Saxon life, escapee kids and Stone Age painting

Butser Ancient Farm near Petersfield will open seven days a week from the Easter weekend.  The farm currently has 17 lambs and six baby goats frolicking amongst the roundhouses; the kids are quite the escape artists so you never know where they’re likely to pop up.

Over the Easter weekend Anglo Saxon re-enactment group Herigeas Hundas will be greeting the spring and making the farm their home with demonstrations, traditional crafts, cooking and fighting. The group will be showing visitors what life would have been like in 5th to 7th century Hampshire with the backdrop of the farm’s Saxon Long Hall. Families can get a further taste for Saxon life by following the farm’s spring trail to find and translate Saxon runes and reveal a secret message.  

 Each day of the holidays there’s also the chance to get hands on with some DIY archaeology experiments, from making mosaics to Stone Age painting, and to learn more about the farm and archaeology with ten-minute taster talks. On Wednesdays visitors will have the chance to learn the art of felting and create something special to take home.

Visitors to Butser Ancient Farm over Easter will also get a sneak preview of the construction of this year’s giant 30ft wicker man for the farm’s Beltain festival on May 5.  The wicker man design changes every year and is only revealed on the night of the festival where it is ceremonially burned to welcome in the summer months.

See www.butserancientfarm.co.uk

Godalming’s spring festival is on April 7

Godalming Town Council’s annual Spring Festival will be celebrating the delights of the new season with an inspiring day out in Godalming. On Saturday, April 7 between 10am-5pm, visitors will be able to discover handmade items by creative craftspeople and enjoy a mouth-watering array of artisan street food, drink and produce from hand-picked local producers.

This year’s Spring Festival is set to be a real treat with live music and entertainment at Godalming’s iconic Pepperpot. Punch & Judy shows, children’s activities and a ride on the popular Dobby Horse Carousel will all be on offer in Church Street to keep the children amused.

A wide variety of stalls including gifts, jewellery, fashion accessories and crafts will be found throughout the town centre as well as the Cider festival at The Star in Church Street. Godalming’s shops, hostelries and the Godalming Museum will be open to visitors. Godalming’s own Fleur de Lys Morris Dancers will be performing for your delight during the day and of course, no spring festival would be complete without a traditional hog roast, which you will find on the High Street.

For more information go www.godalming-tc.gov.uk/spring-festival/

CHURCHER’S – YOU ROCK!

REVIEW – School of Rock

Churcher’s College, Petersfield

Wednesday, April 21

Churcher’s pupils proved they are Petersfield’s School of Rock, as they air-guitared and fist-pumped their way through this musical.

Based on the Linklater film starring Jack Black, the stage show of School of Rock was created by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Julian Fellowes (yes, of Downton Abbey fame – who’d have thought??)  Different music to the film but the plot is the same – eternal slacker Dewey, kicked out of his band and kipping at his friend Ned’s place, is a failed wannabe rock star. He’s broke, he can’t get into Battle of the Bands and he’s definitely not flavour of the month with Ned’s girlfriend as he hasn’t paid the rent yet again.

Oliver Fogelin as Dewey is engaging and talented; I suspect, not at all a slacker in real life. Great performance.
In the show, Dewey pretends to be Ned, a supply teacher, and takes a job at a smart prep school which prides itself on tradition, discipline and academic success. Dewey shocks the pupils with his don’t care attitude to grades and timetables and he’s on his way to being found out when he discovers the children are musically gifted. He teaches them rock history, swaps the cello for a bass and piano for some prog keyboards and hey presto – he has a band!

In the process of course, he gives them the freedom to express their feelings. The boy who likes Streisand, reads Vogue and is oppressed by his football-mad dad, gets to be the band’s stylist (Jackson Wilks – take a bow; you are superb). The girl who never speaks proves to have a golden singing voice (Milly Greenall – well done!). Zack whose dad wants him to be an academic success so he doesn’t get stuck in a poorly-paid job just wants to be a rock guitarist (Roscoe Davey – devil’s horns to you, sir).

There’s a very moving song from the children in the first act, where they explain the pressure they’re under from parents. If Only You Would Listen is a plea to be seen and heard, and I had a lump in my throat when these diminutive lower school pupils turned to the audience and showed their vulnerability in the song.

The big, catchy number is Stick It to the Man – the rock anthem in which Dewey teaches the kids to break out and rebel.  What do you do when “parents overwork ya” or they’re “all up in your Facebook” or make you eat “gluten-free vegan snack foods”? You “stick it to the man”, the man being your parents, your teacher, your boss… any figure of authority preventing you from being yourself. It was lovely watching the kids let go and leap around the stage. It left everyone smiling and humming the tune in the interval.

Of course, the children aren’t the only ones who are trapped in their lives, needing rock to free them. As the put-upon Ned, Harry Marden has the audience’s sympathy, waiting until his girlfriend Patty (played with confidence by Ruby Hall) is out of the house, before playing Guitar Hero and rocking out on the sofa.

