from the opening show...

"It definitely wasn't the sickly sweet seasonal fayre I was expecting, so a massive thumbs up from this Scrooge! I loved the dark undertones of this piece and its central theme, which were wrapped around some great ensemble acting. Highlights for me included the visit to the estate agents and that song, the poisoned dwarf (sorry, disenchanted elf) and a genuinely frightening bank manager. I was disappointed not to be offered a mug of builder’s tea, but then again, I daren’t ask…"

There are still a few tickets left for tonight and tomorrow... don't miss Mary Theresa's Cupboard!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Opening Night!

Oh my word, I'm so excited! Opening night tonight for Mary Theresa's Cupboard. There are a few tickets left so give me a call to make sure you get yours!

01793 773981

Weds 2 - Fri 4 December
Tickets: £3 students, £4 adults
Run time: Approx 1. hr 15

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Circomedia Annual Christmas Cabaret

Message from Circomedia: There are still a few tickets left for the Birdacge Circomedia Annual Christmas cabaret on Thursday of this week. The show is a real treat this year with exciting doubles trapeze, an amazing hand balancing act, some troublesome magicians and your comedy compere Rod Laver. As usual the show is accompanied by a delightful seasonal meal. Tickets, including the 3 course meal are £49.50. For more information look here:

For tickets contact the Colston Hall Box Office on 0117 922 3686


I couldn't help but put these clips of 'Polly's' tantrums up... just as a teaser :o) Wednesday is selling out fast, but at the moment there are still tickets left for all three shows. Reserve yours today so you're not disappointed!

Mary Theresa's Cupboard
Written and performed by Bradon Forest Theatre students

Wednesday 2 - Friday 4 December

Tickets: £3 students, £4 adults.

Monday, 30 November 2009

'Worth seeing for the Estate Agent scene alone!'

I've just sat through the first dress rehearsal for Mary Theresa's Cupboard, and I have to tell you... it looks fantastic! They are still ironing out a few creases but it will be ready to rumble for Wednesday night.

I urge you all to come and spend the evening with us. If you've never been to the Bradon Forest Theatre before, make this your first experience and get yourself in the Christmas spirit at the same time! It is December 1st tomorrow after all!

If you like Alice in Wonderland or A Christmas Carol, then you will LOVE this show. The students have worked so hard on it and you won't believe that they've created it themselves. We have a talented bunch here! Bring your friends and family with you... they'll only feel bad if you go home raving about this amazing show, and you wouldn't want that so close to Christmas now, would you?

Mary Theresa's Cupboard
Wednesday 2 - Friday 4 December
Tickets: £4 adults, £3 students

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Mary Theresa's Cupboard trailer

Well, it took me a little while, but I've managed to create a short animation as the trailer for our show next week! It's not the smoothest of sequences as this is still all pretty new to me, but I think it's a little better than my last attempt!

I had to create it in Keynote (Apple's version of powerpoint) and then export as a movie file. The video quality is poor because of youtube restrictions, but you get the idea!

Hopefully it will persuade you to come and watch this fantastic show! You know what to do if you want a ticket... email me or call 01793 773981.

UPDATE: I'd actually really like to be able to do stuff like this. Tamsin, you're my new hero. I love your stuff :O)

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Dacoits Rock!

I've uploaded some photos from Friday's gig on to our Flickr page, but here's the slideshow for your enjoyment. The show went really well and The Dacoits and Jo Stroud were amazing! A review will be coming this way shortly from one of the audience members who kindly volunteered as a guest blogger. Watch this space..

We had some really good feedback from the audience which we're taking into account. I can't reveal anything yet but there are a few small changes coming to enhance your experience at the theatre. Oooh! As always, I'll post on here first!

That's the last gig of the year for The Dacoits, but if you missed Friday, make sure you check out Jo at the Underage Festival at 12 Bar on the 13th December.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Live music this Friday!

We're hoping that you'll join us for a spot of live music in the theatre on Friday! It's our first professional music gig of the season and we are proud to present The Dacoits, with support from the talented singer/songwriter, Jo Stroud.

Show starts at 7pm and tickets are just £2! It should be finished by 9pm, so you'll have plenty of time to head to the pub/get back to your couch/have an early night!

Here's a message from The Dacoits:

"Due to the wonders of the modern age you can now buy The Dacoits album online. If you go to then you can find magical ways to buy physical and computery versions of our debut record. I realise that 'computery' isn't the right terminology, but all this downloading may well be taking the romance out of the fine art of CD buying. I've heard you can download the album from amazon for only £3.99 which sounds to me like we're being ripped off. Guess we'll need to sell a lot of copies before I can realise my dream of travelling everywhere by servant-drawn-rickshaw.

So, one more gig to go before we call it a day until 2010, it's gonna be a special hard rocking farewell to 2009 at Bradon Forest Theatre in Purton, and we're to be supported by a very talented young lady by the name of Jo Stroud.

