Round-up of shows and events

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ANNABELL Alexander celebrates the centenary of International Women’s Day (IWD) in Littlehampton Museum’s Hearne Room Gallery.

Her exhibition is entitled Women By Women and features artwork created by local women along with information about IWD. This is among the first of many worldwide events that will be held throughout 2011 to celebrate the centenary. Every year since 1911, International Women’s Day events have occurred all around the world. These events range from small informal gatherings to large events that take the whole year to organise. The day, usually on March 8, is to celebrate women’s achievements and progress.

Featured in Annabell’s exhibition will be a triptych entitled The Silent Revolution, a piece of artwork which will be completed in various stages over the year and will have a total of 100 women contributing towards it.

The exhibition will be its first appearance. It will be shown at various other events during 2011 at various stages of its completion.

On February 19th, the Museum will hold an auction of the exhibition artwork, proceeds of which will go to the Sussex (formerly Arun) International Women’s Day group, whose main annual free, women’s event is on March 12 at the Laburnum Centre in Bognor Regis.

The event includes singing and dancing workshops, arts and crafts and alternative therapists with free taster treatments. Awareness and empowerment guidance is also offered with talks and workshops. There will be information stands about various groups and issues relating to women and families including Women’s Aid, Ovarian Cancer, CAB, CVS, Expanding Communities, plus other health, home and more global groups/issues. More details on www.siwd.org.uk.

Women By Women runs until Friday, February 25.

A NEW festival in Chichester will help keep alive the legacy of the city’s failed bid to become the UK’s City Of Culture for 2013.

The bid identified the potential for a number of mini-festivals which could be staged throughout the year - both to address the shortfall in cultural provision and at the same time act as a cost-effective attraction for both residents and visitors to enjoy.

Mark Ringwood, a key member of the bid team, has kept his word with the launch of the new

The Celtic Footprint Festival through his Roots Around The World organisation.

As Mark explains, the festival aims to celebrate the culture of the Celts – who were actually here in the Chichester area before The Romans.

“As a consequence there will be three days of events from Friday, February 11 to Sunday, February 13 which include concerts, film, storytelling, and a workshop.

Three major evening of music take place at Chichester Festival Theatre with performances by Galician piper Anxo Lorenzo, Northern Ireland’s Cara Dillon Band, Lunasa from Ireland, Capercaillie from Ireland and Scotland, The Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir & Allan yh y Fan from Wales, and Richard Wood from Prince Edward Island in Canada.

Welsh storyteller Guto Dafis gives two free performances related to the legend of Mari Lwyd and in direct reference to a print depicting the legend which hangs in Pallant House Gallery. At Fishbourne Roman Palace historian Gordon Hayden gives a free lecture about the role the Celts played in establishing Chichester and champion Celtic harpist Harriet Earis gives a free concert.

New Park Cinema screens the award-winning animated film The Secret Of Kells and Richard Wood gives a fiddle workshop at The Oxmarket.

“The importance of food has not been forgotten with three restaurants – El Castizo (Chichester), The Earl of March (Lavant) and The Partridge (Singleton) featuring Celtic-based dishes on their respective menus.

“It is hoped that the festival will become an annual event on a smaller scale to Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival which has grown over 20 years to become a major three-week long attraction bringing millions of pounds and visitors into the city at an acknowledged quiet time of the year.

“The idea of the festival is that it will grow. Getting a festival off the ground for the first time is always a bit tricky, but we have got music and film and story-telling and we have even got the restaurants involved. We are thinking outside the box - that’s why we have provided food!

“It is being done on a wing and a prayer. The only money we have received for it was a small amount from West Sussex County Council which we are very grateful for. But nothing from (Chichester District) Council.”

More details on www.rootsaroundtheworld.info.

THUNDER & Tempest brings the works of Alan Tobias-Williams to the garden at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery until April 23.

Alan’s combined metal and stone sculptures with surprising recycled elements for the show. Alan cuts, welds and paints steel, drawing through the paint with an angle grinder.

