Types of event

Spring Film Programme

The much anticipated new film programme starts on the 22nd January and what a great one, including Peterloo, a major new cinematic work with huge contemporary relevance; Children Act, starring Emma Thompson; The Wife, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, and Under the Tree, long-waited in Leek.

We start with BlacKkKlansman, which won director Spike Lee the coveted Grand Prix from Cannes, and then King of Thieves, the story of the notorious Hatton Garden robbery, with a stellar cast led by Sir Michael Caine.

The Wednesday documentary programme starts with Versus, a film about the life and films of much-lauded film-maker Ken Loach, followed by a new film, Bikes vs. Cars, on the challenges facing cities around the world in safely accommodating the needs of both cyclists and motorists.  The Swedish director, Fredrik Gertten, already has a following in Leek, with two of his acclaimed films Bananas!* and Big Boys Gone Bananas having been well-received at the Foxlowe.

Printed programmes and tickets will be available very soon, but full details, trailers and links for on-line tickets can be found in the What’s On calendar.  You can also download an electronic copy of the programme here.

Information is also available on Facebook, via Foxlowe Films and Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Dylan Project December 2018

The Dylan Project visited the Foxlowe Arts Centre once again, on the night of Thursday the 13th of December, 2018.

Now in their 20th year, but unfortunately sans Dave Pegg for this show (apparently “unavoidably detained” elsewhere), The Dylan Project (Steve Gibbons, Dave Pegg, P.J. Wright, Phil Bond & Gerry Conway) played under the banner of the Cuckoo’s Nest Folk Club to a packed room of respectful but enthuisiastic Dylan fans.

As their website says:

“Don’t be misled by the word ‘tribute’. Although the phrase “tribute band” can mean a slavish facsimile or a big-name cash-in, The Dylan Project is far more than a mere copycat act. The members bring their own distinctive take on the music, Steve Gibbons interprets the lyrics with stylish individuality and, above all, respect for a master writer and performer shines through every word, every note. As Mojo’s reviewer said: “The Dylan Project is a tribute in the best possible sense. Touching and deftly handled, it makes you marvel, once again, at the scope and majesty of this singular writer’s work.””

Thanks on behalf of the Foxlowe and The Cuckoo’s Nest to the band and everyone who attended on a very chilly night in Leek. See you again next year!

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

Photos by Giles Metcalfe.

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 – michaelquine@talktalk.net

 

The Little Unsaid

The Little Unsaid played an intimate gig in front of a select audience on Friday night, in the packed cafe area of the Foxlowe. The cafe was adapted into a performance venue for the night.

Touring in support of their ‘Selected Works’ album (Reveal Records 2018), the band are described as being ‘musically inventive and lyrically astute – creating tension between extremes (harmony and discord, sadness and joy, the technological and the organic) – an artist of considerable range’, Album of The Month, by FolkRadio.co.uk

Reveal Records is the home of Lau, Joan As Police Woman, Eddi Reader and more.

Fronted by songwriter John Elliott, The Little Unsaid are a band with an original sound and international outlook. The band have spent the last year touring Europe, leaving audiences emotionally rapt with a live show that’s been described as ‘a thumping depth of passion’.

Their sound is all their own but echoes the intensity and melancholic overtones of greats such as Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, using light and shade in their music and lyrics, and quiet and loud passages, to great effect.

2017’s critically-acclaimed Imagined Hymns & Chaingang Mantras album was recorded with Radiohead engineer and film score producer Graeme Stewart. The Little Unsaid embrace elements of rock, folk, electronica, jazz and alt-pop. One of the UK’s must-see rising live acts and recent winners of the Steve Reid award for Innovation.

‘Entrancing… songwriting of a real rich quality, all held together by an intensity of approach, by a focus on the emotional weight music can carry’ – Clash

‘Extraordinary music. This is an amazing act’ – Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2

‘A brave and often brilliant collection’ – R2 Magazine (on Selected Works)

With support on the night from Indie/Alternative singer-songwriter Venn Goodwin.