Thanks for all your support this year, and we'll see you in 2010.

the Dacoits

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Review: Insane in the Brain

Looking back over my notes from last nights show, it's funny to see I obviously had some prejudgements regarding Insane in the Brain, a 'street dance version of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest' by Bounce. The show opens with a stage full of dancers dressed in incredibly baggy grey tracksuits wearing white masks. It soon becomes apparent that they also have masks on the back of their heads, as they bust moves that are clearly only possible for the double jointed. An impressive start which then leads to my first note: 'Acting?'

Now, I've read One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest so i knew the story. Randall Patrick McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson in the 1975 film) is a lively gentlemen who agrees to be committed to a mental institution rather than being sent to a work camp. He then proceeds to inject life and energy in to the ward which had previously doomed it's inhabitants to a miserable existence. McMurphy teaches them how to break free from the binds of their illnesses to prove that life is worth living. The scene where we first meet the patients is an awkward exchange of dialogue between the performers, who are clearly more at home with dancing than acting. Thankfully, this was short, and the story is then told through the dancing that we were itching to see after the opening scene. At times the performers 'danced' childish and simple sign language to indicate to the audience what was happening, but I don't think this worked we are smart enough to work out the plot without any of the sign language.

Next we saw the patients humiliated by the guards as they slept. I felt that the music and lighting was weak and could have been better used to enhance the scene. However, after watching the whole show, I see that Bounce were just building the audience up... teasing them with hints of genius before unleashing the climax of the action.

My next note simply says 'worth watching for the bed scene alone!' If I had any reservations over what I was watching, they were instantly blown away by this very slick and perfectly timed sequence where the patients were dancing in and out of bed as individual lights flicked on and off (see pic above). This was seriously impressive! From this point on Insane in the Brain just got better and better. From the yard scene, where a 10 foot fence stood between the cast and audience while McMurphy taught his fellow patients how to dance, to the ward party, where they indulged a little too much on drugs and alcohol, the performers were outstanding. At times they were all doing the same dance routine, but effortlessly in character (with their own quirky mannerisms)... and then add to the mix dancing the same routine, as different characters, and then that character drunk and hallucinating... it was impressive!

I'm loathed to give too much away as I urge you all to catch this show tonight, but it's really tempting to describe every scene (the patient torture, beautiful love scene, the cinema film dance off... are just a few of my favourites)! What I will say is that when there is a dance off in place of a physical fight, you know you're in for a entertaining evening.

Insane in the Brain is a high energy, stylishly executed and very moving piece of dance theatre. I admit I was suprised I enjoyed it so much, but if you get the chance to see the show you won't regret it.

NB: Thank you to the Wyvern Theatre for their hospitality and a splendid night out. Make sure you check out What's On as they have some interesting shows booked in this season. Also, just to add, I haven't been since the reopening, but the seats are supremely more comfortable than the Theatre Royal. ;o)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's

I took my mother to the theatre on Saturday to see Breakfast at Tiffany's, at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a delightful tale, originally by Truman Capote, which tells the tale of Holly Golightly, an intensely popular socialite who winds up in a spot of trouble. The part is played superbly by Anna Friel, who is a more boisterous and playful interpretation of the character that was so infamously portrayed by Audrey Hepburn, but I think, much closer to Capote's Holly. She makes a valient effort at being as stylish as Hepburn, but the sadness of Holly is delightfully subtle compared to the film version.

The cast obviously know the play inside and out and I have to admit to taking about 15 minutes to adapt to their verbal efficiency. But once my ears had adjusted I was able to sink in to the wonderful characters and their highs and tribulations.

The stage was set with a reverse window frame through which you could see the bustle of the streets outside the famous jewellery store. As the curtain lifted, so did the frame and we were treated to a very stylish set. There were two traditional 'New York' fire exit staircases on wheels, a platform mid way up the back of the set (which was used for various scenes throughout) and a New York skyline which alternated between silhouette and projected image.

The whole play was very stylish and slick and the scene changes were flawless. It payed homage to the orginal film, but still had it's own identity and I liked that. Capote has a real flair for fleshing out his characters and I've always enjoyed his books, but this stage adaptation transported me into Holly's world just like the first time I read Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I'd never been to the Theatre Royal before and I have to say it is a delightful venue with great views of the stage, even from near the back of the stalls. I must add though that they could do with some extra leg space - my Mum and I are always thankful for the intervals!

I'd highly recommend a trip to London for this one, and I know it's all down to advertising, but I have a real penchant for some diamond earrings now...

Guest Review - Rebecca watches 'Limelight & Lunacy'

We have had a guest review in from one of the audience members, Rebecca Brett-Harris. Thanks for taking the time Rebecca!

