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alice

The Easter holiday Pantomime, Alice in Wonderland, is at The Woodville starring the legendary Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee as well as Steve Hewlett, the ventriloquist who shot to fame with his puppet versions of Sinita and Simon Cowell on ITV1′s Britain’s Got Talent.

Alice in wonderland is a great Easter treat with a live band, comedy, mind blowing magic and a west end calibre cast, including Ant Payne and Robert Pearce.

The pantomime show dates are Friday 4 April, Saturday 5 April and Sunday 6 April.

There is also more family fun at The Woodville with the Old MacDonald Had A Farm show. This fun filled farmyard tale with action, puppetry and animation brings to life all the best loved characters from the original nursery rhyme along with a medley of games, giggles and singalong songs. Show dates are Friday 28 March and Saturday 29 March.

For more information and to book tickets go to http://www.woodville.co.uk or cdll box offices on 01464 337774

Burlesque63Red
Flushed with success, now entering its fourth fabulous year, the world’s original touring burlesque spectacular is about to hit town.

Officially Britain’s biggest burlesque extravaganza – a quarter of a million people have now seen this show – An Evening of Burlesque is responsible for exposing the cream of the West End of London’s thriving burlesque scene to the world. Not only has the ever-so-cheeky production revealed the secrets of the art of burlesque to delighted audiences across the UK, it has also thrilled theatregoers at the swishest venues throughout Europe as well.
From Milan to Zurich, St Petersburg to Minsk, Leipzig to Verona, Dresden to Riga, Padova to Dessau the reaction has been the same – absolutely incredible, says show producer Michael Taylor.

“Nothing is lost in translation,” says Michael. “An Evening of Burlesque’s content – sparkling glamour, physical humour and a dynamic score – are appreciated in any language.”
An Evening of Burlesque features corsets, killer heels and stockings aplenty – and that’s just the theatregoers who come to see the show!

“For a spectacle that sparkles from its elaborately-decorated headdresses to its immaculately varnished toes,” says Michael, “it might not come as a complete surprise that audiences are predominantly female. Also, we’re pleased to report that, with a prize for the best-dressed member of the audience, theatregoers revel in dressing up for the occasion.”
The show itself sparkles with couture costumes recalling the golden eras of burlesque. An Evening of Burlesque claims to be the most glamorous show on tour.

For over-18s only, it boasts that its success is built on a combination of sultry vocals, breathtaking choreography, mischief, magic, frivolity and fun.

“It’s all tease, no sleaze,” says Michael. “The show combines musical and theatrical parody, cutting-edge variety, magic, comedy and dance with the art of striptease.”

Michael says he is proud to be bringing variety back to the theatre, claiming An Evening of Burlesque is the slickest, wickedly wittiest, most delightfully choreographed cabaret spectacular of the year.

“Dress up and come to the cabaret,” he says.

DRESS TO IMPRESS – PRIZE FOR THE MOST GLAMOROUS MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE

Sparkling with couture costumes, featuring killer heels and stockings aplenty. . . no, we’re not talking about the burlesque all-star performers appearing in Britain’s hottest new theatre show sensation An Evening of Burlesque.

That’s a description of audiences for the glamorous production. Its combination of song, dance, mischief, magic, music, frivolity and fun has proved an unqualified hit with the ladies.

“Throughout the UK,” says show producer Michael Taylor, “at every venue, the fairer sex make up the majority of our audiences. “And the ladies just love dressing for the occasion.”

So much so, the production now offers a “burlesque-tastic” surprise prize for the best-dressed member of the audience on the night. The prize will be awarded by the show’s production manager, their decision being final.

“The show is an opportunity,” says Mike, “to forget about all your troubles for an evening and enjoy the thrills and spills of modern-day burlesque.

“Theatregoers completely immerse themselves in the evening’s entertainment.”
Michael says, as performers look out from the stage the auditorium is aglitter with the most dazzling outfits.

“As a consequence, the atmosphere at theatres is absolutely electric,” he says.

“We would like to reward the most glamorously-dressed person with a prize they’ll treasure forever.”

