Outdoor Activities

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We are fortunate to have a large garden in the centre of Leek, which is popular with visitors in spring, summer and autumn.  The terrace allows al fresco eating and drinking and overlooks one of two spacious lawns.

Children are particularly welcome to run around and explore, although we do ask parents or carers to keep an eye on them and encourage them to respect the plants and wildlife.  Dogs are also welcome.

Café

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The Café rapidly proved to be very popular after the centre opened and continues to provide a wonderful atmosphere with good food and drink.  We serve a wide range of Fairtrade coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a small but perfectly formed selection of freshly prepared hot and cold dishes with a great selection of vegetarian and vegan meals.  Yummy cakes are available throughout the day.

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Many of those who visit say how much they enjoy eating and drinking in this warm and friendly place.  It is thanks to the amazing band of kitchen and café volunteers that the Foxlowe Café has become one of the key places to go in Leek.  But don’t just take our word for it. Read our reviews on TripAdvisor. Trip Advisor image

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Foxlowe Café is open Monday to Saturday every week: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm. We are also open (10.00-4.00) on the first Sunday of every month to coincide with Leek’s Sunday Supplement Market.

The cafe and garden are dog friendly.

Foxlowe’s Collection Point for Food Bank

Leek’s Food Bank needs lots of donations right now, as stocks are low, so our collection point just inside the back door may come in handy if you’re not near Morrison’s or Sainsbury’s.

All donations gratefully received!

ST13 July-August 2019

An on-line copy of ST13 (No 58) is now available.

Follow the links for the full text:

ST13 July-August 2019 PAGE 1

ST13 July-August 2019 PAGE 2

ST13 July-August 2019 PAGE 3

ST13 July-August 2019 PAGE 4

Live and Local professional theatre

The Foxlowe presents professional theatre performances.

We’re proud to work with Live&Local, the touring network which offers theatre, as well as music and dance, to venues like ours.   Serious shows, light-hearted shows, shows for young children – we range across the repertoire with a number of one-night performances.

The next season starts around October, and here’s an update on current planning.

We’ve put in our bids for the shows we’d like to see here along with the dates when we can host them.   We’ve named 12 we’d like, but can only be awarded a maximum of 6. The 12 include more Twisted Tales, Garlic Theatre – puppets for young children, the third in the trilogy by James Rowland (‘that Viking Man’), a wonderful lively show about football and why we love the game so much, another show for children brought by the founders of the biennial international Skipton Puppet Festival, a new approach to King Lear, and … I could go on, and on, and on!   By way of a postscript, I’m pleased to be able to confirm (24 June) that we have been awarded <Twisted Tales II>  and at least one show for young children.

Live&Local now have the unenviable task of working out sensible tours for 94 companies across well over 300 venues in 9 counties, working to the limited dates we can all offer. (For instance, two of the shows I so much want here can only offer us one date.)

As soon as we know which shows we’ve been awarded, I’ll be updating this page.

In the meantime, let me make one personal recommendation. The New Vic is opening its new production of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart on 28 June. It’s by David Greig, a remarkable, prolific and award-winning playwright who now runs the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. I saw a production of it in Glasgow about a year ago and was totally entranced:   it’s described as “Inspired by the border ballads – and delivered in a riotous romp of rhyming couplets, devilish encounters and wild karaoke”. I can’t recommend the play strongly enough. http://www.newvictheatre.org.uk/productions/strange-undoing-prundencia-hart/

And also in July, of course, the Buxton Festival where the Fringe offers as many as 59 theatre productions during July.

Live&Local is funded by Arts Council England, and gratefully supported by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.  Other Moorlands places which also receive L&L work include Alstonefield, Biddulph Moor, Blythe Bridge, Calton, Foxt and Swythamley.

Watch this space for updates – and enjoy the summer when (whenever) it comes.

 

Michael Quine

 

 

 

Adored and Definitely Mightbe Leek Arts Festival 2019

Perennial local favourites Adored and Definitely Mightbe brought the sounds of Manchester to Leek Arts Festival on Friday the 3rd of May, 2019.

150 or so merry indie music fans packed out the Foxlowe and enthusiastically danced and sang along to every word from the classic Stone Roses and Oasis back catalogues, played faithfully – and to the faithful – by Adored and Definitely Mightbe who returned to the Foxlowe after a triumphal gig here last year.