"Mary Lou provided an entertaining insight into the underlying themes of the well known fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood and into the social complications faced in the late 1900s.
Better Red than Dead explored the Character of Red Riding Hood through contemporary dance, physical theatre and ballet, transforming her from a scared child into a wolf murdering vixen. Set against the back drop of atmospheric and jovial music, the audience could not help but watch Red’s near fatal encounter with the hungry wolf. The flawless mixture of contemporary and balletic moves allowed the characters to reveal their darker animal emotions as the power shifted between them as effortlessly as their balances and bodily entwining.  
It was the Wolf’s character that perturbed, yet entertained me the most. From his strong powerful balletic technique to the animalistic motifs incorporated into his movements, the comedic singing to the now dead Grandmother as she was being digested; all were tinted with a macabre side of the beast who hunts his prey. The playful wolf had a sinister side and echoes of vampirism as he toyed with eating Red during an earlier meeting.
The balance of humor and tension matched the themes of this fairy tale as the audience willed Red’s success but couldn’t help buying in to the Wolf’s more gentlemanly and charming side. 
Limelight and Lunacy- the second half to this performance offered a mix of cabaret, dance and theatre as the 4 characters explored and discovered the true side to their existence. Another fitting musical score accentuated the themes and relationships between these characters as they explored their darker and natural human desires.  
Unlike Better Red than Dead, the narrative became the main focal point of this piece as we witnessed the characters demise into madness which at times overshadowed the choreography. The use of props and set were incorporated seamlessly into the piece to provide interesting levels, power shifts and areas of concealment for more madness to appear from. The beauty of this piece was its chaos which was mirrored through the piece in various ways but all tying together to show the suppression and sometimes oppression of living in that time. 
Both pieces were a joy to watch, although some things were lost on the younger members of the audience, they still allowed the chance to view a fine piece of physical dance performed by a highly skilled and talented cast- let’s hope there are more fine things to come in the future."

[Original review post here.]

Friday, 13 November 2009

Promoting Local Events

This is going to be a regular feature so if you are organising any local events, give me a shout and I'll promote them on here. Comps are always welcome too if you'd like a review ;o)

If you like Flight of the Conchords, you might like this: 
Mitch Benn and The Distractions
Thursday 19 November | 8pm | The Arts Centre 
Tickets £12

Mitch Benn brings his unique brand of musical satire to the Swindon Arts Centre this November with his ‘Where Next?’ tour... From BBC Radio 4’s Sony nominated ‘Now Show’, BBC1’s ‘One Show’ and BBC Radio 7’s ‘Mitch Benn Music Show’, multi-award winner Mitch Benn and his band take to the road in a two hour show packed with new songs and old favourites. Described by The Times as ‘the country’s leading musical satirist’, for music and comedy fans of all ages this is an evening not to be missed.

If you like Dizzy Rascal you might like this:
Bounce presents Insane in the Brain 
17, 18 November | 7.30pm | Wyvern Theatre
Tickets £10 - £17

The classic story of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is injected with a large dose of hip hop energy by Bounce. This exciting company is known for creating high energy, imaginative street-dance theatre, enjoying hit runs at both London’s Peacock Theatre and the Roundhouse. In the confines of a psychiatric hospital, breakdance becomes a way of expressing freedom and rebelling against the iron rule of Nurse Ratched – who happens to be a ballet fan. A fantastic soundtrack including hits from stars like Missy Elliot, Dizzie Rascal, Gotan Project, David Holmes and Cypress Hill creates this fastpaced show that is at times funny, moving and always packed to the rafters with high octane dance moves.
Contains adult themes and some violence. Parental discretion advised.

If you like loose limbed physical comedy, you might like this:
Terry Alderton
Saturday 21 November | 8pm | The Arts Centre
Tickets £12

Until now, ex-Southend goalkeeper and former holiday camp entertainer was comedy's best-kept secret. This amazing act is a riot of enthusiastic, loose-limbed physical comedy, extraordinary caricatures and stunningly acute impressions. Combining a fearless on-stage presence, unshakable confidence and streetwise hyperactive delivery, Terry leaves his audience exhilarated and exhausted with laughter.

Peek inside the Technicolor mind of one of Britain’s finest comic talents and, find him desperately doing battle with all the strange and hilariously unpredictable demons, that have decided to set up home there.

Terry is a popular choice in the world of comedy, and regularly treads the boards all over the globe. Leading him to perform along side some of comedies biggest international stars. Recently working with Joan Rivers and Eddie Izzard who proclaimed him to be a ‘very funny comic with a ‘fantastic comedy mind’, but someone who really ought to seek some sort of professional help.

A most unforgettable evening of laughter!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Marie-Lou Review

Yesterday's show was different to anything that I've seen in our theatre before, but not any less interesting because of it. We have a guest review coming in a couple of days, but in the mean time, I thought it only polite to leave you with a few of my thoughts.

Better Red Than Dead: the evening started with the tantilising tale of Little Red Riding Hood and her flirtacious relationship with a highly charged wolf. Although the opening scene with the mother left me a little bemused, once Red had entered the forest I was easily swallowed in to the well known fairytale. The performance used little or no props and the 'set' was created purely by lighting and music which was executed to perfection. I really liked the use of the soundtrack as the backdrop to the physical theatre, as the actors movements told the story - there was almost no need for any dialogue at all... except of course then you wouldn't have had the lines:

Red: I will not sleep with with him on the first date, or I will be left alone and very afraid.
Wolf: I will not eat her on the first date, or I will be left alone and very afraid.
You could almost smell the testosterone of the wolf once he pranced on stage. The 'courting' followed by the very dramatic flirting built up nicely with the choice of music, and the wolf's slow motion plunge for the neck sent a chill down my spine. Although, as I've said, the piece worked really well on our stage, you could imagine the whole story working on a larger scale with huge dramatic sets and costumes. I'm glad we got to see it as it was last night. It was a real treat to experience an unsual and high class performance.