Venn Goodwin

Venn Goodwin

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thanks go out to the volunteers who adapted the cafe space into the venue for the gig and put everything back again afterwards, and to Ivan for taking care of the Sound.

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 qigong@w3z.co.uk or visit www.threetreasuresqigong.co.uk

John Bramwell

Singer-songwriter John Bramwell, supported by Dave Fidler, played a unique and captivating largely acoustic solo set at the Foxlowe on Friday the 9th of November, 2018, accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Alan Lowles and Dave Fidler.

Despite the Autumn storm that was raging outside – you could hear the wind howling and rain battering down outside during the quieter moments of his set – around 50 or so hardy, enthusiastic and highly partisan fans braved the weather and turned out to watch an evening of songs “inspired by the spirit of liberty, independence, adventure and solitude that John has enjoyed on the road, as well as the diverse emotions that escape and travel can bring about – from sadness to exhilaration”, with vocalised sound effects, audience participation and often hilarious asides, interpolations and interactions with members of the audience and his entourage between songs.

Biographical Information

John Bramwell is one of the UK’s most unique and talented singer-songwriters.

Performing as a musician for over 30 years, John started out as the front man of a four-piece band called “The Ignition” that toured in the 1980’s. Following that he became a solo performer and Granada Television presenter, Johnny Dangerously.

Bramwell formed ‘The Mouth’ in the 1990’s with friend and musician Bryan Glancy and later worked booking bands at the longstanding and legendary Manchester venue ‘Night and Day’. It was here that he met Pete Jobson and formed ‘I am Kloot’ in 1999.

The three piece alternative rock band went on to release ten albums, receiving a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2011 for the exquisite, Sky at Night, produced by Guy Garvey & Craig Potter from ‘Elbow’.

Each ‘I am Kloot’ album is a brilliant showcase for John’s skilful songwriting and distinctive vocal style.

A brilliant showman, throughout his career John has developed a legendary, live reputation establishing a relationship with audiences with his refreshing honesty, tall stories and his catchphrase “here’s another song about drinking and disaster”.

His new solo album, called Leave Alone the Empty Spaces, is out now. The record is a stunning showcase of John’s fabulous, widely acclaimed song-writing and his unique voice. It’s the first completely new collection of songs by John as a solo artist since he started his adventures away from ‘I am Kloot’.

Dave Fidler’s first solo album, I’m Not Here, and the Easy Gone, Easy Come EP are also availabe, including on Spotify and iTunes for your listening pleasure.

Dave Fidler at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

 

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Thunder Hammer Spooktacular Halloween Ball

Thunder Hammer made their third appearance at the Foxlowe on Saturday the 27th of October.

As with their previous two appearances, the event was a sell out, and the Foxlowe was packed.

Billed as a Halloween Ball, the more extrovert and adventurous members of the audience dressing up as zombies, Día de Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead) Señors, Señoras and Señoritas, Axl and Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Horror Film characters, and Marvel and DC Comic characters, amongst other costumes. It looked like a lot of effort had gone into the hair, makeup and costumes, and you all must have had some funny looks travelling to the venue or if you were out and about around town beforehand!

The Band themselves were in their usual stage clothes, although Leek-based bassist Jonathan ‘JP’ Parsons was rocking a pair of cowboy boots! The band members in full are:

  • Simon Ward – Lead Vocals
  • Ben Forrester – Lead Guitar
  • Dave Leese – Lead Guitar
  • Jonathan ‘JP’ Parsons – Bass
  • Josh Jones – Drums

Our very own local ‘Monsters of Rock’ play a mix of Classic Rock and Heavy Metal covers, and this was their first show back together as a full band after their lower-key acoustic appearance in Leek, and now legendary sell out preformance at Trentham Gardens in the summer, which saw over 2500 rock fans descend upon Trentham to witness the Hammer in action.