Adored opened proceedings with their tribute to the Stone Roses, as their seminal debut album turned 30 this week. The set featured songs taken mostly from that self-titled debut album, including I Wanna Be Adored and Fools Gold, but also Ten Storey Lovesong from the much delayed follow-up, 1995’s Second Coming.

Definitely Mightbe are the longest established Oasis tribute band in the world, with over 2,000 shows under their belt. After the interval and a change of clothing and backdrop, Definitely Mightbe took to the stage for a set of anthemic Oasis classics, ostensibly from their first two albums.

Leek’s own Kev Pyne, who played bass in Adored and Definitely Mightbe and was a real character, sadly died unexpectedly in October 2018, and the Oasis song Live Forever was dedicated to him on the night in a fitting tribute.

Adored at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, May 2019

Adored – Stone Roses tribute

Adored at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, May 2019

Adored – Stone Roses tribute

Adored at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, May 2019

Adored – Stone Roses tribute

Definitely Mightbe at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, May 2019

Definitely Mightbe – Oasis tribute

Definitely Mightbe at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, May 2019

Definitely Mightbe – Oasis tribute

Definitely Mightbe at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, May 2019

Definitely Mightbe – ‘Liam’ aka Ian Alcock

Definitely Mightbe at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, May 2019

Definitely Mightbe – Oasis tribute: ‘Liam’ and ‘Noel’

Definitely Mightbe at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, May 2019

Definitely Mightbe – ‘Noel’ aka Paul Mitchell

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

ST13 May-June 2019

An on-line copy of ST13 (No 57) is now available.

Follow the links for the full text:

ST13 May-June 2019 PAGE 1

ST13 May-June 2019 PAGE 2

ST13 May-June 2019 PAGE 3

ST13 May-June 2019 PAGE 4

Foxlowe Film Summer Programme

Your local cinema is back soon with fantastic improvements to the Rainbow Room (new curtains, sub-woofer and stair carpet)  made possible by a Staffordshire County Council Community grant from Councillor Charlotte Atkins’ allocation.  The room looks cosier with the curtains and this and the new sub-woofer should improve the overall sound which is great news.

Thanks for all who came along in the spring season, we had a rise in audience numbers with a number of sell outs which is heartening and good to have so much positive feedback about our programming choices.  We’re back with a varied Tuesday night programme, with something for everyone.

We kick off on Tuesday 7th May with Leave No Trace – a wonderful film about a father and his teenage daughter living off-grid in Oregon.  Mark Kermode declared this his favourite film of 2018 “a film which just doesn’t put a single foot wrong” and Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian awarded it *****.

On 14th May we have A Private War staring Rosamund Pike as Marie Colvin, one of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time.  The film charts this fearless and rebellious reporter, as her mission to show the true cost of war leads her to embark on the most dangerous assignment of their lives in the besieged Syrian city of Homs.

We’re delighted to bring you the outrageous period satire The Favourite, screening on 21st May.  Olivia Colman won the best actress Academy Award and BAFTA for her performance as Queen Anne, ably supported by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.  “A bawdy, brilliant triumph”.

On 28th May we screen Beautiful Boy, starring Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carrell in a powerful, soulful and intensely moving drama about addiction, its tragic consequences and reverberations through a family.

Colette, screening on  4th June premiered at Sundance 2018 to rave reviews.  It stars a radiant Keira Knightley giving a career-best performance in what is an exhilarating and timely film about the life of ground-breaking French novelist Colette.

Later in the season we screen:

Vice – Tuesday 11th June

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Tuesday 18th June

Stan and Ollie – Tuesday 25th June

If Beale Street Could Talk – Tuesday 2nd July

Green Book – Tuesday 9th July

Wild Rose – Tuesday 16th July

Full details are now available in the What’s On calendar  and a copy of the full programme can be downloaded here.

Tickets and programmes will be available by this weekend (27th April)

Johnny Dowd and Park Doing

It has been a great couple of months for fans of Americana and Blues in Leek, as the Foxlowe has recently staged amazing performances from some of the top exponents of the genres.

Hot on the heels of Kris Barras and the Jack J Hutchinson Band, Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax, and the mighty Bob Log III and Husky Tones, the legendary Johnny Dowd brought his trademark Twisted Americana Country Blues to the Foxlowe on Friday the 12th of March, 2019, ably supported by Park Doing and Michael Edmondson.