ENTERTAINERS, 200 LONDON ROAD, HADLEIGH, BENFLEET, ESSEX, SS7 2PD
Tel: 01702 427100 switchboard, 01702 427102 direct easytheatres.com

pancakes article On Tuesday 4 March the second Annual Pancake Races will be held on New Road, Gravesend. Local businesses will be racing against each other whilst flipping their pancakes. Races start at 12.15pm.

Last year’s winner was Lizzie from the Kent messenger. A council spokesperson said: “Last year was flipping crazy, there was a great buzz in the town with shrieks of laughter as the businesses raced against each other. We are looking forward to crowning a new champion this year.”

Gruffalo-press imageThemed activity trails, giant wooden Gruffalo sculptures and a big birthday forest picnic are coming to Bedgebury.

Families in Kent and Sussex are invited into a deep dark wood near their home this year to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with characters from the world-famous picture books.

From April, visitors can join Mouse on his adventure and explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale through activity trails in the Pinetum.

The fun-packed partnership kicks off with The Gruffalo activity trails in Bedgebury and 27 other forests across England, which run through to the end of September. In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay in Bedgebury right through the winter until February 2015. Characters from the stories will lead children through the trees with adventure and intrigue, learning about woods and forests as they go.

From June, a giant wooden sculpture of one of the world’s best-loved monsters himself will be hidden in Bedgebury Pinetum. Another 14 of the 7ft tall sculptures will be hidden in forests across England, for families to track down. The 15 Gruffalos will all be different and are currently being individually-carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites.

Visitors are also invited to gather in Bedgebury with family and friends on Saturday 7 June to celebrate The Gruffalo’s anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic – inspired by an exciting party pack of forest-inspired picnic ideas, activities and bunting, free to download this Spring from the Forestry Commission’s website http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo.
Daryl Shute from Magic Light Pictures, the brand building and production company responsible for the award-winning animated Gruffalo films commented:

“The Gruffalo encourages followers to explore the real world with imagination, creativity and a true sense of adventure. With emphasis on learning and the great outdoors, Forestry Commission England is the perfect partner, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them in this anniversary year to launch these exciting new series of trails across the country.”
“The Gruffalo lives in the natural world so a local forest is the perfect place to set out with Mouse on his journey in search of these magnificent new wooden carvings of one of the nation’s favourite children’s picture book characters.”

Sandra Styles from Bedgebury commented:

“There is no better way to celebrate The Gruffalo than within the deep dark wood and forest that he calls home.

“The Gruffalo is a national treasure and so are our forests and this partnership will really help to bring the story to life and celebrate the anniversary in true Gruffalo style.

“All the activities have been carefully positioned at Forestry Commission sites across the country so you are never more than an hour away from a Gruffalo adventure, and we are very excited to be a part of the celebrations with The Gruffalo activity trails and a sculpture at Bedgebury.”

Details of trails and sculpture locations and the forest birthday picnic party pack are available from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo. Sign up online to find out more about the exciting year of forest celebrations.

Irene Ropery CobblestonesAs darkness descends, The Historic Dockyard takes on an eerie atmosphere, providing the perfect backdrop for tales of history, mystery, murder and intrigue – mixed with a little adventure and romance. This year’s ghost walks and spooky tales take visitors around the darkened cobbled streets of the Ropery buildings and into the dimly lit Ropery itself – an eerie experience in the darkened ¼ mile rope walk.

Commencing at 8pm and lasting approximately 1½ hours these eerie evenings cost £12 per person and run on the following dates:
Friday 25th October
Friday 1st & 15th November
Friday 13th December

Places are limited! To avoid disappointment, pre-booking is essential. Call 01634 823845 / 823852 or email ghostwalks@chdt.org.uk

Minimum age is 16 years if accompanied by a full paying adult over the age of 21.

Milton Chantry (Julieanne Savage) / CC BY-SA 2.0

There will be open days at the Milton Chantry, Gravesham’s oldest building, on Friday 13 September and Saturday 14 September. Entry is free and all visitors will be offered a complimentary audio guide which brings the building alive through its informative commentary.
On Saturday there will be a display supplied by Medieval Days Living History. There will be opportunity to try on some medieval fashion items, have a go at casting an iron coin and try your hand at spinning wool.