Warning – some of the following photos contain fake blood and gore, and outrageous riffage and face-melting shredding, which some viewers may find disturbing!

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Leek Blues and Americana Festival 2018 FXLW

Now in its sixth year, the expanded Leek Blues and Americana Festival 2018 was held at 20 different indoor and outdoor venues all across Leek, with more than 60 bands playing, from Wednesday the 3rd of October to Sunday the 7th of October. The Festival was a great success.

On Wednesday the 3rd of October, The Foxlowe Arts Centre hosted The Guy Tortora Band, with support from Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef.

Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef

The Guy Tortora Band, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Guy Tortora Band

Sunday the 7th of October saw the FXLW: Americana sessions taking place all-afternoon and into the evening, featuring an eclectic lineup of six bands and artists playing from 12 noon until 7pm – Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, The Rye Sisters, Mean Mary & Frank James, Lissy Taylor, Fine Lines, and The Strange Blue Dreams.

Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Adam Coxon & Rick Ford

The Rye Sisters, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Rye Sisters

Mean Mary & Frank James, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Mean Mary & Frank James

Lissy Taylor, at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Lissy Taylor

Fine Lines, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Fine Lines

The Strange Blue Dreams, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Strange Blue Dreams

A big thank you to everyone involved – the artists who played on Wednesday night and on the Sunday, the sponsors, the Foxlowe staff and volunteers for all their hard work in staging the events, and to all that attended.

All photography by Giles Metcalfe.

Gawain and the Green Knight – Crowdfunding Call

Gawain – diligence and faith by Sue Prince

A one-off arts event is taking place in Leek in November 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 will be 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.

To support the weekend’s events and make a pledge, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-gawain-leek and keep an eye out for updates and further information.  You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

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 and Saturday 17th November, everyone is invited to come to the college, 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.

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 crowdfunding campaign was launched on 24 September (running for four weeks) to raise the £3375 needed. There are lots of exciting rewards in return for sponsorship!

People can choose to be immortalised in this unique artwork by being depicted as a character from the poem, such as Sir Bertilak and his lovely wife, or King Arthur and Guinevere.  Other possibilities are Knights of the Round Table, several courtly ladies, and Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s wicked sister.  There are even a number of mythical beasts like the woodwose. Or perhaps your horse could be Gringolet, or your dog a hunting hound? Other rewards on offer are the opportunity to be a giant and take part in the annual Dr Plot’s celebration as Gawain or the Green Knight. or being taught how to play medieval bagpipes.  But if none of those tempt you, then there you will be able to pledge for copies of Sue Prince’s stunning finished artwork in various forms, or just make a donation, so there’s something for everyone and to suit every pocket!

To support the weekend’s events and make a pledge, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-gawain-leek and keep an eye out for updates and further information.  You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

Background

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 sirgawainleek@gmail.com or 07989-986672.

Gigging the Blues Away

The ever-growing Leek Blues & Americana Festival is returning this autumn – and once again the Foxlowe will be one of the many venues across the town which will be hosting gigs.

First up will be the UK public premiere of the blues film Sidemen: Long Road to Glory (12A) on Tuesday October 2. Admission £5.

Then The Guy Tortora Band will be performing at the Foxlowe on Wednesday October 3. Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Guy Tortora is currently based in London. He is a guitar player of some accomplishment and a distinctive songwriter. He will be joined for this Foxlowe gig by Dave Luke and Chuck Micallef.

Then on Sunday October 7, there will be an amazing selection (FXLW Anericana) of some of the finest local, national and international Americana acts taking to the Foxlowe stage. The line-up is: Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, The Rye Sisters, Mean Mary & Frank James, Fine Lines, Lissy Taylor, and Strange Blue Dreams.

Wristbands £10 for 16 year olds and over.

Free admission for under 16s.

For further information about, and to purchase tickets for all Leek Blues & Americana gigs, visit www.leekblues.co.uk

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