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Showing posts from 2016

Join the festive season!

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Christmas at The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre

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The Spring in Havant is getting geared up for Christmas with a range of festive shows, and we are assured that there is something for everyone!


This year The Spring is putting on two special festive shows – one for the adults, and one for the children.

A Christmas Carol and Cabaret takes place from Wednesday 14 December – Friday 16 December, and is a night strictly for the adults to enjoy! Each evening, there will be a performance of A Christmas Carol by the hilarious (and slightly rude) Living Spit, plus a cabaret performance from a different artist each night before and after the show. The Spring will be turned into a winter wonderland, with festive food from Tilly the Tram outside, Christmas cocktails, and even some bauble-making!


This year, The Spring has commissioned their very first Christmas family show exclusively for Havant, with the talented Commotion Dance. The show, Where is Christmas? is an enchanting, immersive performance for little ones aged 7 and under, and their fami…

Christmas at The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre

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The Spring in Havant is getting geared up for Christmas with a range of festive shows, and we are sure that there is something for everyone!

This year The Spring is putting on two special festive shows – one for the adults, and one for the children.

A Christmas Carol and Cabaret takes place from Wednesday 14 December – Friday 16 December, and is a night strictly for the adults to enjoy! Each evening, there will be a performance of A Christmas Carol by the hilarious (and slightly rude) Living Spit, plus a cabaret performance from a different artist each night before and after the show. We will be turning The Spring into our very own winter wonderland, with festive food from Tilly the Tram outside, Christmas cocktails, and even some bauble-making!

This year, we are very excited to announce that we have commissioned our very first Christmas family show exclusively for Havant, with the talented Commotion Dance. The show, Where is Christmas? is an enchanting, immersive performance for li…

Welcome autumn!

As it appears in Portsmouth View, November 2016 Welcome autumn; Guns N’ Roses November Rain was playing and the weather turned cold and wet when I wrote this. As it gets darker, I hope readers won’t stay indoors too much. There are comedy and theatre shows, as well as concerts in the many venues around the city to enjoy. The second chamber music concert by the Van Kuijk Quartet at the Guildhall was a reminder of how thrilling watching a live concert can be. It was also amazing to hear such world class musicians in Portsmouth. The next concert will be on 30 January with Ensemble 360. This was a very musical week with Dr George Burrows Head of the Centre for Performing Arts giving a talk about Monteverdi’s opera Ulysses’ Homecoming at the New Theatre Royal on Tuesday night. The next day, Dr Burrows launched the exhibition of Messiah and Portsmouth: Then and Now at the Guildhall, which outlines the research he has been doing for a special performance of the Messiah in March 2017. T…

Science is so much a part of our lives

As appeared in the Portsmouth View, October 2016

Looking at the programme of activities for the HG Wells Festival you can see how Portsmouth has given him much inspiration. The festival programme takes in everything from talks about Wells’ influence on popular culture and his passion for human rights to the latest scientific thinking on time travel and a creative writing and science fiction workshop. Science is so much a part of our lives that we do not often realise. When you make a cup of tea and the dry leaves turn into a comforting brew in the cup, it is science in action. All that you have in our mobile phone is science. Science is all around us.

We do a lot at the university to encourage young people to study science. Sometimes it surprised me that we have to work so hard to do that. After all, science is really fascinating. Do we not wonder about how trees die down in the winter to come blooming in the spring? Or have we taken science for granted?

This month I urge you to enga…

Rare D-Day craft has found a home

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Agreement has been reached on the final resting place of LCT 7074, the last Second World War Landing Craft (Tank) (LCT) in the UK, one of the last in the world, and a campaign veteran of the D-Day landings. It has been announced that The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) is to work in partnership with Portsmouth City Council to locate the craft at the city’s D-Day Museum, an affiliate of The NMRN, in time for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2019 when the transformed museum will be reopened. The agreement is subject to funding but has been the long-held preferred option for the vessel. LCT 7074 was saved for the nation two years ago with the support of a £916,149 grant from the National Memorial Heritage Fund. Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The NMRN said: “It is the perfect place to display LCT 7074 and put it in the context of the D-Day story. “Not only will it strengthen the D-Day Museum’s collection but it will be a powerful re…

Remembering the raid on Entebbe – 40 years on

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TV historian Saul David comes to The Spring


The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre is delighted to welcome Professor Saul David to speak about his latest book, Operation Thunderbolt.