Melanie Norris said “Taking part in national events such as this enforces the importance of preserving and promoting local heritage. Milton Chantry is such a wonderful building and offers visitors a real sense of the past”. The Chantry was founded in 1322 by Aymer de Valence the Earl of Pembroke although its origins date back to around 1189. During the Middle Ages, many wealthy people built Chantry Chapels and gave them land to generate income in order to maintain a priest to pray for the owner and his family. The Chantry was occupied by a number of priests appointed by the Bishop of Rochester until around 1524. Like many other chapels, Milton Chantry was dissolved into Crown hands as part of Henry VIII’s reformation

Milton Chantry is located within the Fort Gardens close to Gordon Promenade and easily walkable from the town centre. The nearest car park is Milton Place. Public toilet facilities are located on the Promenade next to the Café.

Open times
Friday 13 September 10.30am – 3.30pm
Saturday 14 September 12noon – 5pm
Please note that due to the age of the building, at present it is not accessible to wheelchair users.

ORIGINAL 244a Fiona

For the first time ever at any event, Salute to the ‘40s has three of the leading 1940’s female performers together on one stage. With two Main Stages, two dancehalls, dance workshops, street performers and music across the site the weekend at The Historic Dockyard is going to be full of entertaining vintage delight! Keep Calm and Carry On to Salute to the ‘40s on 21st and 22nd September at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Read More

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Jubilee walk at Penshurst Place summer 2011c Maryann Webster

Jubilee walk at Penshurst Place summer 2011c Maryann Webster

Penshurst Place and Gardens today launches a newly published guide book. Written in part by Lord and Lady De L’Isle, whose family home is Penshurst Place, the guide gives visitors a unique and personal insight into the magnificent house dating back to 1341, and contains details of the architecture, contents, toy museum and glorious historic gardens. More

There are lots to discover this summer holiday at The Guildhall Museum, Rochester and the Old Brook Pumping Station, Chatham. More

Summer fete poster 2013

The WantedThe full line up of acts supporting The Wanted at this year’s Castle Concerts is now complete. Max, Nathan, Tom, Jay and Siva will storm the stage at Rochester’s Castle Gardens with their ferociously infectious tunes, including All Time Low and Glad You Came, plus tracks from their new album Third Strike. Tickets are still available but selling fast for the show, which takes place on Thursday, 18 July. More

RichardIII-blogpostTwo Medway pupils will be treading the boards this summer with a professional theatre company. Kent-based Changeling Theatre Company open-air tour of Richard III comes to Rochester Castle on 10 July and Upnor on 31 July and 1 August.

Ashley Stevens and Jacob Clarke are playing the princes in the tower at the Rochester and Upnor performances after successfully auditioning earlier this year. Ashley, who turns 16 next month, lives in Lordswood and has just completed his GCSEs, including drama. He is looking forward to performing in Medway with all the cast. He said: “I’m not sure acting is something I want to pursue because at the moment I need to concentrate on my A’ Levels studies – including drama. I’m really grateful to Changeling Theatre Company for giving me this opportunity. More

The Maize Maze returns to Penshurst Place this year – opening on Saturday 20th July. After great customer feedback for the Maize Maze last year, Penshurst Place will be replanting the attraction for their visitors to enjoy over the school summer holidays. The new shape this year will have a medieval theme and will be revealed nearer the time via Facebook and Twitter. There will also be a mini maze for smaller children and on
Sundays you can also join in a Fool’s errand with storytelling entertainment from Aardvark
Productions down at the Maze – from 2pm. Weather permitting – please check website for
details.

The maze will be free to visit for full paying garden ticket holders and Penshurst Place
season ticket holders. For voucher and other ticket and card holders there will be a small
additional charge of £2 per adult, £1 per child per visit.

How-To-Catch-a-Star-190A charming show to kick start the Spring break comes to The Brook Theatre, Chatham as part of the Sundays are for Kids programme.
How to Catch a Star is on Sunday, 26 May at 11.30am and 2.30pm.
This is the story of a boy who loved stars very much. Every night he watched stars from his bedroom window and wished he had one of his own. One day he decided he would try to catch a star.
This beautiful show comes to life with an irresistible blend of music, puppetry and storytelling.
Tickets are priced at £6 for adults and £5 for children.
To book phone the box office on 01634 338338 or visit http://www.medwayticketslive.co.uk

Here is a little something for this weekend if you have some time. Two venues over the two days, including some great ideas for gifts from crafters from all over the area and a few from beyond.

craft fairs

BROOK PUMPThe Old Brook Pumping Station in Solomons Road, Chatham has been completely refurbished.