[Update: review from audience member here.]

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Free Theatre Tickets? Surely not!

Now here's something you don't see every day - a night out at the theatre for free!

If you’re under 26 and want to try something different, then you can get free tickets to some of the best shows around. Follow this link to search for participating theatre.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Marie-Lou presents...

Ever wondered what a contemporary dance drama interpretation of the sexual tension between Little Red Riding Hood & the wolf would be like? Then don't miss Better Red than Dead this Wednesday in the theatre!

Marie-Louise presents a double bill of high-class physical theatre & dance.

"A guaranteed ‘good night out’ that will appeal to a wide audience of theatre-goers, film-buffs, book-lovers and culture-vultures alike."
A macabre and hilarious piece of physical theatre ‘Limelight and Lunacy’ explores the attitudes and standards of late 19th century society, when desires were forced into hiding, beneath a facade of etiquette and decorum. This group piece centres around the relationships between four hapless vaudeville performers, who gradually lose the plot in a world of music hall madness

‘Better Red Than Dead’ uncovers the themes and metaphors within the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood. We reveal the sexual tension between Red and Wolf as both fall prey to animal instinct and we revel in the fear of both the unknown and the inevitable. Prepare those peepers for a feasting in this piece of highly inventive dance theatre.

Wednesday 11th November
Tickets: £5 students, £4 adults

Call 01793 773981 to reserve yours today!

Friday, 6 November 2009

28th Annual Purton Artists Exhibition

The Purton Arts Society have their annual exhibition in Purton Village Hall this weekend. The talented group have once again invited Bradon Forest students to submit artwork for this prestigious event and our GCSE artists haven't let us down with their amazing variety of pieces.

Tonight is the private viewing, but if you're passing through the village on Saturday or Sunday then make sure you pop in to take a look. As well as some amazing paintings, drawings and pastel work there are some lovely ceramics and wood work on display, most of which are for sale! (Christmas is coming up you know!)

Our students work is on the stage and looks amazing. You won't regret making the effort!

Council Office
Village Hall
Tel. 01793 771066

Thursday, 5 November 2009

If you've never heard any post modern pirate rock...

The Shudders are playing an album launch gig on Friday 18th December at 12 Bar... see you there.

Twitter this

I've succumbed to the whole Twitter thing... Check out the link on the left and follow us! I'll try not to tweet about what I had for lunch ;o)

RSS Feed Update

Just to let you all know you may want to update your RSS feed to this site. Google has taken over Feedburner so I've updated the link to the left. You can also click here to renew the link and choose how you receive the feed!

Monday, 2 November 2009

"A macabre and hilarious piece of physical theatre"

Phew! That was close... I almost didn't make it make after the half term break! I had a slight altercation with Jaws and well... I know it's just been Halloween, but I'll just assume you don't want to hear the gory details! Needless to say I just about survived and am back safe and sound... which is good news, otherwise I'd miss all of the great shows we have coming up!

Talking of which, the next show is only just over a week away!

Marie-Louise presents a double bill of high-class physical theatre & dance:

"A guaranteed 'good night out' that will appeal to a wide audience of theatre-goers, film-buffs, book lovers and culture-vultures alike."
A macabre and hilarious piece of physical theatre, 'Limelight & Lunacy' explores the attitudes and standards of late 19th century society, when desires were forced into hiding, beneath and fa├žade of etiquette and decorum. This group piece centres around the relationships between four hapless vaudeville performers, who gradually lose the plot in a world of music hall madness.

'Better Red Than Dead' uncovers the themes and metaphors within the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood. We reveal the sexual tension between Red and Wolf as both fall prey to animal instinct and we revel in the fear of both the unknown and the inevitable. Prepare those peepers for a feasting in this piece of highly inventive dance theatre.

Showing Wednesday 11th November at 7.30pm. Tickets are just £5 for students and £6 for adults. Call me on 01793 773981 to reserve yours today!

Right, now I'm just going to have to go and re-dress these wounds...

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Big Top Festival - photos

It's almost here! Just two more days until the half term break! Woohoo! Not that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed this term... it's been packed full of amazing shows and rehearsals, talking of which...

This years December production by the students will be Mary Theresa's Cupboards... a crazy show that has been devised and scripted by David Calder and the students. More info on this to follow after the break, but I can tell you you won't want to miss it!

The week after we get back we have Marie-Lou in with a double bill of physical theatre. Marie-Lou is one of the countries top choreographers so we're in for a real treat. Keep Wednesday 11th November free in your diary and don't forget to reserve your ticket!

But for now, just to keep you going, click the picture to go to the flickr collection for the Big Top Festival and reminisce about the summer... that should put a smile on your face during this rain spell. And as for me? I'll see you after the break. Florida here I come, woop, woop!