It’s now 40 years since the daring rescue of the hostages trapped on Air France flight 139, which was forced to land at Entebbe in Uganda – then under the dictatorship of Idi Amin. The Israeli military mounted a complex but ultimately successful operation to free the hostages, who numbered more than 100.

Saul David is a historian, broadcaster and critically-acclaimed writer. Born in Monmouth, he began his education at a tiny school where half of the pupils were his cousins. He traces the start of his love of history to a teacher at his second primary school, and then to sixth-form teaching at Ampleforth College. He began writing his first history book at the age of 25.

Saul recently presented World War Two: A Timewatch Guide for BBC2. He has presented and appeared in a number of BBC documentaries including…

The irresistible attraction of Sherlock Holmes

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The silhouette of Sherlock Holmes, with his deerstalker hat, pipe and magnifying glass, is instantly recognisable. The stories have been translated into many languages, and new stories are always being written. All over the world actors have made their name by playing the famous – and infinitely malleable – detective, and groups meet to discuss and dress as characters from the stories.

But what is behind this extraordinary attraction to the character of Holmes? 


Go along to the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, to listen to Michael Gunton, Senior Archivist at Portsmouth City Library,  who will explore some of the reasons for our enduring fascination with Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps due to the hugely popular television series starting Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, Holmes is often mistaken for a historical figure, rather than a fictional creation.

An extensive collection of items relating to Conan Doyle is housed in the Library’s second floor history suite, and Michael Gunton ha…

UnPOPpable at Victorious Festival

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As I walked around the seafront, operation dismantling was going on after the very successful Victorious Festival. I'm not much into the music, but I spent Saturday volunteering with the British Science Association Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch to run some balloon science experiments attached to the "unPOPpable" show.


We were showing kids how to skewer balloons without them popping (unpoppable, you see!), running balloon races and helping kids make their own nebula in a jam jar.





Based on a children's book by Tim Hopgood, unPOPpable was a story of a yellow balloon that was, you guess it, unpoppable! The balloon took an adventure into outer space and when it came back down to earth, magic happened.


The show was the result of collaboration between cosmologists at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) at the University of Portsmouth and associate artists working with the New Theatre Royal's Creative Lab.


We wanted to create art work inspired by scienc…

Portsmouth is a foodie paradise

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This article appears in the Portsmouth View published 12 August 2016. 
Portsmouth has become a real foodie paradise and no one is more pleased about it than me. I love food, not only in eating it, but also in creating meals. So living here is such a delight for me.
The monthly farmers market on Palmerston Road is a must and the next one is on 21 August. It is the best place to find fresh local produce and stock up on delicious cakes, preserves or wines.
Summer also means food festivals of which there are many you can find in this bustling city.
We have just witnessed a Gin Festival in Portsmouth Guildhall, home also to beer festivals. In fact, make a note in your diary for the Octoberfest celebration there on 21 October.
This weekend the Thai Food Festival in Castle Field, a regular feature on the summer calendar, will complement the Kite Festival nicely offering favourites such as pad-thai and fishcakes.
Of course we also have the annual Southsea Food Festival last month. Always a …

Supporting local authors: JS Law

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I have enjoyed supporting local authors. I think it's wonderful that Portsmouth is home to historically great authors like Kipling, Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and that tradition of great writing continues to today.

Author James Law launched his first book in August 2015 after a three-book deal with Headlines. Tenacity launch party was held in the atmospheric Royal Naval Submarine Museum in Gosport.



I worked with James for some publicity for this launch, pitching his story to BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, as well as securing radio and newspaper interviews locally.

BBC Radio Solent interviewed James on the Katie Martin programme, and he was also given air time on Express FM.

There was a small article and a photograph with the Lord Mayors of Portsmouth and Gosport in the Gosport Edition of the Portsmouth News. How many book launches can boast a two Lord Mayors in attendance?

The crowning glory was a two-page interview entitled "On the Right Side of Law" with a photog…