Park Doing and Johnny Dowd both use drum samples, loops and pedals, in the vein of fellow US guitar mavericks Thomas Truax and Bob Log III, and Johnny and his band also inhabit the same twisted David Lynchian Americana universe as the aforementioned Truax and Gemma Ray. However, each individual’s sounds and stagecraft set them apart from their contemporaries. A fantasy future Leek Blues and Americana festival lineup of Gemma Ray, Thomas Truax, Bob Log III, Park Doing, Mike Edmondson and Johnny Dowd on the same day would be awesome, but who would go onstage last? Hmmm…

Anyway, back to Friday night’s gig…

So, first up onstage was Park Doing, who describes his music as “Psychedelic Disco Blues”. Sporting a corduroy jacket, and a hat that looked to have been styled upon the one worn by Brad Dourif in Wise Blood, Park plugs in and attends to his bank of effects pedals and sampler before introducing his first song.

With “These machines kill cashists” emblazoned on his road-worn electric guitar – a clever twist on the message immortalised on radical folk singer Woody Guthrie’s acoustic guitar (“This machine kills fascists”) – Park and his sonic armoury of effects pedals, samplers and loopers, and beat box crank out such idiosyncratic songs as Punk Rockers Don’t Need To Wear Watches; If You Don’t Say It Right, Don’t Say It At All; and You Know What To Do, So Do It – words of homespun wisdom set to an accompaniment of live guitar, loops and lo-fi trip hop beats.

After ably setting the tone for the evening’s entertainment, Park leaves the stage, changes into his blue velvet jacket, and loses the hat.

Talking about this latest tour together, Park said:

“I got a call from my good friend Johnny Dowd who asked me to tour with him again, this time in the Netherlands and England. He also asked me to sing with him during his sets, so I am doing double duty (the hardest working man in show business!). It’s an honor to perform with him — he has taught me so much over the years.  He has taken to calling me and his guitar player Mike Edmondson “The Hummingbird Singers.””

Park then joins Johnny onstage for his set as part of backing band with Mike Edmondson. This backing band may or may not be called The Bluebells or The Humingbirds (it may even change from gig to gig). I could have sworn that the band are introduced as the Bluebells, possibly or probably because of their natty blue velvet patterned jackets.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, and hailing from Ithaca, New York, Johnny Dowd’s sonic brand of dark and ramshackle alternative country-blues noir, with boom box beats, calls to my mind the recorded spoken word output of William S Burroughs (especially The “Priest” They Called Him, by Kurt Cobain and William S. Burroughs), early lo-fi Beck, and white blues guitarists such as Johnny Winter and Peter Green. Typical of Johnny’s style are the experimental, noisy breaks in his songs and strong gothic elements in the lyrics as well as in the music. There is also a strong undercurrent of black humor and the absurd in his work too.

The use of samples and technology mixed with good old fashioned stagecraft places the performance firmly in the 21st Century, although the music of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s is paid homage to, including a Bo Diddley medley, and referencing James Brown and Blaxploitatation (the song White Dolomite). Johnny cites James Brown’s Live at the Apollo as his lifelong favorite album, and Live at Paris Olympia 1971 “has got to be high on the list”, according to Johnny’s interview with Americana UK. Avant garde jazz musician and cosmic visionary Sun Ra, and godfathers of grunge Blue Cheer, are also big favourites too. Johnny and his sidemen put on an entertaining show, which includes incendiary guitar playing from all three musicians, sweet harmonized backing vocals, spoken introductions to the songs, poetry and even some coordinated choreography with audience participation!

Johnny Dowd’s songs, stories and poetry are about the perennial topics – love, sex, death, religion, life on the road, and (dysfunctional) relationships (both familial and romantic) and break-ups and their aftermath – but delivered with enough self-awareness, self-deprecation and tongue in cheek humour to stop it from all becoming too maudlin and depressing. This ain’t no country music- or blues-style “born-under-a-bad-sign-my-woman-left-me-my-dog-just-died-I’m-so-lonesome-I-lost-my-job-and-the-man’s-repossessed-my-car-and-the-bank-has-foreclosed-on-my-mortgage-it’s-raining-hard-the-leevee-has-broken-and-the-water’s-three-feet-high-and-rising-and-I’ve-finished-my-last-bottle-of-whiskey” cry-fest! No, siree, Bob. There are laughs a-plenty, both in terms of the interactions between the musicians and the audience, and in the songs themselves (the humour is dark, but it’s there). There’s even a goofy dance routine to lighten the mood!

