Alison McCrea

Foxlowe Arts Centre brings new professional theatre to Leek

Theatre image

A message from our Live & Local coordinator – Michael Quine:

Hello again,

The New Year brings two new theatre shows to the Foxlowe.  One is a return visit, the second a new company.

First up, on 24 January, is James Rowland in “A Hundred Different Words for Love”.  He’s back with a sequel to his “Team Viking” seen and enjoyed by a near sell-out audience in Leek last January.   Three years ago, James met the love of his life. A year ago, they broke up. And it’s the story of his best friends getting married and still having the time to be there for him. And finally, it’s the story of a quest: to find the right words to make sense of love and tripping up over a lot of wrong ones along the way.

“James Rowland doesn’t need any frills to make you laugh and cry. A Hundred Different Words for Love is storytelling at its finest: beautiful, simple, funny, and utterly engaging”   Reviews Hub


And then on Thursday 21 February Little Earthquake bring their new show “I ain’t Afraid of no Ghost”.

Imagine an ordinary home with extraordinary goings-on. Set in the 80s, this show is based on the family experiences of one of the actors, whose home is taken oven by a playful poltergeist. Find out who really took that packed of Kit Kats.

A funny and nostalgic trip back to the 80s in a theatre show for adults and older children about a family home being haunted by a playful poltergeist. It delves back into the childhood of Gareth, the director and one of the performers, and draws you into a fascinating paranormal mystery set in a very recognisable suburban world.

A quirky, creative performance that encourages your own overactive imagination, reconnects you with some sounds, sights and flavours of the past, and provides lots of laughs along with a few spooky surprises!

Formed in 2005 by co-Directors Gareth Nicholls and Philip Holyman, West-Midlands based Little Earthquake “exists to create events that will surprise, entertain, inspire and intrigue. The stories we tell invite audiences to scupper their expectations and escape the ordinary.


Information from Michael Quine  (01538 529324 –


Wreath Workshops Still Have a Few Places – 16th Dec

From the ornate to the simple.  Why not have a go yourself? Good company and free drinks, plus a unique wreath at the end of the session.

There are still some places for this Sunday’s workshops: one in the morning (11am-1pm) and five in the afternoon (2-4pm).

Christmas Wreath Workshops – Morning and Afternoon

Raise a Festive Glass to ‘Edie’ and ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’

Get into the festive spirit literally at the last two films of the season. The film group will be serving mulled wine, apple and brandy punch and mince pies at Edie on Tuesday, 11th December. and also at the screening of An Inconvenient Sequel, on Wednesday 12th December.

Everyone welcome!


Christmas Opening Hours @ Foxlowe

Christmas Opening Hours @ Foxlowe

24th December – Open till 13:00.

25th-27th December – Closed

28th-29th December – Open (10:00-16:00)

30th December  – 2nd January – Closed

3rd January onwards – Open as normal (10:00-16:00)


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from staff and volunteers at the Foxlowe!

P.S. It’s not too late to buy handmade Christmas presents straight from the tree in the cafe, courtesy of the GateWay Shedders.


Great Turnout for Staffordshire Contemporary Artists and Designers Fair

Despite the dismal weather visitors flocked to the Staffordshire Contemporary Artists and Designers Fair this weekend. With stunning art and craft work there were great opportunities to acquire original and beautiful items for the home or Christmas presents for family and friends.

Qigong Classes – Winter and Spring Dates

Brett Trafford Photography

Twice-monthly classes in the Rainbow Room on a Tuesday from 10.00am to 11.30am on the following dates:

27 November
18 December (changed from the 11th December)

15 January
29 January
12 February
26 February
12 March
26 March
9 April
23 April

Qigong is an ancient and powerful system of energy medicine from China:  it means ‘vital energy (Qi) cultivation (Gong).  It uses breathing techniques, gentle movement and meditation to cleanse, strengthen and circulate Qi.   Working with Qigong exercise will relieve stress, balance the hormonal system, release toxins and strengthen the immune system, as well as slow ageing and help accelerate healing.

£10.00 per class payable on the day, but please book in advance with Lindsay.

For more information, please contact Lindsay Trevarthen, Three Treasures Qigong on 07989-986672, email or visit

Painsley Catholic College – GCSE Art, Craft & Design

Painsley Catholic College – GCSE Art, Craft & Design.