Friday, 16 October 2009

"Comedy guaranteed to make your belly hurt!"

That was a quote from one of the audience members after last nights show. They were trying to persuade Mark Conway from Gonzo Moose to add it to all their publicity for the tour! What an excellent show! We were very close to capacity last night and the audience were buzzing the whole evening. From the 'sincere' warning for those of certain dispositions at the start of the play - "if you suffer from incontinence, wear a nappy", we knew we were in for an evening of spookily comedic entertainment.

I think the last time I cried from laughing involved an 80's montage scene and a fake moustache... but Gonzo Moose effortlessly reel you in to the story and really bring their crazy characters to life. They have a way of instantly connecting with everyone in the audience and their obvious enjoyment of what's going on on stage emanates in to the stalls... it was almost as if we were all feeding off each other and it's hard not to enjoy yourself when 100 people around you clearly are!

The highlights for me were the gargoyles ("jump, jump!") and definitely the montage scene which, I've been told was a pastiche to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but reminded me of a scene from a Richard Curtis movie. I think it takes skill to show the passing of time that effortlessly on stage.

Due to popular demand, Gonzo Moose return to the Bradon Forest Theatre with 'Is That a Bolt in your Neck?' on Friday 30th April 2010. If you can't wait until then we have Angus back with his other company, Publick Transport and The Department of Smelling Pistakes on 2nd March.

I have to add that I'm hoping for the return of Professor Heartbreaker in his own show.... Cariad?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Is That A Bolt In Your Neck?

The Gonzo's are in the theatre setting up as we speak, and look how good the set looks!

Just a handful of tickets left now... call me on 01793 773981 or email me to reserve yours now... you won't regret it!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Gonzo Moose presents...

... 'Is That A Bolt In Your Neck?' Oh man, we just love this company! I'd book them in every week if I could! They never fail to amuse and I'm really looking forward to this show! Tickets are selling out fast so make sure you get in touch to reserve yours. If you can't make 7.30pm this Thursday, 15th October, then make sure you get 30th April in your diary... they'll be back!

Inspired by gothic horror movie classics of the 1930s, Is That A Bolt In Your Neck? is a fast-paced, rollicking ride mixing spooky paranoia, surreal nightmare and frantic farce. Suitable for audiences from ages 8 to 80, this is an ideal family show: packed full of hilarious slapstick, verbal wit, live music and magical illusion.

As lightening flashes across the sky, the rugged silhouette of an old dark house looms into view. Lost in a storm, this seems like the only possible refuge but what happens when you hear mysterious moaning in the middle of the night? Behind every door lurks unimaginable horror.

With comedy and thrills galore you'll gasp, laugh and be amazed at the horrific experiments, the mind-boggling love, and the sensational death-defying finale. This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy horror features three fearless actors, playing over 30 roles in 75 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Autumn Music Concert

Last night was the first Music concert of the season in the theatre and welcomed many new and experienced students to share their performances with the audience. We were treated to the Concert Band, Junior Band, choirs and soloists - including instrumental and vocal, a very enjoyable evening was had by all and it was a pleasure to hear everyone performing to such a high level. This stands them in good stead for their forthcoming tour of Disney Land, Paris!

It was encouraging to see a few new faces and we look forward to welcoming them back for the Christmas concert.

The next music night in the theatre sees The Dacoits and Jo Stroud. Friday November 20th, 7pm, tickets are £2.

Caught in the Net

Remember our guest blogger earlier this year? One of our directors, Dominic Waldron, has been working with our local amateur dramatic society PADS on the same play he starred in (and blogged about) in Hamburg. This is sure to be an entertaining evening out!

If you think your life is complicated, imagine the life of two-timing taxi driver John Smith who keeps two separate families!

When his teenage children (a girl from one family and a boy from the other) meet in an Internet chat room and are anxious to meet in person, John's already hectic life shifts into high gear as he tries to keep his double life a secret.

Ray Cooney's fast-paced farce was nominated for the 2002 Olivier (Britain's Tony Award) and the 2001 Evening Standard Awards for Best New Comedy, and Carpenter Square Theatre is staging its Oklahoma premiere.

Friday 9th, Saturday 10th October

Doors open at 7:30pm
Show Starts 8:00pm

Licensed Bar applied for.

Adults £6
Concessions £5

Tickets available from
Sue Richardson 01793 772581
Purton Spar Shop
Lindsay Hall 01793 771890
On the door.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Autumn Music Concert

There are only a few tickets left for tonight's music concert - the first of the year! I can hear them all practising and it sounds wicked, so if you can make it to the theatre this evening for a 7pm start, contact me to reserve your ticket!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

New look theatre website

Excuses, excuses, I know. But you see I have a very good reason for not keeping to my 'weekly posting' promise! You see I've been working on our brand new theatre website.

We were using pages from the school's 'learning platform' but felt that after the success and positive feedback of the festival website, it was about time to launch a more professional site for the theatre.