Johnny stands up (he stays sat down for the set up to that point), places his guitar on his chair, and exhorts the seated audience to get up on their feet and mimic the band’s choreographed dance moves. The band are doing the Butterman Dance – whilst shouting, “Butterman, oh yeah!” – and Johnny joins in and we all do too: a surreal but funny couple of minutes during the set. Park cleverly and expediently dedicates the song and dance to Leek’s very own Butter Market. Nice one. Good local knowledge.

When the song and dance is over, Johnny compliments the crowd for their audience participation and enthuisiasm, saying “There’s no fear in Leek”. There may be no fear in Leek, Johnny, but there is very definitely an “eek” in Leek! Sorry, I’ll get my coat…

Other highlights include a rocking Bo Diddley medley of Hey, Bo Diddley and Who Do You Love, How Much Emptiness Can you Swallow?, a coruscating but poignant grunged-up version of Frank Sinatra’s It Was a Very Good Year, Jesus Loves Me by Joey + Rory, and Country legend Conway Twitty gets a surreal namecheck too!

A love for late 50s and early 60s Death Discs is also evident. A cover of the ‘splatter platter’ paean to twisted metal and mangled bodies, Teen Angel by Mark Dinning, is played in a respectful homage to the original, and as a rendition it would be wholly in keeping as a Twin Peaks: The Return end of episode performance at The Roadhouse tavern.

The Death Disc, also known as a ‘splatter platter’, ‘car crash song’ or quite simply a ‘teenage tragedy song’, is a style of ballad popularised in the 50s and 60s sung from the point of view of either a dying (or dead) teenager or the dying (or dead) or surviving teenager’s sweetheart, as is the case in Teen Angel.

Teen angel, teen angel, teen angel, ooh
That fateful night the car was stalled upon the railroad track
I pulled you out and we were safe, but you went running back…”

David Lynch and the clientele at the Roadhouse would approve, I think.

All-in-all another memorable night at the Foxlowe, in front of a select crowd of appreciative and knowledgable Americana fans. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the venue and the artists. We hope to see you again soon.

Any milage in that fantasy festival lineup suggestion…?

Park Doing at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Park Doing at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Park Doing at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Johnny Dowd at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Johnny Dowd at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Johnny Dowd at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Johnny Dowd at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

 

Qigong Classes – Spring and Summer Dates

Brett Trafford Photography

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

30 April
14 May
28 May
11 June
25 June
16 July
30 July
13 August
27 August

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

Leek Arts Festival

WE’RE PROUD TO BE THE HOME OF THE LEEK ARTS FESTIVAL

Headlining the 2019 programme will be folk superstar Cara Dillon. Cara has risen to become one of the finest exponents of traditional Irish song anywhere in the world. She has a rare and unique voice that has been lauded since her very beginnings, winning the All Ireland singing trophy in 1989 – aged only 14. She’s won countless awards and accolades including “Album Of The Year” at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, The Meteor Music Award for “Best Irish Female”, and Tatler’s “Woman Of The Year in Music” and has appeared in prestigious concert halls and at festivals the world over.

Another newcomer to Leek Arts Festival in 2019 will be American singer-songwriter Dean Friedman who gave us silky hits like Lucky Stars and Ariel in the 1970s and is championed today by our very own Gaby Roslin and Jonathan Ross. Dean’s never really gone away – he’s just been busy over the years  producing a string of albums of precision-crafted songs in his own inimitable style.

Adding a touch of humour to the 2019 festival will be three lads who claim to be the illegitimate sons of a hugely popular and much-missed Irish entertainer. The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser whose hilarious parodies of popular songs by some of the world’s biggest artists – including The Police, Abba, the Bee Gees and Chris de Burgh – ensure sell performances wherever they play.

Festival favourites Fairport Convention, together with the fabulous Birmingham Conservatoire Folk Ensemble and the Peak District Big Band will also feature in the 2019 festival programme, along with many other events, both at the Foxlowe and other venues in town.

Full details of events at Foxlowe Arts Centre can be found on the What’s On calendar.  For details of the full programme, go to Leek Arts Festival 2019.

Tickets are available at the Foxlowe Box Office, or on-line (see details on individual event posts).

Prints, Sculptures, Paintings! Exhibition

Some stunning artwork in the current exhibition.

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