Matilda Shapland plays the head teacher Miss Mullins, who needs to take off her specs and indulge her passion for Stevie Nicks (I loved the little scene as she hums along to Fleetwood Mac on her headphones in her office). Her Queen of the Night aria in the music class was incredible – Matilda has starred in West End musicals and it’s easy to see why from this performance.

There were so many fantastic performances in this show – from the band perched above the stage to the smallest of the performers rocking out front. It’s a big, warm-hearted show about freedom of expression – and Churcher’s totally nailed it.

Well done director and choreographer Stacey Carty, musical director Helen Purchase, production manager Chris Pellet and the many, many backstage crew and enthusiastic cast. You rock!

Kat Wootton

St Ives School grounds given a spring makeover

St Ives School in Haslemere saw children, staff and parents come together for a ground force afternoon last week. They worked together to weed, clear, sweep, plant and decorate the school surroundings and took great pride in adding their own special touch to the grounds of the school.

The afternoon allowed children to work in mixed groups to take responsibility for the upkeep of the school grounds. This was achieved by completing activities such as pebble decorating, planting herbs, sewing wild flower seeds and re-planting hanging baskets. Of course there was a much needed rest mid-way through the afternoon for a drink and a biscuit for the busy bees!

It was fantastic to see the whole school getting stuck in with the community project, (including the Nursery children and staff), as well as children working alongside their friends and relatives to further improve their school surroundings.

St Ives would like to thank Haslemere Garden Centre and Squires Garden Centre for supporting the ground force afternoon.

Colourful show as St Nick’s takes on Joseph

St Nicholas’ School in Church Crookham put on a  colourful performance recently. The senior production was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.

A West End favourite, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favourite son.

With a wonderfully diverse musical score and a cast and crew of nearly 60 pupils, supported by a ten-piece band, this high-energy production was indeed a truly colourful event.  There was a dazzling array of spectacular costumes including, of course, “the coat!”

The show was great fun for all the performers, with music ranging from the Country and Western style of  One more Angel to the rocking 50s Elvis pastiche of Song of the King.

Senior pupils Catherine Harris, who played Joseph, and Charlotte Hutchinson and Jessica Phillips, who were the Narrators, were outstanding in their roles, showing great stamina, vocal quality and stage presence.

Director and Head of Drama Josie Downer said: “Everyone has worked so hard and it is very rewarding seeing the girls put on such a slick and thoroughly professional production.”

Vintage tea at Blenheim Court raised money for Liss Triangle

Blenheim Court Care Home welcomed visitors on Friday, March 9, when it hosted an afternoon vintage high tea. Money raised from the event has been donated to the Triangle Community Centre in Liss.

The staff team delighted in welcoming the guests, who were treated to delicious homemade pastries, cakes and refreshments in the sun filled bistro and bar, freshly made by the home’s head chef.

Guests attending the event had the opportunity to tour the home including the cinema, music room and beauty salon as well as individual rooms and facilities.

General Manager Lee Houston said: It’s wonderful to be able to host these events and give something back to the Triangle Centre, particularly as they have been so supportive to us throughout the last year.”

For more information about Blenheim Court Care Home and the upcoming events please contact Lee Houston General Manager on 01730 606530 or email manager@blenheim-court.com

Book now for Easter holiday fun from the RAPP van

A cracking Easter holiday is in store for youngsters across East Hampshire as the Rural Areas Play Project (RAPP) and Get Activ8d schemes are back to provide ‘egg-citing’ activities over the two-week break.

The Easter holidays are nearly here and children, parents and grandparents from around the district are set to have great fun at the two schemes organised by East Hampshire District Council.

The two-week Easter Holiday programme runs from Tuesday, April 2 to Friday, April 13, and the RAPP vans will be visiting towns and villages across East Hampshire, including Froyle, Whitehill and Bordon, Rake, Buriton, Clanfield, Selborne, Horndean, Liphook, Medstead, Lindford, Liss, Froxfield, Bentley, East Meon and Greatham.

RAPP was set up 12 years ago by East Hampshire District Council to give children up to the age of 11 (under eights must be accompanied by an adult) the opportunity to get involved in fun activities, games, adventures, workshops and meet new friends in the school holidays.

This Easter, RAPP will feature lots of Easter-themed arts and crafts sessions, as well as some samba drumming, bug hunting, balloon making, volcano ‘eggs-ploding’, plant growing, kite flying, raft building, unicorn making fun!

The full programme of activities and locations can be found here: https://www.easthants.gov.uk/rapp

Get Activ8d, which provides sporting activities to children aged seven to 14, is also back this Easter in Alton, Whitehill & Bordon, Kingsley, Blackmoor, Horndean and Petersfield.

The Get Activ8d Easter programme includes street dance, cheerleading, hula hooping, tennis, golf, gymnastics and climbing sessions.

The full programme of activities and locations can be found here: https://www.easthants.gov.uk/get-activ8d

You will be able to book online from 10am on Tuesday, March 20 through the My East Hampshire District Council portal: https://my.easthants.gov.uk/login/.