You may also have noticed that I've update the blog banner to match the new site and logo. Check out the site at and leave a comment to let me know what you think!

Here's a summary of the season so far though... stick with me, I'll be back on track now!

  • The Hot Dots was a brilliant show. "A surprisingly moving story told through physical means. The company's superb physical skills brought the piece to life leaving the audience enthralled. Thank you for a fantastic evening!" David Calder
  • The Bradon Forest Theatre Company performed an excellent version of The Farndale Avenue's Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society prodcution of Macbeth. They had the whole audience roaring with laughter... one of my favourites so far!
  • The Thursday is the first music concert of the year. Featuring solo and ensemble performances by Bradon Forest students as well as a few big numbers by the Concert Band. The students are warming up for their forthcoming tour of Disney Land Paris, so come and show your support!
  • We have just booked The Dacoits and Jo Stroud for the first gig of the year. Friday 20th November at 7pm. Tickets are just £2!
Right, I'll speak to you all again very soon!!

Monday, 7 September 2009

New year, new season begins here!

Ok, I'm going try something new this year... I hereby promise to make at least a weekly update every Friday. Things got a bit manic at the end there, what with the Big Top Festival and everything! I'm still in the process of catching up (after the summer break of course!) but promise to post a review and pictures shortly. This will be just a brief one today though. I need to point you to the new season page on the website. We have a few things booked in already including The Hot Dots, Gonzo Moose's new show and Publick Transport to name just three! Make sure you check out the full listings.

The first show is next Wednesday 16th... So & So Circus Theatre present The Hot Dots. Curtain goes up at 7.30pm, as usual, and tickets are £5 for students and £6 for adults. Reserve yours today by calling me on 01793 773981.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Festival updates

There are only 15 more days to go until the first ever Big Top Festival! Make sure you get hold of your tickets before they sell out... festival passes are available from only £22!

Click on the swishy new flyer on the right to enlarge. They have been especially designed by none other than Callum Barrett from CB Design... hasn't he done an amazing job? We're really grateful to him for taking the time out to work on us for this exciting project.

Detailed on the inside pages are all the high profile events, but makes ure you check out the back page for the full line-up. There are so many shows you just won't want to miss!

Also, make sure you stop by the website for information on all the participating performers... there's so much going on and it's all on your doorstop!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Is it June already?

Oh my... what, really? Where did that time go? Planning the best festival ever is where it went! Well, OK... perhaps not the best festival ever. Reading '96 was a pretty good one... but can I go as so far as to say the best festival in a school ever?

Check out the Big Top Festival website for lots of new updates and the finalised line-up. There is so much to go and see over the weekend and you can do it all for only £22 for a festival pass! Now... can we say the best value festival ever? Oh yeah! Except maybe the free ones... they're pretty good value. But then normally have the big cheeses supporting them, like Radio 1.

Anyway... back to the Big Top. Check it out and get yourself a ticket! I can personally recommend The Little Prince, the Music Evening and DO NOT MISS Circomedia! See? If you're coming to see at least those three shows, you may as well buy a festival pass and come and see it all!

The Big Top Festival poster

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Swindon College presents

Make sure you get down to Swindon College for the Performing Arts course last ever show!

Shout Productions presents 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe', 23rd- 25th June.

See their website for more details.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Swindon Shuffle Heats - Line-up Change

The line-up has slightly changed for tonight:

Monday May 18th:
The Frosted Teacakes
Plastic Fiction
Let the Games Begin
The Debuts

Monday 1st June
Dark Sparkz
With Open arms
Unfortunate Hero
Beyond Chaos

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Swindon Shuffle Heats at Bradon Forest

Swindon Shuffle 2009 is the UK's biggest unsigned music festival, boasting 60 bands on 11 stages over 4 days!

The heats have already started and two of them are being held at the Bradon Forest Theatre! Come on down on Monday 18th May and Monday 1st June, and for just £1 a ticket you can see a sneak at some of the amazing bands that could be playing at the festival.

See for more information or click the poster below to enlarge.

Monday May 18th:
The Frosted Teacakes
Plastic Fiction
Let the Games Begin
The Debuts
Dark Sparkz

Monday 1st June
Child of D
With Open arms
Unfortunate Hero
Beyond Chaos

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Alternative Fairytales

Tonight is the opening night for Alternative Fairytales; a collection of short stories devised and performed by our Key Stage 3 Drama Club. The students have been working on the production for a few months and have polished their pieces to perfection.

The club has students ranging from years 7 to 9, but they have also had the assistance of a few GCSE drama students!

There will be three tales per evening and the show starts at 7.30 pm. Tickets are, as usual, £4 for adults and £3 for students.

Click here for more information.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Theatreworks Showcase

Mike at Theatreworks has just done a Showcase on our lovely venue. Make sure you check it out... and the rest of the website. There is lots of information about local theatre and arts activities and it's a great resource to bookmark. It is also a good idea to add yourself to their mailing list to make sure you receive up to the minute information on all the latest events.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Radio 1 Big Weekend - Fringe Event

As you are all probably aware, Radio 1's Big Weekend is coming to Swindon on 9th and 10th May. Free tickets have already been allocated but you can attend the FREE fringe events that have been organised to run alongside the event.

