Monday, June 09, 2014

Happenings in Frome, now and soon

Flames licked the artwork at an unusual preview at Black Swan Arts on Friday as Jenny Purrett set fire to a trail of gunpowder to burn through a piece of paper ~ those columns behind the onlookers that look a bit like silver birches are actually rolls of paper that have been shot with a rifle. Other artists in the dRAW exhibition use tracing, grinding, and programming techniques. It's intriguingly provocative and on until 28th June.

Frome Festival is now less than a month away with several events already sold out, so if you've got special favourites, get booking! I'm going to do a Lyn Gardner and offer my own top tips:
Nevertheless Pub Theatre is first pick (I didn't say I wouldn't be partisan) as Rosie and I are thrilled with the six 10-minute scripts we'll be producing at Cornerhouse on Tuesday 8th & Wednesday 9th July.  Here we are at a production meeting, being thrilled, and here's the flyer! Lovely Livi Dennis, who shone in our last Frome Scriptwriters show Festive Stockings, is joined by rising star Alex Poole, and ticket price is as always a startlingly mere £5. I'm also looking forward to Miracle Theatre's Tempest, on at the Merlin's amazing amphitheatre on Sunday 6th ~ their Waiting for Godot last summer was brilliant.
Moving from plays to poetry, it should be a great night at the Garden Cafe on Monday 7th as 
Hilda Sheehan is guest at the Festival Poetry Cafe and one open-mic poet will be chosen for the year-long title Festival Poet Laureate.  More excellent writerly events are featured on Words at Frome Festival  but I'm also looking forward to the Open Studios, the Hidden Gardens, and big dance nights with the Levellers at the Cheese&Grain and Seize the Day at the United Reform Church Hall, as well as great local bands like the Critters and Pete Gage Band playing FREE in the pubs every night.  Frome's speciality is accessible and egalitarian, so there's a range of events for every age and taste ~ where else would you find free-to-view events like a vintage-costumed bike ride in the park, fairy cakes in the children's library, and an international food feast followed by dancing in the market yard, alongside concerts & recitals and philosophical discussions about... er, the Moomintrolls...

To demonstrate I'm not so obsessed with Frome that I actually tether myself to the town boundaries, here's a couple of shots from my stay last week with friends in Urchfont, where one of our rural walks took us through Wedhampton, a kind of open-air house museum, with a legend on the village noticeboard to indicate the special exhibits so you can walk from end to end marvelling at their thatches, beams, manicured lawns, and guard-duty hedges. More accessible are the curios at Avebury Manor, refurbished entirely as it would have been in the early 20th Century, where you can browse through drawers and cupboards, leaf through magazines, and even play records on the His-Master's-Voice gramophone. Fascinating stuff, I wish all museums were so observer-friendly.

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