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Mon, 3 Apr 2017, 19:00 – Sun, 9 Apr 2017, 22:00 BST
Plans are well underway for the Henley-in-Arden Guild Hall Trust “Arts 4 All” Week which will take place from 3rd to the 9th April inclusive within the historic Guild Hall building on Henley High Street.
“The event will give local people young and old the opportunity to see quality performances on their doorstep and within a beautifully intimate and atmospheric location” says the Trust’s event organiser Laurence Marshall.
Opening at 7.30 pm on Monday 3rd April with a performance by Karl Loxley, who shot to recent fame appearing on the BBC One show The Voice singing the famous opera aria ‘Nessun Dorma’ to over 9 million viewers and receiving many standing ovations from all the coaches; giving Rita Ora shivers and rating his performance “Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!” and prompting Sir Tom Jones to say “I like the sound of his voice, I like the timbre of his voice, you don’t learn that, that’s a sound within you”.
Wednesday 5th April sees the arrival of Edinburgh Festival sensation Dan Clews who since signing to Sir George Martin’s publishing label has performed to a “sold out” Albert Hall, played numerous sessions with Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2 and followed Mumford and Sons on stage at Glastonbury. Dan brings The James Taylor story to Henley in Arden in a show that follows the rise and fall of an icon whose music shaped a generation and the show is a mesmerising mix of incredible live renditions of hit songs and classics such as Fire & Rain, Sweet Baby James and You’ve Got a Friend.
Thursday 6th April brings an incredible drama double bill featuring Caroline Burns Cooke’s “And The Rope Still Tugging Her Feet”, a one woman dramatisation of the Kerry Babies Scandal of 1984 in which Burns Cooke takes on multiple roles as she tells the story of a single mother erroneously accused of the murder of a new-born baby. This is a compelling performance of this shocking story of misogyny, police corruption and the intolerance of the Irish church that happened well within living memory. In contrast, this is followed by Why Is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt? Written and performed by Claire Dowie and first presented in 1990 at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, this is a fierce and subversive monologue about gender expectations and stereotypes, spoken by someone who doesn’t want to be a ‘girl’, doesn’t want to wear skirts, wants to be John Lennon. What begins as frustration at the impracticality of the compulsory school skirt – only good for showing off legs and no good for playing football – becomes an articulate and passionate invective against obligatory femininity. Why Is John Lennon Wearing A Skirt? Is a powerful condemnation of society’s aggressive reinforcement of gender constructs, and the difficulties of finding a way to be who you want to be.
Specially created for the Arts 4 All week by local performing group HADS (Henley Amateur Dramatic Society) sees Tuesday 4th, Friday 7th and Saturday 8th April evening performances of four of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues exploring four seemingly mundane characters each harbouring hidden depths.
“A Lady of Letters” features Bev Walker as Irene, a one – woman neighbourhood watch with a self-appointed duty to keep the world, or at least her small corner of it, on the straight and narrow. But when her letter-writing gets out of hand, the results unexpectedly transform Irene’s colourless life
“A Chip In The Sugar” is performed by Phil Walker whilst Sheena Ison takes on the Julie Walters role in “Her Big Chance” and Ray Evans completes the line up in “Playing Sandwiches” as well as directing and producing the show!
Saturday 8th April also sees daytime performances with a 10.30 a.m. (3+) and 11.30 a.m. 6 (+) Story Telling with John Kirk. the first session is a family story telling session for all ages (3+) and covers 45 minutes of folk and fairy tales from Britain and around the world. Session two The Twits (6+) begins at 11.30 and John Kirk brings Mr and Mrs Twit, Mugglewump and Roly Poly to life in this 40 minute retelling of road Dahl's classic story - both sessions are free of charge. At lunchtime two sets of Jazz & Swing with a contemporary twist from Metz Jnr are followed by a Poetry special hosted by Worcestershire’s former Poet Laureate Theo Theobald and guests. The evening's Talking Heads performance by HADS is preceded by an opportunity to remember the music of Jim Reeves in Tony Wall’s authentic tribute to one of the most important performers in Country Music history. Jim Reeves undoubtedly played an important role in the worldwide acceptance of Country music opening the door for many of today’s leading entertainers.
Again, on Saturday 8th in a special performance at St John’s Church, Henley in Arden Guild Hall Trust is pleased to have secured a performance by the Mulligan Sisters from the heart of Ireland. The girls have been singing together since they were three years of age. Mary is a Mezzo Soprano and Aideen is a Soprano. They sing in beautiful harmony with a wonderful mix of classical, sacred, operatic and popular music. Their repertoire includes ‘O mio Babbino Caro’, ‘Time to Say Goodbye’, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to mention a few. They studied singing in the London College of Music under vocal coach Soo Bee Lee & Irene Sanford of the Royal Irish Academy and guested with Ronan Tynan in the New York 911 Commemoration Concert for the New York Fire Department.
The Arts 4 All event concludes on Sunday 9th April with daytime performances from local talents including the Annie Davies Jazz Trio and Stevie T and an evening stand-up comedy event Theo Theobald's An Evening of Laughter (16+) Featruring up and coming stand-up acts and more.