Let's hope the sun shines!

(Click on the picture to enlarge)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Dacoits

The Dacoits have just been booked as our special guest band on the Friday Music night of the Big Top Festival.

They will be performing during the special black tie event, and will also be the guest judges for the Battle of the Bands final!

Check them out on Myspace.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Catch up

Oh my! Where did the time go? Well, we've just had a couple of weeks off for the Easter break - lovely weather (sigh)... just lovely. It was very welcome after a very manic couple of weeks at the end of term - hence the lateness of a Richards Love report!

Needless to say, it was a most enjoyable performance. The three characters were all played by the talented Liz Hart who used a mixture of masks and shadow puppetry to tell the weird and wonderful tale. My favourite character was Richard, the charming gardener, with his delightful tirade on the war on slugs. It must have been difficult to keep changing character so quickly - not only the costumes, but also the mannerisms and qualities of each one. Liz used a couple of gnomes during some of the longer changes to talk to and entertain the audience. I think it was important that she didn't overuse this technique, and she didn't, but a bit more humour from the gnomes would have been welcome. Sarah was a quirky and likeable girl, but her mother was pretty intimidating - the mask work was superb and she always seemed to be looking directly at you! If you see Bric a Brac Productions on at a theatre near you then I would strongly recommend getting your hands on a ticket. David Calder says:

"You could literally take anyone from a 2 year old to your maiden aunt, and they would all find it a delight… An escape from the drudgery of 21st century life in to the magic of fairy tale."
It is a delightfully funny and charming show, completely out of the ordinary, and perfect for an evening's indulgence. We will definitely have Liz back with her next show, and a recommendation can't come better than that!

We're now in to the last 11 weeks before the arts festival and it's all getting very exciting! I need to do some updates on the website, so make sure you keep your eyes on that for all the exciting up to date news!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Richards Love

This Wednesday, 25th March - 7.30pm:

"Sarah’s Mother was a funny kettle of fish. She had once been bright and lovely all skipping silvery scales. But dark was the trawler that dragged her quick and thoughtlessly in, and dark was the fisherman who saw her flapping and beautiful in her little kettle…"

Bric a Brac Productions takes you into a magical and muddled world to tell tale of Sarah, her unlikely hero Richard and her tricky Mother, who is determined to stand in the way of their love.

Beautifully intricate shadow puppets, quirky characters, a fun soundtrack and some impressively fast costume changes!

Tickets are £6 for adults and £5 for students.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Letter to Strange Face

I was going to write a review on the play we saw last night, but figured this letter I just sent to them says it all. Go and watch them!

Hi Strange Face,

I just had to write to say thank you for last night! After receiving the brochure from Salisbury Art Centre, I was intrigued by your publicity, so decided to organise a work jolly as a birthday treat for our boss. Eight of us from our small theatre headed out from Swindon to watch the show.

We ALL thoroughly enjoyed the performance. It was full of energy and enthusiasm, the characters were delightful and endearing, the story was interesting and fun and the music was brilliant! I don't think it was quite what any of us were expecting, but when the landlady burst into song, it stepped the story to another level!

Working at a school theatre we get to see a wide variety of productions, from some really excellent professional companies. I have to say that I truly enjoyed your style of storytelling. I love theatre that entertains just for the pleasure of a good story. Throw puppets, masks and live music in to the mix, and for me, you're on to a winning formula.

As I hoped, our boss David Calder is really interested in booking you to come to Bradon Forest. We're really excited about The Christmas Carol, but to be honest, I could happily sit through The Last Resort again!

Thank you all again for a wondrous evening. Hopefully we'll see you again very soon!

I should probably add, that the Salisbury Art Centre is a delightful venue, and they don't make a bad tomato soup either! Make the effort to take a visit.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Shifting Sands

So, a little late with this entry for Shifting Sands. It's a really busy time at the moment, and the rest of last week was taken up with the Science department's Wow Show. The Devil's Doctor was superb though. These are one of our favourite companies, and it was great to have Gerry Flanagan bring the cast back to the theatre for their latest show. With warnings of loud bangs, potions and flashes, the play was a bit of a preview to the Science experiments we saw on Friday!

The Devils' Doctor tells the story of The 16th Century Swiss alchemist and physician Paracelsus, one of the pioneers of modern medicine. The story weaves it's way in and out of science and comedy, in an exciting and enthused adventure through history, showing the ups and downs of Paracelsus and his new way of thinking. Because there was a lot of information to get in to the hour and ten minute show, at times the script was a little text heavy, but this was the only point of criticism. The three actors were full of energy throughout the entire performance and the audience really buzzed of the atmosphere. The visual elements were well executed and added greatly to the story, with perfect comic timing as always.