Year 11 Art Students have explored the work of Artists with a range of materials and techniques, and used drawing and painting to record ideas leading to a final exam piece. Themes included: Light and Dark / Telling Stories / Connections.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – Arts Weekend

A one-off arts event is taking place in Leek in November (16th-18th) celebrating the links between the Staffordshire Moorlands and the epic medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

This 14th century Arthurian tale features chivalry, romance, temptation and a beheading challenge.  Members of the public are invited to take part and make their mark in a pictorial retelling of the tale guided by local, internationally known artist Sue Prince.  People will also be able to listen to a talk, eat medieval food and take a guided walk to the stunning Lud’s Church with Gawain specialist Clive Foden.

Most scholars now agree that the unknown author of the Gawain poem came from this area and tell-tale signs of this are not only the local accent and words which appear throughout the work, but also local features, such as The Roaches and Lud’s Church, which figure in the action.  The event is being organised by the Dr Plot’s Lesser Known Leek committee who celebrate the poem each July with a parade through the town, complete with giants, culminating in a re-telling of the tale to delighted crowds.

Before the public workshops, Sue Prince, who lives in Ilam, will teach the skill of painting a ‘bonad’ (a style of narrative folk art in egg tempera) to art students at Leek College, and some will become her expert helpers. Then on Friday 16th everyone is invited to come to the Foxlowe, learn the technique and add to Sue’s version of the story: they can even paint a medieval version of themselves along the bottom of the artwork.  The workshop will be repeated on Saturday 17th November, at the College, also from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Also on the Saturday there will be a free children’s workshop Knights, Princesses and Monsters (10.00 am to 3.00 pm) at the Foxlowe, where children can make their own puppets of mediaeval characters.

Clive Foden, a skilled woodcarver and Gawain specialist, will travel from Norfolk to deliver one of his enthralling talks on the evening of Saturday 17th November at the Foxlowe Arts Centre.  He will discuss the poet’s interest in craftsmanship as well as the unmistakeable landscape clues in the poem. The following day, Sunday 18th, Clive will also lead a guided walk over The Roaches and down into Lud’s Church – the poem’s Chapel in the Green where Gawain meets the Green Knight to submit to beheading!

All the events are free (apart from a small transport cost to the guided walk) and to enable them, a successful crowdfunding campaign was launched on 24 September to raise the £3375 needed.

Sequence of Events

Friday, 16th November (10 am – 4 pm) The Town that Painted at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Market Place, Leek.

This will be a free community ‘paint-in’ of the folk art retelling of the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, led by Sue Prince.

Saturday, 17th November (10 am – 4 pm) The Town that Painted at the New Art Block at Leek College, Stockwell Street.  Continuation of the free community ‘paint-in’ but at a different venue.

Saturday, 17th November (10 am – 3 pm)  Knights, Princesses and Monsters.  Workshop for children to make puppets of mediaeval characters.

Saturday, 17th November (7 pm onwards) Craftsmanship and the Gawain Poet at the Foxlowe cafe.

This will be a free talk given by Clive Foden, which will also include mediaeval food to taste.

Sunday, 18th November (10.30 am) Guided Walk to Lud’s Church.  Meet at Leek’s Market Place for the minibus.

The walk will be led by Clive Foden  and the cost will be £10 each to cover transport costs.  There are limited places, so please book  by e-mailing or 07989-986672.

You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.


Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of four late 14th century Middle English poems, written in a North West Midland dialect (the others being Pearl, Purity and Patience) and surviving in a single manuscript, held in the British Library. All are thought to have been written by the same unknown author, now known either as the Pearl or the Gawain Poet, believed to have lived and worked around Leek, North Staffordshire. 

For further information

Please contact Lindsay Trevarthen on or 07989-986672.

ST13 Nov-Dec 2018

An on-line copy of ST13 (No 54) is now available.

Follow the links for the full text:

ST13 COVER Nov-Dec 2018

ST13 INSIDE Nov-Dec 2018

Bob Newns – Ever Expanding Colour

Bob was Head of Art in High Schools and Associate Lecturer in PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University. His paintings have been exhibited in a variety of centres in the North West.

During November and December his current Acrylic paintings can be viewed in the Foxlowe Cafe and also in the Upstairs Gallery.