Alan was first inspired as a child by his mother, a sculptor who taught him to work in stone. He then trained at the School of Visual Arts and New York University. He travelled through Europe visiting his uncle in London and studying artists such as his favourites Delacroix and Rodin. He continued his journey in North Africa to see their inspiration first hand.

His main subject is the power within - clearly displayed in his treatments of bulls, horses, figures, birds, and unusual abstractions. The venue is promising an exhibition which fuses joy, sadness, whimsy and anger.

“A lot of the inspiration for it came from some of the disasters, the tsunamis,” says Alan, “and then at some point I had a fairly horrific accident. When I began to recover, I began to admire the natural strengths in certain animals.”

Alan was knocked off a motor-cycle: “I spent about 14 months in steel braces, trying to avoid the thought of losing the damned thing. There are specialists and there are specialists, and every two or three weeks, I would go along and they would shake their heads.”

Eventually, he made progress.

Another influence has been Alan’s mother, though their approaches are different: “She would spend six months polishing a piece. I spend six months finishing a piece, but I find the stone in its natural state to some degree more interesting than when it is overly worked.”

More details about Alan’s work on www.art2steel.com.

SCOTTISH duo Ewan Wilkinson & Sandy Brechin are the guests of Arundel’s Willows Folk Club on Wednesday, February 16.

Club spokesman Chris Davis said: “Ewan & Sandy make a sound guaranteed to make you sit up and take notice, offering the sublime blend of Ewan’s powerful yet melodic vocals and guitar work with Sandy’s electrifying accordion. These two take Scottish folk music to high levels of excitement and entertainment!

“Arguably the better known of the duo, Sandy is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s finest accordion players, having extensively toured both in the UK and internationally with several groups including The Sandy Brechin Band and the The Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience. Ewan too is widely regarded in his native Scotland as one of the finest young talents to emerge in the tradition for a long time, and together these two are a musical powerhouse.

“Well known further up the country, the duo venture down south only very occasionally, and their appearance at the Willows offers a unique chance to experience their amazing sound.”

Entrance for Ewan & Sandy’s gig is £5. The Willows Folk Club meets every Wednesday at 8pm in the function room of Arundel Football Club, Mill Road, Arundel, situated to the rear of the large public car park opposite Arundel Castle. For more information about the club, call 07790 511054 or log on to either www.willowsfolkclub.org or www.myspace.com/willowsfolkclub.

RESIDENTS at two care homes have been sharing memories from their lives through a reminiscence project run by Chichester Festival Theatre.

Since the autumn, a group from Marriott House and Lodge in Chichester, have been talking about their experiences of growing up, their working lives, hobbies and entertainment. The project has been set up by the theatre’s learning and participation team, with the support of West Sussex Arts & Health Network.

Emily Mundy, community and education practitioner at the theatre, has organised each session at Marriott Lodge – which is owned by Barchester Healthcare - using songs, games and everyday objects from Chichester Museum to spark off discussions.

She explained: “It’s been fascinating to share stories with people who’ve grown up in very different times and have had a range of experiences. Reminiscence is about creating a friendly place for residents to share their memories, which brings people together and helps folk to keep talking to each other.”

The Theatre has also run another reminiscence project in recent weeks at the Rotherlea Care Home in Petworth, involving residents with dementia.

Ingrid Worthington, a marketing co-ordinator for Shaw Healthcare which owns the Petworth home, took part in one of the sessions. She said: “It was apparent that everyone had enjoyed the reminiscence experience and both residents and staff appreciated the benefits of the project.”

THE Regis Players are holding open auditions for their May production, Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions, on Thursday, February 10 from 7.30pm at the Methodist Church adjoining Waterloo Square in Bognor Regis.

The play will be directed by Alan Ward and comprises five interlinked one-act plays. Each play deals riotously with human eccentricities coupled with the sadness of loneliness.

For further information, contact Alan Ward on 07533 494007 or Margaret Burbridge on 01243 823082 or visit the Regis Players’ website at www.regisplayers.com/productions/11confusions.htm.

Performances will be Friday, May 6 at 7.30pm at Pagham Village Hall; Saturday, May 7 at 7.30pm at Felpham Memorial Village Hall; and Sunday, May 8 at 2.30pm at Felpham Memorial Village Hall.