This is our36th season since BArts came into being in 2000 and we continue to enjoy the enthusiastic support of people who value the arts as much as we do - not only as a pleasant diversion, but as a vital and integral part of a rewarding and satisfying life beyond the gadgets and gimmicks of the C21st.
The Spotlight, our main local venue, has recently undergone some refurbishment, with a new style Café Bar and extended menu. From April 1st, pre-show ‘platters for two’ will be available before evening performances, a huge advantage to people who dash in straight from work. There is new terrace seating in the auditorium, with two sets of stairs with handrails and some renovation of the dressing-rooms and back-stage areas.
Music and Theatre Highlights
Award-winning theatre company Illyria are presenting two very different productions for us this summer - an open-air performance of Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and, indoors, Gilbert and Sullivan’s musical ‘romp’ ‘The Pirates of Penzance'.
Local theatre companies will be providing an interesting selection of plays and musicals this season - all just a little bit off the ‘beaten track’. The Vallé Academy start the season with the musical ‘The Addams Family’; Hoddesdon Players present Ayckbourn’s ‘Private Fears in Public Places’; EHOS Players are performing an adaptation of Goldoni’s farce ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ and Broxbourne Theatre Company have the Dolly Parton musical ‘Nine To Five’. The Vallé Studio Players will be presenting ‘Stags and Hens’. Mayhem’s young performers are treading the boards in an original fantasy ‘In Your Dreams’ and a revamped version of the Disney musical ‘Peter Pan’.
Hoddesdon Music Club’s recitals focus on the Trombone in April and the Cello in May. BArts invite you to a singing-for-fun workshop ‘From Sullivan to Sondheim’ on June 16th, tackling some favourite songs from the world of musical theatre, and are presenting a ‘Teatime Treat’ with a programme of film and show music by pianist Barbara Manning on June 27th and a delicious afternoon tea. Barbara’s ever-popular free lunchtime concerts - My Kind of Music - in the Spotlight Café Bar continue through April to August.
The Three Valleys Male Voice Choir have four concerts during the Spring / Summer season - one in May, two in July and one in August. All are for charity.
Arts and Crafts Events and Activities
Two exhibitions feature in the new programme. BArts’ ‘The Glory of the Garden’ is in the Spotlight Gallery from June 11th to July 20th and The Lea Valley Art Society has a one-day exhibition at Broxbourne Parish Centre on May 26th. Hazelwood Art Group are exhibiting at Dream Café, Hoddesdon. Pictures are for sale at all 3 exhibitions.
BArts’ Watercolour Classes continue through the Summer Term.
Hoddesdon Floral Art Society also has a full programme of special events and BArts’ four affiliated Art Groups offer regular classes and workshops for every ability.
The monthly lectures of The Arts Society East Herts cover various art subjects and this season includes a focus on Modern Art and El Dorado as well as Archaeology and the Orient.
BArts’ Let’s Do Lunch on June 1st is about the life and work of social satirist, critic and artist William Hogarth ‘Painter of Mankind’.
Lively Discussions and Informative Lectures and Talks
BArts’ ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ series offers two more titles in this programme - ‘Dancing Days’ on May 18th and 24th and ‘Shaw Corner - George Bernard Shaw’ on July 13th. Facts, anecdotes, musical illustrations and a dash of humour, served with a two-course lunch and a glass of wine for £14 seems to be a winning combination so early booking is essential.
Talks also feature at the regular monthly meetings of the three local U3As and subjects will include Thames Tug Boats, the Beatles, Folklore of Hertfordshire, Pepys and the Great Fire of London, Gemstones, Travel, Kosovan Crafts, Marriage, Humour, the Victorians and Edward and Mrs. Simpson.
If you are contemplating sampling this year’s open-air Shakespeare, but find the Bard a bit baffling, come along to the informal talk on ‘The Merchant of Venice’ by Lee Rayner on the morning of the performance on July 12th and pick up a few tips to enhance your appreciation.
For those who like to take part in lively discussion, Lea Valley Discussion Group’s fortnightly meetings will cover items in the news as well as Free Speech, Multiculturalism, Prison and Citizenship. Guests are always welcome to sample such events before deciding to become regular members. The Hoddesdon and Broxbourne branch of the WEA has a ten-week course on ‘Every Life Tells A Story’, beginning on April 19th.
BArts’ Affiliated Groups between them cover every aspect of the Arts, for every age group, and it is clearly worthwhile getting together with people who share your particular interests. Three of our groups have recently won local awards - Mayhem Theatre Arts, The Stoller School of Dancing and the Vallé Academy - for their outstanding achievements and work, particularly with young people.
Our 100 plus individual Sponsors, Patrons and Friends already make a huge contribution to sustaining our annual programme and benefit from special discounts on major events, as well as occasional previews of exhibitions and opportunities to socialise, but we need to recruit new members if we are to continue to ‘bring the arts to life’ in Broxbourne. If you are not already a member, please turn to page 4 of our printed programme and fill in the application form!
The Borough of Broxbourne now has its very own Lottery and part of the proceeds may be directed towards your choice of local organisation, so you could help BArts in this way and have the chance of winning the top prize of £25,000 with more favourable odds than the National Lottery!
Thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events in the near future.