The station has undergone extensive structural repairs, after a structural survery reveals subsidence was causing the front porch to lean forward and large cracks to appear in the walls. The survey revealed the combination of inadequate foundations and poor soil was the cause. The front porch has now been underpinned. Work during the six-year project included temporary support for the building, new foundations with reinforced concrete, plus replacement doors and ceiling, new signage, landscaping and decorative mouldings. More

Photo Credit & Copyright Simon Kelsey

Photo Credit & Copyright Simon Kelsey

Where can you build sandcastles, see knights do battle, attend a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and meet St George and his dragon, all in one day?

Thousands of visitors are expected to go along and do just that at this year’s English Festival, which takes place on Saturday 20 April at Riverside Country Park, Gillingham. Held annually on the closest Saturday to St George’s Day, the free family day out celebrates the iconic and ironic traditions of England. More

Kent’s leading wildlife charity is calling upon the horse riding fraternity to support its cross country ride this spring to raise vital funding towards the conservation of local wildlife.

The third Kent Wildlife Trust Charity Ride, supported by Barclays Bank and Lillicos Country Stores, will be held on Sunday 14th April. More

The Billabong Club has a year of entertainment lined up for us, if you need to know more go to their website where all will be revealed!

Patrick Monahan, the winner of ITV’s Show Me The Funny and star of Let’s Dance for Sport Relief comes to Medway for the first time since appearing on these TV shows. Patrick was voted Best Newcomer at Loaded’s 2012 Lafta Awards.

He is bringing his new tour “Shooting From The Lip” to The Billabong Comedy Club, The Royal Function Rooms, Star Hill, Rochester ME1 1XB on Thursday 28th February 2013. The venue has a licensed bar open till late.

Patrick has appeared all over the world and is an experienced warm up for TV shows including Jonathan Ross and Paul O’Grady amongst others. He has compered “Late and Live” at the Edinburgh Fringe for a number of years as well as doing his own shows.

Monahan’s humour relies heavily on audience interaction and an animated story-telling style that draws on his own experiences of growing up in Teesside to Irish and Iranian parents. He has been described as “Omid Djalili meets Dave Allen” as well as “Twinkle – Toed, Mischievous …….. Raised the Roof”. Come along and get a free hug as well as enjoying his cheeky chappie style of humour.

Doors open at 7.30pm with the comedy starting at 8pm.

busThursday 27 December will see the streets of Medway playing host to an array of old and unusual buses taking part in the Diamond Jubilee Bus Event. Nu-Venture have assembled a colourful collection of vehicles past and present which will supplement the normal bus services between about 1000 and 1530.

The event ‘HQ’ will be at the Acorn Wharf Coach Park in Gas House Lane, Rochester, just a short stroll from the shops and cafes in Rochester High Street, so while the mums are busy shopping, dads and kids can look at the buses on display in the coach park and take some free rides on the frequent runs between Rochester Coach Park and Chatham, the first bus from Chatham will depart at 0945 then every 15 minutes until 1530. For those travelling from further afield, there will also be a shuttle bus between Strood Station and the Coach Park, first bus 1005 then every 30 minutes until 1505.

Special bus routes will operate to and from Lodge Hill, Earl Estate, Medway Gate and also Princes Park to meet the service 150 to and from Maidstone.

The Friends of Chatham Traction will have a stall promoting their work to completely restore a 1939 Chatham & District double-deck bus.

The event builds on a similar – and very popular – event held in Maidstone in December 2002 for the Golden Jubilee.

Full details can be found by visiting www.nu-venture.co.uk

St Helen’s Church Christmas Tree Festival, Open Mondays to Saturdays from December 1st
until December 22nd 2012 11 a.m til 4 p.m

There are craft activities for the children and a mince pie and cup of tea so enjoy the space to rest, and come along and see over 60 Christmas trees decorated by the local community.

There is also a sealed auction of art work in aid of Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (Medway)

(excluding Saturday 15th and Thursday 20th December)

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