Shifting Sands are a great company to book in to your venue, or to go and watch. I urge you to check out their website and see them at the next opportunity.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

R&J, not SAT

For the second year running, the Bradon Forest theatre are supporting the English department with the provision of Shakespeare workshops and performances. Despite the SATS being cancelled, the workshops are going ahead in the interest of student learning. Leanne Thompson, a member of the English staff, says;

"We have decided to run the workshops as we feel it is important that the students get an all round experience of Shakespeare - and this workshop approach helps the students to understand Shakespeare's theatricality. Shakespeare is vital to the English curriculum whether part of the SAT exams or not."
Dominic Waldron, the theatre's in-house professional actor, will be leading the workshops alongside Jack Baverstock from Swindon Young Actors. They will also have the assistance from a few of the Key Stage 4 Drama students. In each of the ten scheduled workshops, each with a different class, they will look at Act 3, Scene 1 using two main exercises. Firstly, the students will be asked to look at the key sentences of the scene and decide how each of them should be spoken. The second task will enable to students to direct themselves, giving them a sense of themes and emotional states throughout the scene. The workshop will not only increase learning through participation, but will also develop empathy and understanding of the characters, and consequently, the text.
Dominic says; "I want the students to realise that Shakespeare isn't about big words and sitting behind a desk. It's about passion, comedy and excitement."
The workshops will also be supported by two lunchtime performances of the scene, again by Dominic, Jack and the students, to give the English students an opportunity to see the characters in action. This project is supported by our Specialist Status.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Theatreworks Info

TheatreWorks is looking for new writing for performance to be part of a showcase and development event to be held in the Salberg Studio in the Salisbury Playhouse on 21st May 2009.

They welcome submissions from first time, emerging and experienced writers. It is the potential of the extract and of you as a writer that they are looking for.

Submissions must be:

  • From writers living or working in the South West
  • From writers able to attend the Dialogue event
  • Between 10 and 20 minutes long
  • Require no more than 4 actors to be performed
  • Typed in a clear and easy to read format with two copies posted to TheatreWorks
  • Sent without the writer’s name on the script. Only the application form should have the writer’s name and the title of the script together
  • Received by TheatreWorks no later than 5pm on Monday 20th April
  • Interesting and engaging, showing promise, skill and imagination

Due to the number of submissions they are expecting, written feedback cannot be given and submissions cannot be returned.

Experienced script readers will select 3 or 4 pieces from all the submissions. A professional director and actors will then rehearse and perform them script-in-hand in the Salberg Studio on the 21st May 2009.

On the night, all writers will receive feedback from the audience and a panel of professional judges. Informed by the feedback the panel will choose one writer to receive individually tailored support to develop the script and their skills.

The chosen writer’s developed piece will then be rehearsed and performed at the Script Factory at the Ustinov Theatre, Bath, on 14th Jan 2010.

This is your opportunity to explore ideas, give new characters a run out, and win the chance for real professional development. So get writing, and they’ll see you at the Salberg Studio on Thursday 21st May.

By submitting your application to Dialogue, TheatreWorks is given permission to use this information to promote its aims and celebrate artistic excellence. This in no way affects copyright of the work.

For more information see If you have further questions or would like to talk through ideas, call TheatreWorks on 01793 509048 or email

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Word: New Student Online Newspaper

Things have been a bit quiet this week due to the development of the new online student newspaper, The Word.

It's going to be launched next week so I've just been getting it all up and ready. If you want to be considered as a Student Editor then simply submit a 200 word article on why you'd be good for the job.

We have six different news categories: Top Stories, Culture, Lifestyle, Careers, Sport and Made-Up News... something to suit everyone!

Keep an eye on the blog and I'll post the launch video...

Monday, 23 February 2009

Link: Robbie Wheel-liams pops into Old Town

Now I know I'm a bit late with this bit of news, but my Red Planet contact isn't that gossip efficient! I also know that this post isn't at all theatre or arts related, but I'm posting it for 3 reasons.

Firstly, it's very exciting that Robbie has been spotted in my local bike shop... because he used to be in Take That! That's a big deal. People know him.

Secondly, as I said, Red Planet is my local bike shop and I'm spreading the love. They've enjoyed much widespread publicity about this, even as far as having their picture on the front page of a Malaysian newspaper, but a little more can't help! They are very lovely people :o)

Thirdly, how cool is this picture. And 'Robbie Wheel-liums'? Genius.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Look to the Stars

Look to the Stars is a great site that I've had my eye on for a while, but I thought I'd highlight it as they've just launched a very swish new look.... look, isn't it swish?

Look to the Stars is the web's number one source of celebrity charity news and information, covering what the top stars are doing to make a positive difference in the world. The site includes exclusive interviews and a database where fans can learn about their favorite stars' good deeds. They hope to help charities by inspiring their celebrity supporters' and fans to follow their heroes' example.

So, if you fancy Brad Pitt, or enjoyed Scarlett Johansson's last movie, then why not look them up on Look to the Stars and see if they're spreading their wealth and fortune to those less fortunate. Better still, you can also follow links to read up on specific organisations such as Amnesty International or Make Poverty History.

I'm sure if you're a fan of someone who is not listed, or have seen a charity event that LTTS might be interested in, then they'd love to hear from you.